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Indie Filmmaker Jon Carpus and The Mysterious Film Cabal of Detroit Create the Low-Budget Brain-Bender SON OF HERCULES VS. THE PSYCHEDELIC DRACULA and Unleash It On VHS via Nemesis Video! DIG IT!

An intense and constant admiration for off-the-wall and absurdly weird cinema along with an undying drive to make a motley mountain of mini-movies has pushed director Jon Carpus to finally assemble his first full-length feature entitled Son of Hercules VS. The Psychedelic Dracula. Embodying the truest DIY VHSpirit imaginable while overcoming an array of seemingly insurmountable obstacles throughout the production, Carpus and crew AKA The Mysterious Film Cabal of Detroit dove headlong into this full-length feature without a proverbial helmet, armed only with a steadfast adherence to all things odd and endearingly awful with the intention to totally warp people’s gourds with their brand of mind-melting, brain-belching, sense-squelching Psychotronic soaked cinema, all standing tall on a backbone of pure fun. Read on, my fellow Videovores, and experience what those weird kids in the basement have culled from their tube TV and VCR and transmuted into their own malformed movie manifestation…


One of the many radical title sequences in the SoHvstPD! CAN YOU BEAR IT?! Yeah, I said it!

Can you tell us a little bit about your creative history? How did the idea for Son of Hercules VS. Psychedelic Dracula come about? Son of Hercules Vs. The Psychedelic Dracula is the culmination of a lifetime of aspiring to be a filmmaker. Rob Piazza (who plays the Psychedelic Dracula) and I made our first short movie when we were about ten or eleven. We were just messing around with his parent’s camcorder with a very loose idea and bouncing weird ideas around and then filming them. We got our friends involved and filmmaking became the most fun thing we did. When we were younger that was pretty much all we did. Hundreds of backyard and basement movies. As we got older, we gained access to better equipment but the foundation of our methods was already built strong. Films my friends and I made when we were in elementary school have a similar spirit and feel to them as films we made in high school, college, and stuff we make now as grown ass adults (technically.) SOHvsTPD was just me deciding it was time to take what we had been learning forever and do a full length crazy movie. I absolutely love and am inspired by the movies that make most normal viewers wonder why anyone would make such a film. I tried to write characters I knew my friends could have fun with. Everyone acting in this movie ran with it and did a better job bringing their characters to life than I could have ever hoped for.

psychedelic dracula on couch(1)

Rob Piazza (RIP) totally amazed and brain-bombed about wearing Dracula's cape. DIG THOSE GROOVY DRACULA THREADS, MANG.

What was the process like creating the film? I hear it took quite a while, and there was some sort of disappearance and other bumps in the road? Pre-production and writing started as soon as I graduated college in 2009. We had a script and we dove headfirst into production with basically no money and very little idea what it took to keep a feature length shoot on a reasonable schedule. If I wasn't lucky enough to have such a dedicated cast and crew looking out for this production it wouldn't have happened. I'm pretty scatterbrained and shooting days just kind of happened months and months apart. A lot happened in the years we made this movie. I moved like 3 times; my band went on tour; I went through a breakup; I got married; I got jobs working on other movies. All that is just normal stuff every indie filmmaker has to deal with, but above all else that kept me from finishing the movie was Rob Piazza dying. After it happened I got really depressed and couldn't even think about how I was going to continue making the movie. Aside from all the script problems it caused it was just a very emotional thing for me to think about making movies when filmmaking was something Rob and I lived and breathed together for like 16 years. My friends, my wife Misty, my family and Rob's family really looked out for me and kept my head above water for awhile. I have so many people to thank for lending me strength and keeping me going. I just kept thinking about how Rob would want me to finish the movie, and then it became the best motivation. I couldn't let my best friend down. I had to finish this movie for Rob, and for everyone who had already invested so much time into it.


A totally insane and awesome low-budget creation from SoHvstPD. What is it? Ummmm... I think it's a Yeti, man.

