Answering the Phone... Finally!
Well, we survived another featurette -- battered and bruised, but alive nonetheless.
Facing an ever-shifting deadline, there was precious little time to prepare BCI Eclipse's special edition DVD for Crown International's unbelievably sleazy strangler classick DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE, but I think we pulled off a really nice package for fans.
A quick flight to Hollywood brought me face to face with character actor Nicholas Worth; besides this film, he's probably most recognized by genre aficionados for turns in DARKMAN and SWAMP THING, though he's appeared in everything from STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE to HEARTBREAK RIDGE. Nick gives a real tour de force mindblower of a performance in DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE and it would have been a sin to ignore it while creating supplements, so I was ecstatic he decided to sit down with me for an on-camera interview. Though slightly hampered by our hasty set-up and limited preparation time, I think the chat turned out rather well and hopefully its audience will agree.
Not that this Hollywood trip was all work and no play; pal and Mondo Digital cohort Nathaniel Thompson played host and kindly bussed me about town. Stops included Amoeba Records, where I got my pagan metal fix, and Hamburger Hamlet, where we chowed down with friends David Gregory (of Severin Films - check their profile!) and Richard Harland Smith (from Video Watchdog, etc.). Unfortunately, time was short, so once again I had to skip any sort of real vacation-type activities, but at least we made it to the Cinerama dome -- that has to count for somethin', no?
Annoyingly, I didn't make contact with director / co-writer / co-producer Robert Hammer until the day after I arrived back home, but, as luck would have it, he happened to live reasonably close to another good friend of mine -- Video Watchdog / Deep Red / Fangoria writer Shane M. Dallmann! A few phone calls later, and things were set for a full commentary track, with Shane moderating. I would have loved to tackle the chore myself, but there was no way I was getting BCI Eclipse to spring for another flight. I haven't heard the finished track yet, but I'm sure Shane did his usual phenomenal job.
Once in the editing dungeon with the Nicholas Worth tapes, it became readily apparent that the only way to properly structure things would be split the talk into two separate chunks. The first, titled ANSWERING THE PHONE, chronicles Nick's relationship with the main feature, while the second, an Easter Egg selection which we dubbed FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH, is an assortment of brief anecdotes detailing a handful of other roles like HELL COMES TO FROGTOWN and ACTION JACKSON. I'm pretty happy with the way things ended up and look forward to feedback once the reviews hit next month.
Additionally, BCI Eclipse is set to include a stills collection and some trailers (hopefully my idea of a Crown International Trailer Vault didn't fall on deaf ears). I've also heard word about special packaging, but I have no idea what its current status is. I was told the street date for DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE was October 24th, but several news sites have been reporting one of October 10th. I know I'm biased, but speaking from a fan's point of view it should be a killer disc.
Extra thanks to Cliff MacMillan for making it possible, Nat Thompson for being my man in Santa Flan, and my Digital Roadshow brother in blood Jim Branscome for once again spending way too much time getting rid of "Ums" and "Ya' Knows." You're all on my Christmas card list.
-- Bruce Holecheck © 2006