'YER PAL, MIKE VRANEY': A NOTE FROM SOMETHING WEIRD VIDEO

Audio/Video Plus was Houston's home for obscure horror and exploitation titles from 1979-2012. While the retailer catered to mainstream audiences and worked to promote the "big" releases, the store had founded itself on the premise that, "If it's released on any format, we have it."

By the mid-to-late '90s, many distributors were still releasing an abundance of film, but the heyday of stripping catalogs of the most obscure titles to simply "feed" the market were beginning to taper. Many niche, mail-order companies began offering obscure grindhouse fodder to fans of wild-and-weird cinema.

Seattle-based Something Weird Video (SWV) was probably one of the more notable distributors to come out of this era. Beginning in 1994, founder and fringe film aficianado Mike Vraney, binged on a wealth of unknown prints from the glory days of grindhouse theaters such as NYC's The Deuce (42nd Street) and the wide expanse of peep shows and drive-ins throughout the US. After joining forces with exploitation giants such David F. Friedman and Herschell Gordon Lewis, SWV became synonymous for delivering the strangest films on record on a mail order basis.

Fortunately for Houstonians, Audio/Video Plus covered this realm for the duration of the Video Boom. Excavated from the AVP archives, we have uncovered evidence (on SWV stationary!) that Mike Vraney made a call-seeking distribution to AVP founder Lou Berg.

Note the stationary's marquee-inspired promotion of Something Weird's drive-in trash!, naughty schoolgirls!, big bad bikers!, 60s go-go chicks, roadshow rarities, way-out hippies, blood guts & gore!, musclemen & maidens, lust-crazed psychos, dope pushers & vice dolls!, and more. 

Something Weird Video filled an important void for collectors in the mid-to-late '90s by releasing a number of titles that were either out-of-print or had yet to be discovered. The pre-dawn of the internet required the use of catalogs and US Postal service. With this letter, Mike Vraney supplied Audio/Video Plus with a near complete compendium of SWV catalogs up to 1997. Thankfully, AVP founding owner Lou had the foresight to file these away in his archives!