One of the most talked about slabs of new VHS flesh to be recently issued is Mondo Video’s clamshell-encased analog edition of the 2012 Franck Khalfoun remake of the indisputable slasher classic MANIAC. The release was met with much anticipation from tapeheads worldwide, and upon its release, sold out 500 limited edition copies quicker than most could have anticipated. And, of course, now that they are officially sold out, we’re seeing a slew of tape flips and trades on sites like eBay and Horror VHS Collectors Unite! due to the beastly nature of supply and demand. And now, in the midst of all the magnetic madness, I had the chance to chat with Mondo main brain Justin Ishmael to learn more about the MANIAC VHS release and get hip to the purported pile of magnetic magic Mondo’s got in store…
One of Mondo's many logo variations. This one looks kinda tasty. Like icing. MMMMM.
LM: How did Mondo get involved with this release? Who'd you have to track down to do it?
Justin Ishmael: We honestly just asked. Mondo did the US soundtrack release and a poster for the film so we had a relationship with the studio beforehand.
A look at the white vinyl version of the MANIAC OST on Mondo. This bad boy was also issued on black. DIG IT.
Why go for this flick? What made you choose this flick in particular?
We like MANIAC... like, the original Spinell version. We are very wary of remakes and asked to see it beforehand. We got to see it early and all liked it so said why not... let's do a poster. We released the poster first at TEXAS FRIGHTMARE WEEKEND where they were screening the film for fans and it went over great. Everything has: poster, VHS, vinyl. It was fun to work on. Crazy thing is how many people have either been nonchalant about the art we put out or have freaked out. There are very few people that are "meh" about it which we love.
The MANIAC poster by artist Jeff Proctor produced by Mondo. I must say this art is a RIPPING good time.
Can you give us the full specs on the release? I believe you did 500 copies, but folks are interested to know just how many purple tapes are going out there?
We do about a 1/4 to 1/3 split depending on the run. I think it falls somewhere around there for this one.
A look at the purple VHS variant for the MANIAC VHS release. From the collection of David Gaumann aka A REAL COOL DUDE. Thanks, David!
Why do you think it's important to keep putting movies on VHS? What is it about the VHS format that you love?
I think what drew most people to VHS (and still does) is the art. Not only the art, but the vessel it comes in, too. Up to this point, we have only done clamshells, but we're hoping to get into the real deal stuff of custom packaging... big boxes... deluxe packages, etc. VHS is something we're totally focusing on hard for 2014.
You've sold all 500 copies of this flick, which is pretty incredible considering most people think VHS to be a dead format. Were you surprised how quickly they moved? What do you think this may indicate for the VHS format?
The masses are never going to understand. VHS isn't going to make a comeback mainstream, I don't think. But... who cares? We know who we're selling to and it's great. I love VHS. I, just a month or so ago, went to the BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL/ QUADEAD ZONE
show and bought like everything they had. The big box VHS, the normal clamshell VHS, the special edition DVDs... everything. I think it 100% matters what the movie is and 100% matters how that release is treated. Since we first worked with Evan Husney on our first VHS release (SLEDGEHAMMER)
the VHS stuff has grown. I remember dudes were emailing us (and not even dudes... like, studios) to ask how we did it and if we could print theirs, too. I think it's definitely going to be around in some capacity for the foreseeable future.
And a look at the standard VHS version of MANIAC from Mondo. You know I can dig it, no matter what color.
What's next for Mondo Video?
2014 will reveal all. Let's just say that if VHS fans are down with us doing modern movies on VHS, they're really going to be pumped. We'll be going back to the repertory film stuff as well as hopefully doing more modern stuff that we particularly like.
Anything else you'd like to say to the all the Videovores out there?
Just thanks. I'm a VHS fan. This was always done as a labor of love. We're not watching these VHS tapes on yachts. It's just cool to bond with people on stuff like this. I collect 35mm film, too, and it's kind of a thing where if you meet someone else that collects, you're like instant friends. From a selfish point of view, I'd love to meet more people that collect. Some of my favorite memories are raiding closing video stores with Zack Carlson across the country, so yeah.... VHS is not dead.
Man, you got that right, Justin! Mondo’s been dishing up some serious analog awesomeness these past couple of years, and from the sound of it, they’ve got plenty more in store. And that’s pretty groovy. Stay tuned to Mondo’s Official Website for all their analog oriented updates and endeavors. And while you wait, make some groovy nachos for yourself and feed that VCR. Every day. It’s the only way to live.
Groove and Groove and Dig On Solid Tunes.