The latest issue of Video Watchdog (#155 March/April 2010) features a superb article on one of the greatest films I've never seen, Kinji Fukasaku’s 1980 apocalypse epic Virus. The film which was reckoned to be the most expensive Japanese film of its time was a major flop despite the a large well known international cast - Glenn Ford and Sonny Chiba, no less. Anyone who frequented videoshops in the 80's will know well the old Intervision VHS (with its striking sleeve) which seemed to be everywhere. It certainly caught my eye, but it wasn't until many years later when I was seriously watching Japanese films that I discovered the film was directed by one of my favourite directors Kinji Fukasaku. The film is available on DVD in a number of editions, all running around the 100min mark and falling well short of the original 156min Japanese version. In 2006 BCI Eclipse sneaked the film out as part of their "Sonny Chiba Action Pack" boxset with little fanfare considering it was the full-length director's cut. Sadly, I missed out of this box because I already own the other two films that came in the set, and since then the box was deleted after BCI Eclipse went to the wall.
Still, its not impossible to see Virus in its long form. Apparently the film has fallen into public domain, and is available for download over at the Internet Movie Archive. Not the best way to see Virus, but until it appears again on DVD, it will have to do.