Ontario Videovore Ben Ruffett Offers Up Obscure VHS Screenings with Hamilton’s Trash Cinema and Contributes Some of His Analog Expertise to the Upcoming VIDEONOMICON VHS Re-issue of SCIENCE CRAZED!
Ahhhh, here it is, Tapeheads! That mad obscure and totally insane original release of TBVHTMMPOMAG. Just wanna VHSay that without Ben and his radical insight, I would have never scored a copy of my own. Thanks again, man. You totally rule.Tell us a little bit about yourself and your Videovore habits. How long have you been collecting and how did you get into it? Growing up as a child with separated parents, weekends at Dad's house were the time to rent all the horrible and violent movies I normally wasn't allowed to watch. I can still vividly remember my Dad showing me The Exorcist and fast forwarding to all the good parts. There were three great video stores near us: an Avondale convenience store which had half of its square footage devoted to grimy VHS tapes, a Jumbo Video that had a horror section constructed to look like a haunted castle (complete with monsters behind bars), and a Mom and Pop store downtown that I can't remember the name of, but we affectionately referred to as "Stinky's". Going to any of these locations on a Saturday night was always an adventure, and we always came away with something gory or weird. I spent several years taping every Tales from the Crypt episode off of Fox on Saturday night and terrorizing my good friend who lived next door with the scariest tapes I could find when we had sleepovers. Meanwhile, my mother who was struggling to raise two young boys on her own, won $100 on a lottery ticket. I'm sure she had a lot of bills waiting to be paid, but she bought us a VCR, so the fun started Monday through Friday, too.
Two total analog essentials and one that just doesn't get enough love. THE NIGHT BRINGS CHARLIE totally rules. You heard it here, Tapeheads! VHSeek it out!You run a page called Hamilton's Trash Cinema on FB, but you also do a VHS screening night in Ontario with the same name. Can you tell us about how that came to be? Where do these groovy VHScreenings go down? My partner Sadie and I had been hosting movies nights amongst our friends for the last three years or so. Everyone would come over and cram into our basement, we'd order pizza and watch three or four of the weirdest, most inept movies I could find and it was always a blast. I had so much fun hosting them that I decided to open it up to the general public, so I approached 'The Baltimore House', a cafe and bar in downtown Hamilton. The owner Grant Winestock seemed excited by the idea, and the pieces just came together really quick. I think we had our first screening a week or two after I spoke with him. The venue has got a great atmosphere and really fits in with the whole theme of the night.
Another exceedingly awesome example of analog obscurity that populates the HTC feed. This is one of my personal favorite tapes and flicks. Just all-around low-budget aesthetic brilliance, mang. And that sticker! SO DOPE.Why do you wanna screen VHS for folks? What are some of the titles you've done so far and why did you choose those particular titles? For me, the joy of watching a low budget, trashy movie comes from experiencing it with a group of excited people. Everyone else's reactions feed into the mood of the movie. Gore becomes grosser, bad lines become funnier, everything just works better. I've tried to pick movies that are either not yet released on DVD or Blu-ray or at the very least difficult to find. Some of the recent titles have been Blood Massacre, Fatal Exposure, Heavy Metal Massacre i.e. movies that aren't widely known about even amongst the B movie crowd. My proudest Hamilton Trash Cinema moment has definitely been tracking down C. Davis Smith's son and getting a copy of the supposed "lost footage" from A Night to Dismember. C. Davis Smith sent me an email regarding the cut, too, explaining a lot of the back story to the movie, which was an absolute thrill to read. It was a blast seeing that alternate cut of the film with lots of footage added, and the crowd absolutely loved it.
More totally radical rarities pulled from the HTC archives. Tape Tac Toe - Three in a Rewind Row. Yep, I said it.Yeah, man, those are killer picks! Speaking of, you’ve screened of the SOV Trashterpiece SATAN PLACE. Tell us about that flick. You're in touch with the director and you got his blessing to screen it, right? I had been trying to track down a VHS copy of Satan Place for a little while (it has one of the greatest covers ever) and had discovered that it's very difficult to find. It's one of those movies that no one ever wants to sell or trade once they find. The movie itself is a bizarre anthology of fairly gory stories with a wry sense of humour. I started emailing the director Scott Aschbrenner, asking him if he had a copy he'd consider selling. I'm sure I was pretty annoying as I continued to email him over the course of two to three months, but he eventually located a copy and sent it my way. I let him know that I wanted to screen it, and it seemed like a perfect candidate for a room full of slightly intoxicated people. He was on board all the way and even asked if I could film a short documentary of the screening for the special features of a Satan Place DVD he is working on releasing.
C'mon, man, I NEED this tape! Who doesn't!? This one will be re-animated soon, though, stay tuned to HTC and LM for all the updates, Tapeheads! This cover rules so much.Why do you love VHS, man? What is it that really attracts to the format and makes you stick with it? It's definitely a mixture of warm and fuzzy nostalgia and the fact that so many weird and wonderful films have only ever been released on VHS. For me, horror movies live and breathe on VHS. The format seems perfect for the low budget fright flick, and the atmosphere they bring with them. Nothing is better than enjoying a fun movie on VHS with pizza, a comfortable couch, and some friends. It's like a time warp.
The hits just keep on comin', mang! Damn, this tape is HARD to find, and it's totally killer. Put it on your list, Tapeheads. VIDEOVORE APPROVED!What's next for HTC, duder? Videonomicon out of Saskatoon is re-releasing a personal favourite film of mine, Science Crazed, and they were cool enough to let me write a short piece for the liner notes, so I'm pretty excited about that. I've been emailing cast and crew members for about a year now, trying to figure out what exactly makes Science Crazed such a bat shit crazy movie, but it still remains a mystery. I'm also going to start working on a "shot on video" movie this summer, so that should be a terrifying experience for everyone involved. Other than that, we'll keep showing a fun horror movie every month, exploring the depths of the VHS B-movie boom.
It's coming soon, Videovores! Stay tuned to LM and the VIDEONOMICON site so you know when you can feed this re-animation to your VCR!Anything else you wanna shout out to all the Videovores in LM Land?! Don't be a stranger. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Hamilton Trash Cinema Facebook page.
Couldn’t we call that a VHStranger, Ben?! I mean, you know I would! Either way, he’s right, Tapeheads! Be sure to groove on over to Hamilton’s Trash Cinema on Facebook and give ‘em some love for a steady flow of analog excellence that’s sure to tantalize your Tapehead wants and desires! And if you’re in the Ontario area, groove your caboose on out to their upcoming screening of the absolutely insane SOV essential Splatter Farm, snack some snacks, munch that pizza, try not to puke it up and get your brain melted alongside your fellow Videovores! I’ll eat a bucket of scorpions if that ain’t what bein’ a Tapehead is all about!