Everything you ever wanted to know about the crazy Synapse guys…and more!
Synapse Films is a company started by Don May, Jr. in 1997. Partnering with his friend of fifteen years, Jerry Chandler and associate Charles Fiedler, the goal of Synapse Films is to release new, digitally remastered films in the Horror, Science Fiction, Cult and Independent genres on available Home Video formats.
“I love horror and science-fiction, ” says May. “They are my favorite kinds of movies and I think I am doing the fans a huge service by paying attention to them and treating them with the respect they deserve. I’ve been in the home video industry for a number of years and it used to be that only ‘important’ films received the ‘remastering’ and ‘Special Edition’ treatments, but no more. For the past few years, horror and science-fiction have been treated a lot differently on home video and I like to think I had a hand in setting this trend.”
Graduating from Illinois State University with a degree in Broadcasting in 1990, May always had an interest in television and film. “I caught the laserdisc bug while working at a local laserdisc store while I was in college. I was selling laserdisc players and buying product and I pretty much spent every extra dollar I had on laserdiscs. I loved movies and the disc format and knew this was a business I wanted to be in.”
After quitting his job at the laserdisc retailer, he became part owner of Elite Entertainment. “I have a lot of good and bad memories from that experience, ” says May. “I never dreamed I’d be working on restoring great horror films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Night of the Living Dead and Re-Animator. I had some of the best times in my life working on them. But, after a while, I became unhappy both personally and professionally. I’d just had enough and decided to leave. I will say I’m extremely happy with my decision to start my own company, Synapse Films.”
“Don and I have been friends for many, many years and we’ve always shared the same interests in horror films, ” says May’s new partner, Jerry Chandler. “I’ve loved horror even longer than Don because I’m ten years older (laughs). Horror films have been a favorite of mine since childhood and I’ve always wanted to work in this industry. I even had my own horror show in the basement of a punk rock bar in Detroit in the mid eighties. Knowing Don’s previous involvement with Elite Entertainment, which created many horror and science-fiction laserdisc products, choosing him as a partner was a natural decision. He knows more about horror films than anyone else I know…foreign and obscure classics…just about everything. He’s seen them all. He also knows a lot about film in general and has the knowledge and capability to continue remastering and producing excellent product. He produced supplements and did a lot of film transfers himself and I’ve seen his work. Don proved to me a long time ago that he was the one I wanted to get involved with and that’s why I didn’t partner with him until he left and got out on his own.”
Now, having worked in the Home Video industry for over seventeen years, May has brought his knowledge of film restoration and film mastering to Synapse Films.