From Dusk To Dawn: Mike Vraney RIP
Any exploitation film fan worth his/her celluloid knows that SOMETHING WEIRD is a 1967 H.G. Lewis picture about a scarred man with psychic powers who meets a witch who says she’ll help him if he loves her…hey, it’s H.G. Lewis! But “Something Weird” is also the name of the legendary mail-order video company founded by Mike Vraney in 1990 that specializes in not only H.G. Lewis films, but everything from 1930’s scare-pics like MARIJUANA to trash pioneers like Dave Friedman to kitchen-sink trailer compilations like the DUSK-TO-DAWN TRASHORAMA DRIVE-IN SHOW. John Waters and I talked about Vraney and Something Weird video since he used their sexploitation clips for his last film, A DIRTY SHAME (2001). Years later, I even found myself at a cafe pitching one of Vraney’s business partners an H.G. Lewis remake. Vraney was a video visionary, filling each tape or dvd to the brim with grindhouse ephemera and often using the original negatives, a Criterion of Trash if you will. I have a Friday film ritual where I play the DUSK-TO-DAWN TRASHORAMA DRIVE-IN SHOW VOL.III disc before the main feature (which I enjoyed in the company of an Alamo Drafthouse crowd during QT III Film Fest), and tonight will be no different, except that I’ll probably shed a tear during the trailer for THUMB TRIPPING (1972) or SUMMER LUST (?) or the “Restricted” warning with those cute li’l kittens…and nothing screams SOMETHING WEIRD more than the brilliant intro placed at the start of their every release. So invite some friends over, order a pizza, drink a beer, light a doob, dim the lights and watch an HG Lewis or trailer comp for Mike Vraney…He’s watching.