I was lying somewhere in the Scottish Highlands on a very squeaky hotel bed, trying to get some sleep after a long day of shooting, when I received a Facebook message from Geoff Beran, moderator of the Brian De Palma news blog De Palma à la Mod. I leaned over in the dark and was greeted by two words lit up on my iPhone’s lock screen: “Well, wow.” My gut instinct told me that Geoff would have a good reason to contact me, and boy did he ever. The master of suspense himself had just emailed him, out of the blue, with the following statement:

Hi Geoff:

I just saw the Raising Cain re-cut and I think it’s great.
It’s what we didn’t accomplish on the initial release of the film. It’s what I originally wanted the movie to be.

Could you contact the company releasing the Blue Ray and tell them I think it’s important they include it with the new release? If you need me to talk to some at the company just give me a number and a name.

And congratulations to Peet Gelderblom, he’s restored the true story of Raising Cain.

Thanks,
Brian De Palma

By this time I was already aware of De Palma’s appreciation of Raising Cain Re-cut–my personal attempt to approximate the legendary director’s original vision for the film. Since it was posted on Indiewire back in January 2012, he had mentioned the re-cut in at least five different interviews that I know of, saying things like “Somebody got ahold of the original script and put it back the way it was supposed to be” (Fangoria) and “I looked at it and said, you’re right. That’s the way it should have been done.” (Fandango).

But this email was something else. Imagine remixing a Beatles album, sharing it on Soundcloud and have Paul McCartney react: “You know what? That kinda beats the way we did it.” Then imagine Sir Paul adding: “Let’s bring it out properly.”

Needless to say, I was geeking out big time… and cursing my hotel’s shaky Wi-Fi connection. At breakfast the next morning (toast, eggs, coffee, orange juice–I had learned to avoid the local black pudding and slices of bacon way too thick) I tried to explain my cast and crew what was happening. Dutch actor Tim Haars and fellow-director Steffen Haars could hardly believe the news, until I showed De Palma’s forwarded email as hard proof.

Geoff put me in contact with Cliff MacMillan at Shout! Factory, who had already received a personal phone call from mister De Palma (“I’m sorry… Who?”). I wrote Cliff that I would love to co-operate in any way, free of charge. This was on March 1st 2016.

Three months of waiting followed in order to get permission from Universal’s legal department, during which we had to assure the lawyers that scenes of the movie wouldn’t be added or cut, just re-ordered. The release date of the blu-ray was pushed back two times and De Palma signed papers to seal the deal. Finally on June 10th, the decision was made to move forward.

Based as I am in the Netherlands, I supervised the Los Angeles re-cut of the HD master from overseas and made sure it would be the best version it could be. Besides that, I worked on two bonus features for the blu-ray: a personal introduction recorded at Purple Film in Leiden and an extended/remixed version of the video essay that accompanied the re-cut in 2012.

What was once a mere fan edit, has now officially been elevated to Director’s Cut. Scream Factory’s 2-disc Raising Cain Collector’s Edition will be released on September 13th.

Watch the extended video essay below (spoilers!) for an in-depth look into the project’s history, methodology and findings.