Redemption and Salvation
All things Redemption…
When I founded Redemption Films back in 1992 I had absolutely no cash and was still in the process of recovering from the costs of losing my court case against the British Board of Film Classification over my film Visions of Ecstasy. Furthermore, the early nineties was a time of recession and my normal source of income, magazine redesign and art direction was very thin on the ground. I was, though, freelancing for VNU Business Publications whose offices were in Soho, very near to where I lived, so I was getting by. I was also living with Eileen Daly in a great flat in the centre of Soho and what I think was genuinely one of the most interesting buildings in the area, people-wise.
There was an artist, a drug dealer, a sexy banker, 2 composers, a film director wannabe, a Chinese family and their fat Persian cat, Eileen, our black cat called Wally and me and I was, despite the lack of cash, very happy. There was a also a really good members club nearby called Freds, which at that time acted as a creative catalyst for young twenty and thirty-somethings and was really buzzy. It was out of all this that Redemption was born. I can’t really remember the event or moment or thought that set me off but, sometime around 1991 or 1992, I decided that I wanted to move from magazine design to film distribution and that was it, well, it wasn’t, as I didn’t have any money or know anything about film distribution, but nevertheless that was that. The die, so to be speak, was cast.
I started off this new venture in much the same way I do now and that is, when I get an idea to do something, I get obsessed with the subject and immerse myself in it, totally. I started buying horror fanzines like ‘In the Flesh’ from Forbidden Planet, contacting the editors, watching and tracking down obscure horror movies and buying ‘video nasties’ and then launched my own take on the fanzine, The Redeemer. I also started creating horror- erotica, or rather I introduced blood and violence into the fashion images that I shot for the magazine. I got Eileen to pose and become the face of Redemption and, on top of that, I managed to raise about £10K which was just enough to license five films: Mask of Satan, Lisa and the Devil, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Killer Nun and, my favourite, Salon Kitty.
The label was actually supposed to launch in the autumn of 1992 but the Italian producers were late getting us the masters so the launch was put back until February 1993 when Redemption’s black, white and red sleeves finally arrived on the shelves. The first titles shipped out but didn’t sell particularly well and, had that been all I had, then Redemption would have died almost at birth, but then my favourite film from art school days, Salon Kitty, arrived and saved the day. It also reminded me of something I had been told from my days in publishing, which was; to sell, put a girl on the cover. To sell more, put a girl on the cover with as few clothes on as possible. To sell lots and lots, put a girl on the cover with as few clothes on as possible and a swastika! I’ve no idea why, or who said it, but someone did and they were right, Salon Kitty saved Redemption.
The story of Redemption and my own life are really one and the same and much happened and continues to happen around the company that links to me and vice versa. Some is good, some is bad, and some is crap and much is marvelous. A bit like life, in fact. Redemption was officially twenty years old in 2012 / 2013 and I intended on writing a book to celebrate, even if only I buy it. So this section will be a growing and developing part of Scum Nation as I add and expand Redemption’s history over the coming months. I will also be adding pictures, stills, and background pictures as I can so keep checking back.