ROLLING THUNDER arrived last week in the UK on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time ever to almost no fanfare at all, despite it being the DUKE NUKEM FOREVER of Blu-ray releases –at first long awaited before being delayed to the point of absurdity, with even the small pocket of people who were eagerly awaiting a ROLLING THUNDER re-release being progressively whittled down with each postponed release date.
This is appropriate, in a way – ROLLING THUNDER has always been the proverbial red-headed stepchild when it comes to getting a decent release. This is something that probably can be traced back to a single screening – at a sneak preview for an audience comprised of a mix of the public and officials from the then distributor 20th Century Fox, the film went down so extraordinarily badly that, once the credits began rolling, the audience members immediately began trying to wheedle out the studio personnel among them in order to physically admonish them.
As a result, a film which had been planned as a tentpole release for Fox was immediately and unceremoniously dropped from their schedules, instead getting a minor, unheralded release through American International Pictures, a much smaller distributor best known for releasing Roger Corman’s no-budget genre pieces. Then for nearly fifteen years ROLLING THUNDER languished in obscurity, largely unavailable and unloved.