Among the enormous catalogue of cult classics and underrated gems Arrow Video have released lately are American director Radley Metzger's trilogy of erotic thrillers, Camille 2000, Score and The Lickerish Quartet. I was lucky enough to sit down for a chat with Mister Metzger. The burning question: has he read 50 Shades of Grey?
JOEL HARLEY: How would you describe or categorise the films you've made?
RADLEY METZGER: I guess erotic romance. I never thought of that before.
JH: How did you come to be a director of erotic movies?
RM: I think I've always wanted to go into film and when I did, the only thing available to call attention to yourself and get some audiences were eroticism or horror. For whatever reason, I gravitated towards the erotic. I think it's probably because I had a small distribution company at the beginning, and we imported films, and the films that were available to us to import, that had audiences, had a certain degree of eroticism to them.
JH: Of your work so far, which films are you the proudest of?
RM: It's hard to say. If I were a mother, I don't think I could pick a favourite child. I think the most personal of the films was probably The Lickerish Quartet.
JH: Do you think your work as an editor helped prepare you for directing?
RM: Yes. I think it's a little bit starting backwards, but if you can be secure in what your end results will look like – if you're going to be a writer, you really have to learn grammar to begin with, and then you can speak. I think when you're secure in the grammar and the language of film, it makes the creation of the movie much easier.
JH: What was it like, working with Arrow Video for the re-release of your movies?
RM: I wasn't really too close to Arrow. They took the films a couple of months ago, and I must say, they seem to be doing a really admirable job of bringing an audience.
JH: Did you have much input into their re-release?
RM: No. I think they took a lot of the preparation that we made for the re-release here in the States through Cult Epics, because we put a lot of work into that preparation.
JH: Are there any other of your films that you'd like to see re-released in a similar fashion?
RM: I was very happy with Lickerish Quartet. As I said, that was the most personal. I'd be very happy when Therese and Isabelle comes out again.
JH: You dabbled with horror in The Cat and the Canary. Were you ever tempted to make more horror movies?
RM: No. That seemed to be a path I never really followed. I had done so much eroticism, and then I did the five Henry Paris films that I wanted a break and a relief from that. And that lead to The Cat and the Canary.
JH: What do you make of modern horror films. Are there any you like?
RM: No, I'm not a big fan of horror.
JH: And what of modern erotic movies? What do you make of those?
RM: No. No, I must say I haven’t...
JH: Are you familiar with the whole 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon? What are your thoughts on that series?
RM: I haven't read the books, but it's kind of a cycle. Every decade or so, you get something like that which captures the middle-class audience.
JH: What do you think makes a good erotic movie?
RM: I guess the ability of the audience to identify with the characters. It's kind of what makes a good anything. You have to believe in the people and the situations in which they find themselves.
JH: What are you up to next?
RM: I'm doing another script – a comedy. We hope to get it on in future.
JH: What are your career aspirations? Do you hope to direct more?
RM: Well, I will direct this one.
JH: What would you hope your legacy might be?
RM: I don't know. I never think about that. I'm under the impression that it's not over yet.
Radley Metzger, thank you very much!
The Arrow releases of Radley's films are available on Blu-ray now:
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