Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tape Mold Issue #1

In the year 2012, digital content reigns supreme.  Blogs, websites, databases, digital downloads, apps, Nooks, Kindles, digital subscriptions, etc.  We are briskly moving towards a completely paperless society.  Anything and everything you could possible want is available at the click of a mouse or press of a touchscreen.

On one hand, this is fantastic!  Never in a million years would my twelve-year-old-self have believed that I would eventually own more movies than my local Mom & Pop video shop....let alone the fact that I would be able to carry them virtually anywhere I wanted.  If I could go back in time and tell young me all of the wonders that the future would hold, I would have surely creamed myself.  But enough about my prepubescent ejaculatory problems, we're here to talk about an underground force that is day by day becoming stronger.  I am of course talking about the retrophile movement.  Particularly today, VHS collectors.

I was quite unaware for a very long time that anyone other than myself collected VHS tapes.  I mainly was just trying to recapture a little nostalgia from my youth.  It was the Video Invasion articles in Horror Hound Magazine that first opened my eyes to the fact that others shared my passion for the analog Video Home System.  Then I discovered Lunchmeat Magazine and found that there were those who obsessed over VHS on a level that I never even dreamed.  I was truly among my brethren.

And now there comes another stir from the VHS underground.  Ladies and gentleman, I give to you the mighty TAPE MOLD!  Tape Mold is the brain child of Dan Kinem, who runs VHShitfest. Being that I love VHShitfest so much, I ordered my subscription to Tape Mold immediately, and I wasn't sorry when Issue #1 landed in my mailbox.

Issue #1's main feature is the three page review of the 1991 SOV schlocker Hauntedween, which is further augmented by a four page interview with writer/director Doug Robertson.  As if THAT wasn't enough then there is a two page interview with Hauntedween actor Brien Blakely!  There is far more written on Hauntedween in these 24 pages then there are on the entire world wide web!  Okay so that may not be entirely true....but I think I can safely say that currently, this is the definitive work on the film!

We're also treated to a fascinating interview with co-director of Hellroller Stuart Wall!  Not only is it a very unique look at one of horrors more obscure and out there horror films, but you really must read it to find out about Stuart Wall's dealings with an infamous serial killer who....shall we say liked to kill young boys and bury them under his house.  Give you a hint.....Captain Spaulding took his que from this guy.

The real gem in this issue though is the article on one Mr. Gordy "The Pumpkin Man" Falk, the man who gave us the "now" legendary special interest tape, How To Carve Great Faces For Halloween.  Gordy was somewhat of a local celebrity in his hometown of Whitefish Bay, WI.  What follows is nothing short of a Jack 'O Lantern carving version of VH1's Behind The Music!  I kid you not!  This article serves as a reminder that though we are dealing in what is now the obscure and forgotten, it was once everything to their creators.

Video reviews include Macon County War and Back Street Hustle, as well as the abominable Haunted Howls CD that came with of the UAV release of Night of the Living Dead!   You are going to be hard pressed to find in-depth coverage of ANY of these items....but here they are treated with respect and a compassion that non collectors could never understand.  Dan will come right out and tell you that a movie is absolute crap and he'll even steer you in a better direction if he can, but despite his warnings, I still can't help but WANT to see these films for myself.  THAT is what Tape Mold brings to the table.  You don't feel like an alienated freak because you watch films that no one in your family, school/workplace, neighborhood, city, state or possibly country has ever even heard of.

People like Dan Kinem, Josh Schafer from Lunchmeat, Video Invasion Matt over at Horror Hound are keeping the nostalgic heart of VHS beating.  You owe it not only to yourself but to the rest of the retro-philes out there.  I truly believe that it is vitally important that we don't let these so called dead formats truly die.  As long as there are those who refuse to let our beloved VHS format sink into the quagmire of of forgotten obscurities, Tapeheads will live on forever.

I was quite fortunate enough to catch up with Dan and asked him some questions!

Tell us about the genesis of Tape Mold.  In the age of the internet, digital magazines, blogs, etc....what made you decide to put out a print 'zine?
Well, being a huge collector of physical media it was an obvious move for me to eventually do a physical 'zine. I love my website VHShitfest, but I wanted something I could hold and I also wanted to try out some new things with my writing. My girlfriend is great at layout and editing so we teamed up to create Tape Mold and the rest is history.

Tape Mold is an insanely cool title.  Many times a 'zine's name holds a certain meaning to it's creators.  What does Tape Mold mean to you?
I actually came up with the name Tape Mold a long time ago. I loved it. I thought it not only captured the fact I will be covering VHS-related topics but also the fact that the topics are often obscure and unknown. The name "Tape Mold" makes me think of myself digging in a dirty basement for the next topic or film I'm going to write about.

Tell us more about Adjust Your Tracking!
Adjust Your Tracking is a feature-length documentary that a friend of mine, Dabeedo, and I are doing. It's all about VHS collecting and culture. We have completed shooting all the interviews and are currently editing. We collected over 100 interviews with collectors, directors, video store owners, etc. It aims to explain why people still collect the format and why VHS is making a comeback. It should be screening sometime in the Spring so be on the look out, whether you're a VHS fan or not, this is going to be entertaining and informative to all.