What’s the movie all about? What can Videovores expect from SoHvsPD? Son of Hercules Vs. the Psychedelic Dracula is a movie for and by fans of whacked-out bizarre cinema. The Mysterious Film Cabal of Detroit have spent years and years ingesting everything cult and this is our awkwardly charming regurgitated offspring. We strived to make the kind of movie we would want to watch, filling it with all sorts of stuff we love: crazy monsters, blood, action, back shaving and long stretches of dialogue. I can only hope that anyone who thinks they would be into it based on the title can get a chance to check it out. I really hope everyone who loves weird movies likes our film.


Another bodacious low-budget creation skulking around in the insanity that is SON OF HERCULES VS. THE PSYCHEDELIC DRACULA. This thing RULES.

Who is Greg, and what kind of influence does he have in the film? I met Greg Schmitt years ago at a film grip training course. He mentioned to the class he did some work helping out at shows at the Graystone Ballroom, which was a legendary hub of Hardcore punk activity in Detroit. He had all these amazing stories about the punk scene back then and he gave me a couple copies of his zine he and his friends put out way back when. This guy was involved in Detroit punk from the get go, and my friends and I would still run into him at shows. He's the nicest guy. He made copies of all these old Michigan cassette comps and VHS tapes of the Ghoul and the hardcore punk public access show from the 80s. He also really likes horror and B movies, and he was kind enough to agree to be in our movie. He did an absolutely amazing job. Some of his best lines were just adlibbed. Unfortunately, I kind of lost contact with him. I lost his number; he wasn't responding to the old email address I was contacting him through, and I don't think he is on Facebook that often. I hope he's not mad at me for taking too long to finish making the movie; it would be great to work with him again. I'd really like to get him a copy of the movie and a t-shirt. So if Greg or anyone who knows him is reading this, please get a hold of me! I was recently reading this book Detroit Rock City by Steve Miller, which is like a history through interviews. Greg has a few short quotes in there; I was stoked to see that.


Some burn-out leather clad Vampirism in analog action! THIS DUDE IS PISSED!

Can you tell us a little bit about the film collective you’re involved with? The Mysterious Film Cabal of Detroit? My friends and I were always trying to find the weirdest, worst or most insane movies we could and would constantly be watching something brain-meltingly strange in my basement. We put all this bizarre, amazing crap in our brains from adolescence on and it resulted in a Psychotronic stew powerful enough to rewire our craniums into permanent belligerent insanity. The Mysterious Film Cabal of Detroit sort of evolved naturally from the culture we were steeping ourselves in. Throughout most of the production I viewed what me and my friends were as a production company. I realized later we had a larger role than that. We all loved the Burton Theater. We all loved Thomas Video. With both those places gone, I really felt there were gaping holes in Detroit's Psychotronic and crazed art movie scene. An important part of video stores and theaters is the gathering of people interested in crazy movies and the culture that swells around it. The dissemination of ideas, opinions, stuff like that. Like at a convention or something there is a certain energy you can feel being in a room with other horror or whatever fans. And we believe it's important to have that on a small local level, too. So we hope to nurture events in physical space with that kind of energy. We are hoping to bring some next level weirdness to this idea, to figure out some new ideas that work in the present and the future when video stores and small theaters might not be a viable thing. We are also trying to create some cult movie fetish objects we think fans would be excited to get their hands on. Stuff like tiny monster sculptures. Like a horrible DIY version of the Aurora Monster kits of old. Dan Peters is pretty into the indie toy collector scene and he brings his enthusiasm for that to The Mysterious Film Cabal of Detroit. We're also putting a gross looking photocopied zine together. On the production side of things we have some really exciting stuff gestating. We're currently in pre-production on our next feature, which will be titled Roach Killer. We are constantly in the production of shorter subjects which fall more into the art film category. Brendan Roney (who plays the Baron of Taking Drugs in the film) recently got a hold of an old school VHS camera so I'm super pumped about the crazy stuff he's going to put together with that.


