One year ends and a new one begins. It’s a kind of annual rebirth that allows one to wipe the slate clean and bid adieu to all the hardships and regrets of the previous year. Everyone gets to choose what they take with themselves of the previous year into the new one. Our journeys into the cinema are among those things we either cherish and bring with us or discard without a second thought.
It goes without saying that 2022 saw some truly stellar home video releases and some disappointing ones. As usual, Vinegar Syndrome dominated the boutique label scene in terms of individual releases while Severin Films and Arrow Video remain the lords of the boxed set. The Vinegar Syndrome releases of Cloak & Dagger (1984) and Righting Wrongs (1986) are tied for my favorite individual releases of the year (I never got my hands on Imprint’s The Wicker Man) with Out Of The Blue (1980) and The Female Executioner (1986) from Severin Films in a close second and Indicator’s Mad Dog Morgan (1976) in third place. . As far as individual releases go without deluxe packaging (slip cases, hard cover boxes) the Mondo Macabro is definitely my favorite.
I was hoping to include Indicator’s release MAGIC, MYTH & MUTILATION: THE MICRO-BUDGET CINEMA OF MICHAEL J MURPHY, 1967–2015 in this closing assessment of the year but a variety of delays have pushed the release of this extraordinary boxed set back to the end of January 2023. So, in my opinion, the best boxed set of the year is Severin’s House Of Psychotic Women: Rarities Collection which continues their close collaboration with Kier-La Janisse that began with the monumental boxed set All The Haunts Be Ours from 2021. These collections are so authoritative and instrumental in bringing obscure cinematic gems to the public that Severin better have a new set brewing for 2023.
Keep in mind that these are only my absolute favorite releases of the relative few that I acquired in 2022. It was a terrific year for physical media across the board with dozens of excellent films receiving the deluxe home video treatment. If I were to get into all of the important releases that Kino-Lorber alone put out in 2022 I’d have enough blog posts for a month. However, I will go on record stating that the best “guilty pleasure” release that came out in 2022 was, for me, VSA’s Sworn To Justice (1996).
But, time marches on as tastes and ambitions change. My favorite boutique label this year may not be my favorite next year. 2022, with its Sight & Sound poll, demonstrated the flexibility of society’s aesthetic and political values. Since the time I first began collecting movies back in the nineties I have seen the Criterion Collection rise to supreme eminence in the physical media arena only to see the label outshone by smaller, better curated catalogues like Deaf Crocodile and Fun City Editions. And just as tastes change, so do priorities.
I began this blog in 2020 to collect my older writings on film though I have since then begun writing a post for every day of the year. In the last three years there has been a post every day. Of those posts, only a quarter of them were written prior to 2020 for different outlets. This compulsion to articulate my obsession with the cinema in this way has become something of a monster. Which is to say that 2023 will mark a decrease in my output as a blogger. This does not mean I have turned my back on the cinema, simply that I must focus more energies elsewhere in my life.