Category_Collecting, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_Horror, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

Indie Filmmakers Cody Kennedy and Timothy Rutherford Bring Some Video Vindication with M IS FOR MAGNETIC TAPE and Have More Magnetic Madness On Deck with THE LAST VIDEO STORE!

While making my usual rounds about the world weird web last week, I happened across a mighty groovy short film soaked with video vindication sensibilities and one amazingly awesome analog hero that totally got my magnetic mojo risin’, mang. M IS FOR MAGNETIC TAPE co-creators Cody Kennedy and Timothy Rutherford are overflowing with that distinct DIY attitude, were raised on video rentals and have forgone the film school route, instead gleaning their movie making know-how from the extras and additional behind-the-scenes info loaded onto their favorite fringe flicks. Cody’s affection for analog era inanity and inclination toward that bottom-of-the-barrel, super-bonkers kind of entertainment has led him to help create not only the tantalizing M IS FOR MAGNETIC TAPE along with an army of other short films, but also endeavor to craft a full-length feature of epic analog proportions called THE LAST VIDEO STORE. These tape laced, horror homage treats and much more await you if you dare enter Cody and crew’s cinematic movement known as the House of Heathens. Go on… open the door… just watch out for that puddle of green goo, man…

The radical logo for HOUSE OF HEATHENS. I wouldn't knock on that door, man. Doorbell ditch? Maybe.

LM: First, can you tell us a little bit about your background in filmmaking? Do you have any other history in the arts, etc.? CK: I come from a pretty DIY background along with my main cohort / film partner Timothy Rutherford. We both met in high school and decided that we wanted to make a bunch of short films together being as we had both shared a love for genre films and dabbled in film making using Mini-DV camcorders our families had for home videos. We both shared fond memories of renting movies from the video store. Throughout high school we were introduced to non-linear editing software and spent a lot of time watching in slow motion how our favorite movie scenes were cut together and tried to replicate it. After high school, faced with the choice of taking some sort of film school, I instead worked a bunch of shitty jobs to save up money to buy a camera and computer to continue our DIY film school, which was at first watching a shit ton of behind the scenes and “making of” special features.

Super-groovy title screen for M IS FOR MAGNETIC TAPE. I hope this becomes real one day. A Videovore can dream.

M IS FOR MAGNETIC TAPE was created for the ABCs of Death 2 short film competition, right? Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration to create the film? Why’d you go for a VHS theme? Well, M IS FOR MAGNETIC TAPE actually sprouted from a short film we currently have on a film Festival tour called THE LAST VIDEO STORE. We had heard about the ABCs of Death contest and decided if the Letter they choose for the contest was to be either V or M we would pursue a VHS / Video store / Magnetic tape inspired short for the contest.

The analog-armored hero from M IS FOR MAGNETIC TAPE. This dude RULES.

You teamed up with two other groovy dudes for this project. Can you tell us a little bit about how you met them, and what sparked the collab and the experience working with them? You all live together now, right? As I mentioned, Timothy Rutherford and I met in high school and decided we wanted to just make movies. Kevin Martin who plays the video store clerk is the real life owner and video store clerk of his still running video store called The Lobby. He and a few other guys run a local Horror/Fantastic Film Festival called Dedfest. They were doing these short film contests. Tim and I saw this and started entering some short films into the contests and sorta got the attention of the guys from the film fest. The festival had brought Michael Biehn to present the screening of his film THE VICTIM. They asked if we wanted to toss together a best of Biehn montage and we decided to do a little short out of it which ended up taking place inside Kevin’s video store since we couldn’t find any other location to do it. The short went over well and a few people were wondering what we would come up with next month. Dedfest had started doing monthly screenings, so we shot a few more shorts in the video store which kinda built the basis of the idea for the short THE LAST VIDEO STORE. Within that time Tim and I had also became regulars at the video store, reigniting the fun of renting movies and just chatting with Kevin and his immense knowledge about movies. Tim and I and one of our other actors and high school friend Joshua Lenner (He is the bald dude with the eye patch in M IS FOR MAGNETIC TAPE, but plays a much more prominent role in THE LAST VIDEO STORE short) have been living together in a house that has been dubbed “The House of Heathens” which takes the name from our film collective. Kevin Martin recently had gone through a split and we welcomed him into the house. Now we are headed deep into writing the feature script for THE LAST VIDEO STORE. Living together under one roof makes the process easier plus were kinda a big family who watches a lot of movies together that Kevin brings home from his store.

