Headpress Brings the Joseph A. Ziemba creation BLEEDINGSKULL.COM to Printed Glory with the New Book BLEEDING SKULL! A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey!
Yes... yes... I like what you've done here... what about... AH.. I see. This puppy is gonna RULE.LM: Could you tell us a little bit about the conception and launch of BLEEDING SKULL.com? What was the impetus to start? Did you have any writing / film review experience prior to conjuring The Skull? JOE: The name "Bleeding Skull" is from a 1960s mail order comic book ad. It was for a skull-shaped candle, which bled when you lit it. I had originally planned to use the name for a design company, but that idea didn't make it because I’m not a businessman. When I started writing reviews in 2004 and decided to launch a site, the choice for a name was obvious. I've never owned a Bleeding Skull candle. Dan and I met face-to-face when my band was touring through the Los Angeles area. This was 2006. But he'd been contributing to the site for a few months before that. We developed our friendship via email. The first email that Dan sent me started with this: "I really like the site. We have similar tastes in movies." From there, we discovered a mutual appreciation for Chris from The Last Slumber Party, SCTV, and people at work who say things like, "This day makes my ass itch." DAN: I joined up after complimenting Joe on his writing many times. One day, he suggested I write for BS. And I have ever since. I’ve been writing since I was 8-years-old. I have had several books almost published. Almost. It’s nice to have the Bleeding Skull! Book release date approaching. A dream come true. We hope everyone enjoys it and, maybe, buys two.
Here's that blasted bleeding skull! They still make these, and they're still real cool. Like this kind of stuff? GO HERE.Your site stood out to me (and I was consequently on it all the time) because it reviewed both VHS and DVD… back in 2005, that was rare. Why did you go for VHS reviews, too? DAN: That was one of the things that intrigued me about the site, too. But, in the end, I don’t think it matters if I’m reviewing VHS or DVD or SelectaVision discs. For me, it’s always about the movies. Whatever format I can get them on… I want to watch and enjoy. JOE: I’m with Dan. It was never about the format, but more a matter of circumstance. VHS was the only option, the only way I could see movies like BOARDINGHOUSE, ANOTHER SON OF SAM, and THE MUMMY AND THE CURSE OF THE JACKALS. Today, that’s still pretty much the case. But I’m not a buttface about it. I just want to see the movies.
A "still" from the THE MUMMY AND THE CURSE OF THE JACKALS. Yessss... you will buy the booOoOook.What is it that attracts you to the VHS format? DAN: The number of films currently available only on VHS attracts me to the format. I would never abandon it as long as there is one more film on it that I know I’ll enjoy. When James Bryan said in an interview that THE EXECUTIONER PART II would never come out on DVD, I knew that abandoning VHS was sheer foolishness. By the way, if someone could please get us a copy of Paul Kener’s WENDIGO, you would see a very happy Dan and Joe. JOE: It’s always about the movies. That’s what guides me. I love DVDs and Bluez-rays. But if a film is only available on VHS and I’m dying to see it, I seek out the VHS. There are still thousands of trash-horror/action/whatever films that are only available on VHS, so that’s my attraction.
Highly sought-after among collectors, feared by common men. CHOP 'EM UPS 5EVA.Do you have some favorite VHS titles? Do you collect at all? JOE: I collected heavily from 1999 to 2008. These days, I pick up a few tapes here and there, but mostly acquire copies through trades, video stores, and friends. The collecting world has gotten too expensive and irrational for me over the past five years. I’m TOFTS (Too Old For That Shit), so I just keep the focus on the films. That’s what makes me happy. My favorite tape in my collection is Nick Millard’s DEATH NURSE, which was released by Chop ‘Em Ups Video. The labels were created with a combination of photocopies and scotch tape. DAN: My copy of HEY! THERE’S NAKED BODIES ON MY TV is a favorite. BLOOD LAKE, SATAN’S BLADE, THE EXECUTIONER PART II/ FROZEN SCREAM double feature. The movies are edited slightly on that last one. Just go out and buy the VHS tapes for the individual films .You’ll own each film twice. But, it’s worth it. Everybody wins. I never really collected VHS per se. My family got their first VCR (Beta) in 1982. Followed, almost immediately, by a VHS player. We used to rent everything we could and record it all for later viewing. So, I used to collect a lot of copies of films. At one time, I had a wall with over 500 horror/strange movies piled against it. Back in the 80s and most of the 90s, it just wasn’t viable to collect VHS. They were too expensive. I owned a copy of DON’T GO IN THE WOODS on VHS because Matt Tobin worked at an adult bookstore that had “legit” videos in the front. DON’T GO was one of them. One day, Matt gave me the tape. It was very kind of him. Around 2002, I started going online and picking up (mostly) cheap copies of VHS tapes for films that I loved. I accumulated around 100. But, it wasn’t really collecting. It was just getting a better copy of, say, THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY or BOARDINGHOUSE then I had previously.
