By now, you may have discovered that the latest issue of FANGORIA contains an interview with screenwriter/co-producer Arnold Drake regarding his experiences making the 1964 miniclassic THE FLESH EATERS.
In the meantime, some of you are doubtless aware of the fact that Christo Roppolo and I recently embarked on a remake of said feature. Our take on FLESH EATERS started production in 1999 and was completed in 2001. To those who have followed this bizarre little saga so far and wondered a): when will FLESH EATERS be released? and b): why wasn't FLESH EATERS mentioned in the recent Arnold Drake interview? deserve some answers.
At the time we conceived of a FLESH EATERS remake, our initial research led us to information that suggested that not only director Jack Curtis but Arnold Drake himself had passed away, and that the film itself had lapsed into the public domain. While we hold noone else accountable for this misassumption, we can verify that we are not the only ones who came across this information. The falsehood has since been corrected on line, and we were happy to report that Arnold Drake was alive, well and living in Manhattan.
Within one minute of our learning this (which didn't happen until the last half of 2002, despite our open announcements, designed to attract the attention of anyone thus involved), Christo and I got in touch with Mr. Drake. If there were legal issues to be worked out (including the protection of his original copyright), we wanted to make it clear that we stood ready to cooperate. We have given Mr. Drake our attorney's information and have encouraged him to have his own attorney get in touch with him. Our conversations to date have been nothing but friendly and informative.
In the meantime, however, it must be pointed out that every bit of publicity we have ever generated concerning our remake has given full and open credit to the original filmmakers--and the most casual of Internet searches will verify this. In addition, the opening credits of our film feature the name "Arnold Drake" in big letters under a "From a Screenplay By" credit--and always have. At no time did we attempt to get away with anything unethical, and at no time have we hesitated to give proper credit where credit is due. While in this day and age we could have simply changed our title and a couple of character names--and gotten away scot-free with it--our intention has always been to pay a proper tribute to a film that we've always loved (and to the people who made it), and to call fresh attention to it in the twenty-first century. We have no doubt whatsoever that we have succeeded in this part of our goal, and that the renewed interest in 1964's THE FLESH EATERS stems in no small part from the existence of our project.
As it stands now, an opportunity exists to release both versions of FLESH EATERS as a double-bill DVD special edition. We have a potential source for film elements with which to master the original production (as well as various possible supplements), and we are trying to interest certain DVD distributors in the package. It is our sincere hope that any existing legal issues can be worked out, as we believe that the end result would benefit everyone involved--the original filmmakers, ourselves, and the fans.
If you agree, and if you would like to see this happen, please put your thoughts into polite words and e-mail them directly to me. Any and all sincere responses will be forwarded to Mr. Drake.
Shane M. Dallmann
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