A shot of Kevin defending the honor of analog against villainous assholes! GO, KEVIN, GO!

Yeah, can you tell us a little bit more about Kevin’s video store video? Does he still rent VHS there? Kevin Martin, the Video store clerk in M IS FOR MAGNETIC TAPE, is also the real life clerk and owner of the video store. Unfortunately, he does not rent out VHS tapes but does have a little display full of rare and awesome videos. He specializes in cult / horror / fantastic cinema. The store looks pretty much exactly how it does in M IS FOR MAGNETIC TAPE. We installed a bunch of colored lighting strips for the short film and he just ended up keeping it all up. You can buy movies right of his shelf, but if it’s out of print be prepared to pay a pretty penny for it. He has a great support for the horror community and a lot of people that attend the Dedfest film fest end up taking trips to the video store, as well.

A still from THE LAST VIDEO STORE trailer. Double stackin' VCR glory!

Tell us more about THE LAST VIDEO STORE. It’s kind of an off-shoot of M IS FOR MAGNETIC TAPE? Yeah, we did a short film called THE LAST VIDEO STORE. You could say M IS FOR MAGNETIC TAPE could be a spiritual prequel or sequel. It may take place in the same universe as THE LAST VIDEO STORE or it could be an alternative universe. We also did a collection of short films that took place in the Video store that parodies / pays homage to certain films Dedfest had screenings for: BATTLE ROYALE, ARMY OF DARKNESS, and POLTERGEIST, leading up to THE LAST VIDEO STORE and M IS FOR MAGNETIC TAPE.

A super-rad internal shot of a VCR chompin' on some video gold from THE LAST VIDEO STORE trailer.

So, since the creation of M IS FOR MAGNETIC TAPE, you three video maestros have come to the realization that you want to make this bad boy a full-length feature, which sounds amazing. What’s in store for the full length? Well, it’s going to be a gonzo adventure /sci-fi / action / horror / martial arts / comedic film… A self-aware B-movie about a guy and his video store full of B-movies… Full of nods and homage and craziness that takes place in the post video store world. That’s as much as I can say at the moment. We want people to remember video stores in a very fun fashion years down the road!

Kevin on the receiving end of some ooey-gooey effects in THE LAST VIDEO STORE. He needs some of the windshield wiper glasses, mang.

Why do you love VHS? What is it about the format that’s so inspirational to you? For me personally, it is the hunt: The Discovering of these long forgotten movies that only exist on VHS tape. Also, the idea that for some of these films people put sooooo much blood, sweat and tears into them… they also had this real DIY look to them but a majority of people would consider them utterly shitty films. I like those kinds of movies. They are way more fun to watch, especially in a group setting. One of my favorite VHS tapes I have is TWIN DRAGON ENCOUNTERS. Only Available on VHS. The story behind the two mastermind Canadian martial artists of the film goes hand in hand with actually watching it. They are also probably 2 of the most uncharismatic action heroes you will ever experience… which makes for such a cool experience.

The Christmas Tree Beast looks hungry! Quick! Get some cookies or something, man! WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU ATE THEM ALL?!

Got any other VHS-oriented projects you’d like to share with all the Videovores out there? We are pouring all of our time into this feature film . Christmas is around the corner, so I do encourage anyone out there to check out the Xmas short we shot inside the Lobby Videostore. It’s narrated by “Astron 6's Adam Brooks”

You better watch out, Videovores! Christmas IS just around the corner. So, once you chomp on down on old Tom Turkey, you better be on your best behavior so you get lots of analog goodies under that tree, mang. And in the meantime, be sure to groove on over to the House of Heathens YouTube channel to experience all sorts of indie cinema madness and keep up with all of their action-packed projects on deck. Their upcoming THE LAST VIDEO STORE is bound to be one kaleidoscopic slice of analog-induced insanity, indeed! And don't forget to vote for M IS FOR MAGNETIC over at the ABCs of Death!! DIG IT!

Groove and Groove and BE GOOOOOOOD.

Josh Schafer

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