Jerry Chandler (seen at left being choked by Christina Lindberg- there are people who would pay good money for that, ya know!) KNOWS his cult movies.

As one of the twisted minds behind Detroit-based DVD distributor Synapse Films, he’s been working for over five years to give horror, sci-fi, exploitation and erotic films the red-carpet treatment that’s usually reserved for “important" cinema (whatever that means). Mr. Skin partnered with Synapse to release the Women in Prison Triple Feature DVD earlier this year (you can read our review here), and we FIRM-ly agree with their mission of bringing the world’s weirdest cinema to the masses, so we asked Jerry a few questions about his life in the skinema trenches.

Skin Central: Hey Jerry! Tell the nice people what Synapse is.

Jerry Chandler: We are an independent DVD/BluRay label dedicated to bringing the weirdest, wildest movies we can find to a sensation starved public.

SC: When did it get started?

We incorporated in 1996.

SC: What’s the first movie and/or TV nude scene you remember seeing?

JC: That's very difficult to remember, however I do remember this: As a kid, I used to look forward to the next James Bond movie, because they always had silhouettes of naked women dancing or swimming in the opening credits.

SC: What’s your all-time favorite nude scene?

JC: Jennifer Connelly looking into the mirror in Requiem For A Dream. (A rare bush-only nude scene! -SC)

SC: Who are the three sexiest actresses of all time, in your estimation?connelly requiem

JC: 1. Jennifer Connelly

2. Mimi Rogers

3. Christy Canyon

SC: Any great stories about finding the movies you later release?

JC: No great stories per se, I just don't take no for an answer. I persist and persist until a title has either gone to another company or we get it. Thundercrack! (a comedic, pornographic take on the "old dark house" movie -SC) is a great example. Took years to land that title, but I'm sure happy we did. When it comes out, you'll see why the licensor chose us. We are literally giving this film from 1975, shot on toilet paper, the Rolls Royce treatment. We are treating it as if it was Gone With The Wind. We've been working on it for two years already and are still adding missing scenes and extras to it. It looks like it will be a three-disc set at the moment.

SC: What's the biggest obstacle you have to overcome when distributing older, more obscure films?

blair wipJC: Well, our biggest obstacle to just staying in business is the bit torrent sites, and the stealing of our titles. This is a very touchy subject, because people want to be free to use those sites. The problem is, we see our titles on these sites, even before they street. We have watched our sales steadily decline since the torrent sites became popular. People say that they want to see a movie before they buy it. They say if they like it, they will buy it. However, the numbers show otherwise. People are not buying our titles. The numbers are declining every month. A number of my competitors are already out of business.

I ask folks, in what other industry can you fully sample an item, then "decide" whether to buy it or not? Can you eat a meal at a restaurant, then decide whether or not you want to pay? Can you take a plane flight and not pay if the flight was too bumpy? When you go to a movie theatre to see a movie you haven't seen, you pay about $20 for two tickets. You don't get your money back if you didn't like the film. But, when people have a chance to buy an indie DVD for about $14 on Amazon, they frequently pass and steal it instead, demanding the right to "check out if it's any good".

The government does nothing to protect us small companies, instead dedicating their efforts to the major sugimoto girl bossstudios, who are either going to make a billion or two billion, depending on whether a title is up on a torrent site or not, per movie. Same with the MPAA. They have told me in the past that they only worry about the studios. We lose money on 95% of our titles. I hope folks don't throw away their VHS players because when all us indys are gone, it's going to be back to tape trading. People ask me to put out certain movies, but I don't know if we will be around long enough to release what we already have under license. We have already been passing on many films because we know we will never recover the advance money, let alone the cost to produce the DVD or Bluray. So these torrrent people are killing the goose that laid the golden egg. And it may very well be too late to do anything about it. Bye bye special editions of obscure films!

Another huge obstacle are companies like Netflix and Amazon. We all know what Blockbuster did, cleaning out the mom and pop shops and replacing them with Blockbusters, then basically censoring, in my opinion, what you can rent. Netflix would handle just about anything, until they knocked Blockbuster off the top. Then, they started behaving just like Blockbuster. We are seeing the same thing with Amazon. In the past matthews graphicyear, we have seen at least 7 titles removed from Amazon because the MIGHT be too sexy. We have appealed, and got a few reinstated, and currently have 6 more being reviewed. The problem is, they shoot first. They remove a title, then you have to fight and plead to get them to review and hopefully return a title to the sales area. And then hope people will still buy it. We got Graphic Sexual Horror back up on Amazon after it was taken down for a month, but now nobody buys it.

I don't know about you, but having corporate types at Amazon, Netflix, and Blockbuster, etc, deciding for me what I can see or not see, ie censoring for the government or their own morality, makes me VERY nervous. In the United States, we not only have freedom of religion, but more importantly, I used to think we had freedom FROM religion.

SC: What's your ultimate Holy Grail of movies you'd like to put out on the Synapse label?

JC: Wow ,that’s a tough one. At Synapse, we have no agenda. We will put out any movie that we like, no matter what the genre. Our only criteria is whether or not WE like it for one reason or another. There are a number of what I consider big titles I am trying to land. Those have to remain secret until a license is signed. But rest assured, we have built this company with the idea that, if we release something, and you have never heard of it, you will roll the dice on it because you see our name on it. You know, if you are a Synapse Films fan, that there is a reason for every movie we release. And if you try a title, you will get something special. We rarely disappoint.

Agreed! You heard the man, skin fans- go on over to the Synapse films site now and support your friendly local indie DVD distributor. They're sure to satisfy your cravings for the weird and the wild!