The Bootleg Files: Know Your Ally – Britain

BOOTLEG FILES 740: “Know Your Ally – Britain” (1944 U.S. War Department documentary).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

On public domain labels.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The absence of a copyright allows anyone to make dupes.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It’s been on DVDs featuring wartime documentaries.

In 1944, the U.S. War Department (the forerunner of today’s Department of Defense) produced “Know Your Ally – Britain,” a 45-minute documentary to be shown to American servicemembers. From today’s perspective, it might seem peculiar that this type of a film would be made relatively late in the war.
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BloodSisters: Leather, Dykes and Sadomasocism (1995)

It’s incredibly how only twenty five years ago, the idea of the sub-culture of S&M and fetishes like bondage and roleplaying were still so hush and barely spoken of. In modern society we’ve somewhat turned a corner and managed to embrace kink and sexuality a lot more, but the people we get to meet in “BloodSisters” are clearly individuals that have been suppressed by a society that just doesn’t understand them.

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Class Action Park (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2020]

Easily my most anticipated film of Fantasia Fest 2020, “Class Action Park” is not just a visit to nostalgia, but an exploration of a criminal who was able to do whatever he pleased at the cost of children and families looking for a good time. Once upon a time there was a place called “Action Park,” a large water and adventure park set in the middle of New Jersey. While it was the place of memories for many kids, it was also a hellscape filled with death, corruption, negligence, and a founder who would stop at literally nothing to protect his own interests. 

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Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo (2020)

Danny Trejo began his thirty year career as the epitome of the “That One Guy” actor, appearing in so many bit parts and yet he was so easy to recognize. But when he was suddenly catapulted in to fame, he became the idea of what many envision as the American Dream. He also became the quintessential prisoner makes good tale, and his journey is as riveting as you’d assume it is. For fans of the man like me, “Inmate #1” is a riveting and down to Earth exploration of Trejo’s journey of redemption.

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Feels Good, Man (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2020]

Director Arthur Jones’ documentary is probably one of the most important and depressing films of the last five years. It’s mainly a movie that doesn’t just touch upon the snowballing of a mascot for pure hatred and violence, but the horrifying power of the internet and its litany of sub-cultures. It also explores the little known fact that its original artist never intended to give it the kind of purpose that’s given it a notorious unstoppable life inside and outside of social media.

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Hail to the Deadites (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2020]

Steve Villeneuve’s “Hail to the Deadites” is a documentary about “Evil Dead” that touts itself as not featuring any kind of footage from the original films at any point. You’d think that would hinder the experience, but that only benefits the feature in the end. “Hail to the Deadites” is an unabashed love letter to the fans and the fans only. It explores the various facets of “Evil Dead” fandom, how all three movies have affected their lives, and how Bruce Campbell has become a source of inspiration to many.

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TV on DVD: Cursed Films: Season One [Blu-Ray]/James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction (DVD)

Was “The Crow” cursed? Did “Poltergeist” bring a hex upon the entire cast? Were there real satanic forces behind “The Exorcist”? Did “Twilight Zone: The Movie” conjure up bad luck and ultimately a curse? Well, hell no on all fronts. The thing about Cursed Films (now on Blu-Ray from Shudder and Image Entertainment), is that if you’re a movie buff and horror fan, you’ve heard about literally everything that’s explored in “Cursed Films.” At five episodes and thirty minutes an episode, “Cursed Films” basically goes over the same material we’ve seen or read about a thousand times but in greater length.

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