by Allan Fish
The loss of favourite sites for moviegoers on the internet can be quite an emotional time. Those with long memories will recall such suppliers as Machiaveldvd and others, gone but not forgotten. The last month or two has seen three more such sites hit the dust.
Firstly, there’s the empire that was SuperHappyFun. This American site had been going for numerous years and with its smiling child with shouting Japanese welcome, was a favourite haunt for those seeking DVDRs of films not in the public domain. In its time, such films as Bresson’s Une Femme Douce, Fassbinder’s World on Wires (which I reviewed earlier this week) were available on their books, while for a joyous period in 2006-07, they had a subsite specialising in the Japanese New Wave, with English subtitled translations of various great works of Nagisa Oshima, Susumu Hani and Shohei Imamura, which I for one benefited greatly. If one goes to the site (www.superhappyfun.com) now, it will take you to another site who have inherited much of their library. I have not used this new site, so cannot comment, only to say that SHF, the acronym by which so many film buffs knew it, will be sorely missed.
Secondly, for UK readers, there’s Bensonsworld, run by the personable Ron Benson, who has run his business, formerly by mail order and dealing with VHS, and later on DVD, for well over a decade (I remember ordering VHS tapes from him by postal order well over a decade ago). He’s finally called it a day, and in a world of ever-increasing standardisation and pre-prepared customer spiel, his personal touch was welcome by many – I know that Sammy himself ordered several UK rarities from him in the early days of our friendship.
Finally, and for me the most missed, will be www.xploitedcinema.com. They haven’t actually closed for business as such, but they are no longer stocking new items and their stocks are now being sold off while their owners move onto new ventures. I don’t claim to know the owners, but they were an invaluable aid in obtaining several foreign releases from numerous countries where navigating their foreign language sites was a problem, and they even had a Fedex shipment option which meant that I could get an item shipped from the US to my home in the UK in 2 working days (and often I struggle to get parcels sent from within the UK in 2 days from Royal Snail). I’m sure they wouldn’t be hurt when I say that their departure is a pain in the rectum, making it harder to get hold of rarities from certain countries, but we can only thank them for providing us with so many films over the past few years.
I can only wish the owners of all three sites good luck in future endeavours.