I was forwarded this image and told that THIS IS WHAT WILL HAPPEN if you don't pick up the book. Whoa, man. Cool.What do you think of the current VHS resurgence… all of the awesome projects coming up and all the media coverage on the culture? DAN: It’s pretty astounding. Especially considering that, in general, VHS isn’t like vinyl. A lot of vinyl does sound better the digital stuff. But, VHS, usually, isn’t better looking/ sounding than DVD or Blu-Ray. Some films, like OFFERINGS, have crappy DVDs. So, the VHS tapes top them. But, in general, VHS is an inferior format that just happens to be incredibly charming and lovable. The fact that it’s analogue tape, rather than digital, gives it a more “real” feel, I think. The picture rolls, tracking craps the bed, the tape tears halfway through a viewing or the emulsion wears off the tape causing it to automatically rewind. (I had a copy of THE STRANGENESS that did that.) You’re much more down and dirty with VHS, which suits many of the films we love. I’m hoping that most people collect in order to find new movies that they would never have seen by sticking to the digital realm. For me, those tapes are worth collecting. I certainly understand going crazy collecting a (mostly) dead format, like, for example, cassingles. I understand obsession. JOE: I’m glad that people are obsessing over something that makes them genuinely happy. That’s a good thing. Investing time and money on VHS tapes instead of heroin or babies is always a good thing.
A look at just a small sampling of VHS treats that await you on BLEEDINGSKULL.com, and some of these bad boys are sure to be captured within this pages of the upcoming tome. DIG IT.And now, after just about 10 years of internet awesomeness, BleedingSkull.com is being put into print form. What ignited the idea to make a book? DAN: A German man sent us a letter saying “If you would compile all those reviews, you wrote for Bleeding Skull.com into a book, you’d have the greatest publication on horror trash cinema ever!” Although we thought of one or two books in history that might be better, we agreed that a BS book would rule. And… we went on with our lives. Then, one night, we got caught in traffic and missed a screening of SOMETHING WEIRD. So, Joe and I went to dinner and decided now was the time. Let’s begin the book. JOE: That’s all true. Also, for as long as I can remember, I’ve had a personal dream of writing and designing a book on trash-horror movies. I’m grateful that it’s actually happening. What’s gonna be lurking inside the covers? Is it stuff reprinted from the site, or all new material? Lil bit o’ both? What kind of new material will be included if you got some new blood leakin’ outta there? JOE: Sixty percent of the book is comprised of films that were reviewed on the site from 2004-2011. We spent untold hours rewriting and improving those reviews for the book. Forty percent are brand new, never-before-seen reviews. It’s also lavishly illustrated with super rare stills, ads, VHS sleeves, and related weirdness. The book is a culmination of Bleeding Skull: Volume 1. You should buy it! DAN: There will be magic, wonder and boobs within the covers. You will read it and love it. Your mother will read it and appreciate it. Even Grandma will get a thrill from it. There are many brand-new reviews in the book. Movies we never touched on the site. The reviews that were once on the site (but are now gone) have been extensively rewritten. New observations, new jokes, tighter construction of the reviews, etc. If you like the site, the book will make you want to come to our houses and watch movies with us all night. But, maybe you shouldn’t. Call first. Joe’s busy on Tuesdays. I like to keep my Saturdays open.
And here we have a severed leg! Why, you ask? Oh, no reason. Just because it's cool. And if you dig this stuff, you'll dig the book. Just sayin'.Is it coming in hardcover first editions or is it all softcover boys? I assume it’s not limited since it was picked up by a publisher? DAN: It’s a trade paperback. Headpress is publishing it so it is not a limited release. That means you can buy two or three and deprive no one. What’s the main focus of the book? What do you want people to take away from it? JOE: Love for these movies. DAN: The main focus of the book is the beauty, wonder, sleaze and strangeness of some of the most obscure and odd films from the video underbelly of the 1980s. It’s an era that gets no respect. Ask a Monster Kid about that era and they’ll mail you a bag of flaming werewolf shit and ask why you’re wasting time. We have decided to right that wrong. I don’t see one era in the last 100 years of horror/weird cinema being better than another. They all have their joys. Time to take on the 80s. LAS VEGAS BLOODBATH rules. Tell your friends.
Dig the logo, man. Oh, the dudes are doing a book launch slash tour for this puppy, too. Peep deets RIGHT HERE.What’s next for Bleeding Skull? You guys gonna do some VHS tapes?! PLEASE SAY YES. JOE: No. We’ll be touring across the country for the book release – screenings, hang-outs, make-out sessions, whatever you want. Aside from that, my focus is to maintain the site’s output with the help of Dan, Zack, and Annie. And also to get more sleep. DAN: Yes. More reviews. All four of us are searching and searching for odd, obscure and wonderful films for the site. And we have found some. Anything else you’d like to share with the trashterpiece loving Videovores out there? Where can we go to pre-order this slab o’ trash tape talking’ awesome? JOE: The book is called BLEEDING SKULL! A 1980s TRASH-HORROR ODYSSEY. It is now available for pre-order on Amazon. If you like clown midget slashers, the Indonesian Jason Vorhees, or a pregnant woman in a bikini who eats fried chicken before getting her fetus ripped out by a psychopath, you will like this book. DAN: Hello, Videovores! Is there anything better than buying an unknown film on VHS, sitting down and discovering that you are watching the world’s best movie? There are a few things better but none that are as satisfying. And, the search goes on and on. One of our mottos is: There’s always one more. It’s true.
Yessir! Total truth bomb, Tapeheads! There IS always one more piece of unbelievable, unrepentant, almost indigestible but somehow magnetically delicious flick awaiting you on VHS, and this book is a damn fine way to help you navigate through the magnetic muck and digital disc delirium that abounds. Be sure to PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY of this soon-to-be trash video bible and groove on over to the Bleeding Skull! website for oodles of cinema insanity. You'll be glad ya did.