The absolutely killer analog edition from Nemesis Video! Grab your slab RIGHT HURR, mang.

What were your thoughts when you were approached by Nemesis Video about a VHS release for the film? What do you think of the resurgence in interest in these slabs of magnetic magic? I love my VCR. I couldn't imagine parting with my beat up old copy of The Evil Dead I've had since I was a kid. I still have so much love for the format. I worked at a video store for a while and I had a great time. One of the things I liked most about the job was repairing tapes. Something about being able to touch part of the actual movie on a tape is fantastic. You're absolutely right; it's magic. I think it's awesome there's new stuff and re-releases being put out on VHS. I guess my friends and I were always into stuff like punk and hardcore that never stopped releasing albums on vinyl and cassette tape, so I'm all for underground stuff being on a format that confounds the mainstream. Most of the members of The Mysterious Film Cabal of Detroit are into it. Dan Peters is an absolutely voracious VHS fiend, pounding the pavement at thrift stores and flea markets finding boxes of exploitation and sleazy treasure. Brendan Roney gets his fingers dusty finding the weirdest home movies, taped off television madness and foreign market head scratchers. He's amassing a maddeningly strange found footage collection that will one day disintegrate the eye holes of all who view it. Working with the Nemesis Video guys has been great as well. Rob and Sean are amazing; they put together some of the sweetest looking packaging out there. We're hoping to help the Nemesis dudes bring their own original cinematic madness into this world in the near future. They have some absolutely amazing ideas for new content that was right up our alley, so look forward to even more Detroit independent cinematic madness coming to your VCR soon. When Nemesis Video and the Mysterious Film Cabal of Detroit teams up to tag team some trash content, it's going to shock the world!

sohvtpd cover(1)

Some totally incredible, hand-painted artwork for the film that makes me want a pet bat. FLEX, BABY, FLEX! RULE THE WORLD! Artwork by Logon Saton, man!!

Man, you know I’m stoked for that shit! How does it feel to finally have the film out there for people to see? Is there any message you’d like people to receive with the film? Showing the movie to an audience at the premier was such an amazing and rewarding experience. It was pretty emotional for me too. Having a room full of people laughing and cringing during Rob's scenes, I knew he was there in spirit loving it. I was shedding tears listening to people laugh during the panty sniffing scene. Having everyone in the Mysterious Film Cabal of Detroit there with me witnessing the fruits of our labor made me so proud. It's absolutely exciting knowing that the movie is going around the crazy VHS collector circuit. I really think this movie has a chance to find a place in the hearts of tape collecting maniacs. I was absolutely stoked when the Nemesis guys informed me a tape made it's way to the UK. I really just hope everyone who watches it gets a kick out of it. If anyone takes anything else away from it aside from some laughs than that's even better, but I'm pleased with people just having a good time watching it.


The titular Son of Hercules making his presence known with a mighty flex in front of Old Glory. HERCULES 5EVA.

Anything else you’d like to shout out to all the Tapeheads eyeballin’ these here Spare Parts? Keep the dream alive! Today's crazy VHS collectors are tomorrow's film archivists! Physical media is really important. Look at all the great movies that have just recently seen more complete versions due to someone finding “lost” footage in unlikely places like Metropolis and Blue Velvet. To quote Steve Albini, “The future belongs to the analog loyalists!”

Yo, we heard that, Jon! Albini’s got the anti-digital archival idea, no doubt! Mad analog ups to Carpus and his too groovy Mysterious Film Cabal of Detroit crew for championing brain-melting cinema of all persuasions, ardently adhering to its allure, and consequently creating a most mind-melting and passionate slab of Psychotronic cinema of their own! Speaking of, if you’re willing to bounce your brain around like a basketball and enjoy every VHSecond of it, you gotta groove on over the Official Nemesis Video Online Store and grab your slab of Son of Hercules VS. The Psychedelic Dracula. Your VCR won’t know what hit it, mang.

Groove and Groove and Do It In the Backyard.

Josh Schafer

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