Category_Collecting, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_Horror, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

New VHS Label VHS IS DEAD Prepares to Re-Animate the Coveted Cult Splatterpiece HAUNTEDWEEN so Tapeheads Can Celebrate without Breaking the Bank!!! DIG IT!

VHS IS DEAD proprietor Rod Lanham started dishing out tapes in the Wild Wild West fashion, slinging high-quality unofficial editions for nearly impossible to find films and effectively preserving them for the rabid fans of obscure video madness. But recently he’s turned over a new tape and decided to head into the realm of official licensing, acquiring the rights to re-animate one of the most coveted early 90s regional horror pictures there is. Rod’s been churning out amazing and affectionate VHS editions since his foray into the craft, so until this bad boy drops, Videovores all over will be abuzz with anticipation. Read on, my fellow Tapeheads, and prepare your playback machine for a newly issued slice of analog redemption for the cult of HAUNTEDWEEN!

Dig that wonky line love, mang.

LM: Can you tell us a little bit about your production / release history prior to VHS IS DEAD? RL: A year or so ago, I decided that being a VHS collector wasn't enough. I wanted to participate in the “rebirth”, even if it was only for my own satisfaction. So I got what I needed to get rolling, and started making bootlegs. There are tapes out there that many collectors won't be able to afford, if they even show up for sale, so I thought a low-cost alternative would suffice for some of them. Eventually, I decided I wanted to go legit and actually license material.

Just a small sampling of the unofficial analog editions Rod's crafted. These puppies is rad.

How did you decide to start VHS IS DEAD? What other projects / releases have you done under the banner thus far? After getting the box protectors made, I figured I needed some sort of internet presence, and a “brand”. HAUNTEDWEEN is the first official VHS IS DEAD release, although I've offered the bootlegs for quite a while. That’s a helluva brand name, mang. I’m picking up some sarcasm… One of my FB friends, Scott Appleby, suggested it when I started doing the boots. I'm not sure of the original context, but I decided it was a great name to use for some future project. I should probably be paying him royalties, but I'm not.

The promo art going around for the upcoming release. THIS IS GONNA RULE.

Why go for HAUNTEDWEEN? The rarity of the original? Do you have a personal affinity for the film? I was looking for (relatively) high dollar or HTF tapes to boot, and came across HAUNTEDWEEN. It seemed to have somewhat of a following, and be well liked. I hadn't even seen it at that point. But, I feel like it's on par with many of the other more well known small, tape-distributed films from the same time period – not academy award material, and not stupid for stupid's sake either. An honest effort by a first time filmmaker that despite its flaws, is an entertaining slice of VHS history. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got in touch with the rights holder(s), and how it all panned out? I started looking online, and discovered that a DVD had been released recently by the director, Doug Robertson, and started following leads to contact him. Once I found and messaged him, we back-and-forthed for a couple of hours, and it was done. Easy peasy.

Lookin' good, man! Clickity-click the point of decapitation for a peek at HAUNTEDWEEN!

The pre-order is in a few weeks ( looking September!). Can you spill some details about the release? How many are being produced, artwork, extras, etc.? The run size hasn't been decided on yet. I'm not really looking to create some sort of Super-Mega-Limited “forced collectible” thing. I just want people to be able to watch and enjoy the film in its native habitat. It's likely going to be limited to pre-orders, and have a lower price point than other boutique labels. Because I want to keep it inexpensive, there haven't been any extras planned, but you never know. I really like the original cover, so I intend on using it, but I'll add some “flair” to it. Or not. Full content of the tape is undecided at this point. I had intended to be further along before I announced it, but I just couldn't keep it under my hat!

A look at the custom big box protectors produced by VHS IS DEAD. Protect yo investment, man!

I know you spearheaded the production and distro of custom big box protectors, which are a tapehead’s delight. Can you tell us a little bit about that process and how they’ve been received? Basically, I stumbled upon a site that did custom size clear PVC boxes. As a collector, I knew supplies of big box protectors were dwindling, so I decided to take a chance. I'd never worked with a manufacturer before, so it was a new experience. Measurements – down payment – them getting manufactured in China – dealing with customs. Since a special die had to be created to make them, I was worried the entire two months that they might show up completely the wrong size. Thank god they didn't! Everyone that has got them seems pretty pleased. They're slightly heavier than the old ones, which is nice. They haven't been flying off the shelves like I would have thought, but sales are steady, and there are new collectors to the hobby every day. How long have you been collecting VHS? What do you think of all the VHS culture coming into high visibility in recent times? I had a collection that I'd begun in high school up until the early 2000's. Then, like a dummy, I sold most of them off to make way for DVDs. I kept most of the ones that had been difficult to get, or that I figured would never get a disc release because of obscurity. I got back into it back when the HOUSE OF THE DEVIL tape came out. Since then, I can't get enough. It's a combination of sentimentality and that I always seem to collect something because I have that “bug”.

The super-rad unofficial edition of LHODES. Lots of love in this bad boy right here.

Why do you think it’s important to preserve and perpetuate the almighty VHS? VHS wasn't the first video format, but it had longevity. Most people of a certain age associate home movie viewing with VHS. It's as much of a part of our childhood as Saturday morning cartoons and Big League Chew. You never forget your first pet, your first car, or your first VCR.

The face label sticker from a very special edition set forth by VHS IS DEAD. Click here for all the awesome details.

What’s next for VHS IS DEAD? It's hard to tell. I'd like to continue to add licensed material under the VHS IS DEAD banner, and have already decided on a couple properties to go after. I'll still do the left field bootlegs as TRASHO VIDEO, and the popular “reproduction” boots, too. I have some titles lined up for the DAD'S BOOTLEGS series of tapes (that aren't actually bootlegs), that Horror Boobs came up with. It depends on my amount of free time, how the market holds out, and how long I can still get clamshells on the cheap.

One of the Dad's Bootlegs tapes in full effect. DIG IT, BROTHA.

Anything else you want all the Videovores out there to know? Support any of the other new labels if you can. Massacre, Horror Boobs, Secret Lair, King of the Witches, Uneasy Archive, Video Pharmacy, Briarwood, whoever. These guys do it for the love of VHS, and don't always see a return on their investment. Also, I think that way too many of us in the community have begun look down our noses at new collectors, and we shouldn't. We all were new to collecting tapes at some point and didn't know the difference between a LHODES and a C.H.U.D. In terms of value. Cut them a break, and explain things they may not know instead of being a dick. Through these new collectors, the VHS legend can live on.

I couldn’t agree more, Rod, and your sentiment is one that fully resounds over here in LUNCHMEAT Land. Be good to your fellow collectors, and perpetuate the love of out favorite format. Every Day. Be sure to groove on over to the Official VHS IS DEAD webstore for a collection of killer analog goodies and stay tuned to the VHS IS DEAD Facebook page for all updates on the upcoming HAUNTEDWEEN release! And for those of you looking to score a copy of HAUNTEDWEEN on digital video disc (hey, man, that’s cool, too!) clickity-click on over to!

Groove On and Snap into Slim Jim. They is tasty.

Josh Schafer

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