The unexpected new life of Black Angel

Two years ago, we first told you about Black Angel, a recently unearthed lost film from 1980. Black Angel was an influential fantasy short film that played before The Empire Strikes Back during its first theatrical run; its practical effects and “step-printed” slow-motion paved the way for movies including Legend and Excalibur. But copies of Black Angel vanished, and even director Roger Christian did not have a copy until a film archivist unearthed a print in late 2012.

Now Black Angel has found a second wind. Earlier in May this year, the film was released for free on YouTube (embedded above), bringing this fantasy short to audiences who never experienced it in theaters. That isn’t the end of Black Angel‘s story either. After receiving an enormously warm response to the re-release, Christian began production of a feature-length remake of Black Angel, tentatively starring Rutger Hauer and John Rhys-Davies.

Consider that this movie was unavailable and almost unknown a few years ago. Black Angel‘s resurgence is a testament to why film preservation is culturally important.

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