The Origins of AVManiacs
AVManiacs began its life as DVD Maniacs, a review website created by Edwin Samuelson in March 2000. One might say the site was born of necessity: it was created during the boom time for cult movie DVD releases, when obscure genre favorites were issued in jam-packed special editions every week. Unfortunately, such left-of-center films rarely got their due from the online DVD review sites at that time. DVD Maniacs was designed to fill that void. A place built by the fans, for the fans.
Starting with writers like Charles Avinger and Vince Bonavoglia, DVD Maniacs established a style of cult DVD criticism that was film-savvy without being elitist or biased. Soon, writers from elsewhere threw their hats in the ring people like veteran film journalist Chris Poggiali, filmmaker Scooter McCrae, Bava biographer Troy Howarth and online reviewers like Nathaniel Thompson and Don Guarisco. Ian Jane joined up in early 2002 and became the site's main writer as well as the chief moderator of its heavily-trafficked message board. Edwin Samuelson continues to oversee the site. His main job is editing and formatting reviews plus supervising the over quality of the site. Currently, Edwin Samuelson devotes a lot of his free time to his weekly TV series, The Cinefiles (Be sure to check out their My Space page at www.myspace.com/cinefiles).
Over the years, the site broadened its horizons to include art films, concert discs and the occasional Hollywood effort. It covered releases from around the world and had many ?first-look? reviews. The buzz created by this work has led to our writers penning liner notes for DVDs like THE HILLS HAVE EYES, CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER/FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY and ROCK & ROLL NIGHTMARE. As a result, the site was mentioned in publications like Fangoria and Rue Morgue (some attentive readers might have noticed DVD Maniacs reviews making uncredited appearances in Dark Side magazine).
As its legend grew, DVD Maniacs built relationships with the professional film community. Genre personalities interviewed for the site include William Lustig, Just Jaeckin, Sam Firstenberg and Bill Margold. Several leading figures in the cult DVD-releasing community also popped up on the site's popular message board: guests included Synapse's Don May, Jr. Grindhouse Releasing's Sage Stallone, BCI's Cliff MacMillian and Subversive's Norm Hill have been known to pop up there. Even cult auteurs like Jeff Lieberman and Warren Evans have joined on.
In recent years, home entertainment has begun to change at a rapid pace. Samuelson decided his site needed to change with the times and thus DVD Maniacs became AVManiacs. As DVD Maniacs, the site was limited to covering standard definition DVDs Under its new banner, the site can expand its focus to accommodate HD-DVD, Blu-Ray, Print Media, Music and Soundtrack releases, interviews and even video podcasts. The site has been given a complete redesign to better incorporate all these types of media. However, the mandate won't change as AVManiacs takes pride in covering the extremes of the genre entertainment world from a non-biased fan perspective and will continue to do so.
The site's relationship with Synapse Films led to the production of the first-ever AVManiacs DVD release, an action-packed trailer compilation entitled 42nd Street Forever Vol 3: Exploitation Explosion. The disc features many of Edwin Samuelson's 35mm trailers, and a commentary hosted by him with Fangoria's Mike Gingold and Film Historian Chris Poggiali. It was released in early 2008 and quickly became a hit with critics and fans alike.