How long have you been into the VHS collecting scene?
Well, when I first go into collecting VHS, which was around 2 years, I didn't know anyone else was doing it. I thought I was probably the only one because I didn't investigate online very much. I started my website VHShitfest and, without knowing it, was involved in the current VHS resurgence. I quickly began hearing people tell me that the website got them back into collecting or that it brought back memories and that's when I found out about the collector's group on Facebook and from that point on I have been all about it. I'm not the type of person to just be satisfied with only collecting something (not that there's anything wrong with that). I like to use my collection to create something or do something, and since collecting VHS I've held screenings, created Tape Mold, directed Adjust Your Tracking, created online videos, released VHS, etc.

What is it that drew you into collecting?  

I've always collected things. I love owning things, looking at them, trading them, etc. My house has always been filled with stuff since I was a little kid. Collecting movies was just a logical step since I'm a huge film fan and from about the 7th grade on I've always been into obscure cinema and as anyone who's into obscure film knows, a lot of it is solely on VHS.

What is your most prized VHS tape?
This is a hard one. I love my autographed Hellroller, my autographed Invasion of the Scream Queens, 555, Lunchmeat big box, Let's Play Dead, and so many more. I also really love my 90s Nickelodeon collection.

Correct me if I am wrong, but currently the one of the most sought after tapes is Tales from the Quadead Zone.  What are some of the factors that 
cause tapes such as this one to become such sought after collectors items?
Quadead is definitely one of the rarest VHS. This is because of how much mystery is surrounding the release and film itself. Many people didn't know if it even existed for a long time. It also happens to be directed by Chester Turner, who did Black Devil Doll from Hell which has been making the rounds among collector's and horror fans for decades. People want to see if it is on the same level as that movie. But the bottom line is not many copies of the movie were ever made and coming across one is extremely unlikely. But if you have one, hit me up! 

What advice and/or tips would you give to a budding VHS collector?

Ask around. Know someone who likes horror movies? Ask them if they have tapes. Know someone who knows someone who used to have a video store? Ask if they have any tapes left. Buy as many as you can for cheap and try to not spend insane prices on not super rare tapes, because that makes you look like a new collector and you'll also run out of money easily that way.

So, talk to us about one of your favorite films, Hellroller.  There is a fantastic interview with co-director Stuart Wall in issue #1.  How did you 
come to know Stuart?
Well, Stuart is a great guy. I think another friend of mine, Donald Farmer, put him in contact with me, actually. We got to talking and I knew he was the perfect person for an interview. Not only is he hilarious and has tons of stories to tell, but he directed one of the most interesting and obscure horror films I've ever seen. 

The surprise article for me in issue #1 was Pumpking - Gordy Falk: The Pumpkin Man, Myth & Legend.   What was it like interviewing his friends and ex-wife?

Thanks! It was amazing. I was so happy to be able to talk to people that know him and were able to shed light on his life and legacy. I was really happy that everyone I talked to was willing to open up and talk about him freely.

So what can we expect in future issues?
Well, with Issue Two we have tons of great stuff. I talked with Bret McCormick (The Abomination) and Glen Coburn (Bloodsuckers from Outer Space) about their film Tabloid, I have a few articles covering the never released "lost" 80s SOV anthology film, Southern Shockers, I talked with the queen of fat porn. Big Bad Bertha, and much more. This issue is nearly 50 pages long! In the future, though, I have some VHS cover artists I'm talking to, I'm going to have an interview with Ted Newsom about Blood Frenzy, and many other articles that I don't want to spoil!


What is your all time favorite movie (any genre)?
Fanny and Alexander (the TV cut). It does everything that I think cinema is capable of doing. It's directed by my favorite director ever, Ingmar Bergman, and despite its 6 hour runtime, it is haunting, beautiful, and never boring.

What is your favorite movie snack?
Chinese. I love General Tso's chicken and Coca-Cola. I also love Satellite Wafers, which is an old candy that they barely make anymore. It is two tasteless wafers fused together and inside is a bunch of tiny balls that have a strange taste. Combine those two things together and it's gold.

What is the worst horror movie you've ever seen?
I fucking hated The Ripper with Tom Savini. Such a terrible movie. But the all-time worst horror movie in my eyes is Boondock Saints. Fuck that movie and anyone who likes it.

What got you into horror movies?
My dad enjoyed horror movies and showed me a few. I remember seeing my mom's favorite movie, Rosemary's Baby, and being terrified of it. I also remember renting all the obvious slashers and then moving into slightly more obscure stuff like Basket Case. It just kept growing and growing. It didn't hurt that I was surrounded by three video stores and have a small (but fun) horror festival in the town I live in.

Many of us Tapeheads spent many a Saturday at the local Mom & Pop video shops just wandering the aisles and admiring the treasure trove of 
VHS goodness.  What was the name of the video store you went to as a kid?  Do you remember the first horror flick you rented there?  Any other
fun video store memories?
I had two video stores I went to as a really young kid. It was Video USA and Reel Entertainment. I used to walk to both of them and just roam the stores and annoy the employees. I remember Video USA had a fishbowl that if you landed a quarter on the small circle inside you won a free rental. I got the technique down and won three free rentals for 75 cents before they decided to get a bigger bowl. I don't remember the very first horror movie I rented, but I do remember very, very early in life a video store went out of business and my dad bought a bunch of tapes. I distinctly remember Puppet Master very early in life. I remember being haunted by the fact there were dolls but you also saw tits.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Go to http://vhshitfest.storenvy.com to buy Tape Mold and go like Tape Mold 'Zine, Adjust Your Tracking, and VHShitfest on Facebook!

I'd like to thank Dan for taking the time to talk to us and for giving us Tape Mold!  Looking forward to Issue #2!!!!!

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