Category_Cartoons, Category_Collecting, Category_Comics, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_Horror, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

Phantom Pain Films brings some Video Vindication with the Cinema Wasteland Exclusive VHS Edition of DEVIL TIMES FIVE!

You know what I love about the modern Videovore? THEY DO STUFF. By this, I mean they take their analog passion and use it to create something killer to share with those of the same ilk, all the while supporting the DIY spirit and championing their (our) favorite format. All of the new VHS labels you see popping up every week, nine times outta ten, it’s the result of a rabid tapehead deciding to take the initiative and put out a tape or five. A prime example of this video vindication is the following interview with LUNCHMEAT contributor and PHANTOM PAIN FILMS creator Matthew Dilts-Williams, the latest Videovore entrepreneur in this invasion of re-animators… And away we go!

Matt with his mega-bitchin tattoo from the animated cult-classic in his clutches: DINOSAURS! YES!

How and when did PPF get started? MDW: Phantom Pain Films is a production/distribution company I've been building in my head for a couple years and at the end of 2012 I finally decided to pull the trigger and start the damn thing.

PPF's logo makes it personal.

Can you tell us a little about the first release? How many are you doing? Any extra goodies? This April at Cinema Wasteland PPF will have for sale its debut release: a special edition of Devil Times Five (1974) limited to 50 hand numbered VHS copies. This release comes in a black clamshell case on a "Devil-Red" VHS and features full color printed artwork. It will include a character card showcasing each of the five murderous little devils from the film.

The question burns... What IS the Devil Times Five? Only this film holds the answer... or if you have a super-tech-ass calculator. Which I don't...

That artwork is all brand new, right? Who brought it to grinning life? When I was getting the release put together I knew I wanted original box art and I wanted it illustrated. I've got nothing against Photoshop or labels that use it but so much VHS art from back in the day featured gorgeous and lurid illustrated covers. I wanted to capture that look and feel. Here in Cleveland we have an awesome horror comic series The Lake Eerie Monster, and I was able to get its creators Jake Kelly and John G to do my box art. The cover art was illustrated by Jake and the box layout was created by John G and myself. Copies of issue 4 of The Lake Eerie Monster comic will also be for sale at my table.

Dig that old-school comic goodness, man. I wanna hang out with this monster.

Why go for the VHS format? What about it is so attractive to you? It’s not a unique reason but plain and simple it’s my nostalgia for the video rental store. When I was a child my Dad worked at one and when I was a teen I worked at one. Flipping through posters or box art on Netflix or Redbox is nowhere near as exciting as walking through crowded shelves at a video store and having a piece of box art catch your eye, and what box art can make more of an impression than that of a horror movie? I've never seen Troll but the image of the troll holding the striped ball on the cover burned itself into my then 4-year-old brain and has been with me ever since. I'd like Phantom Pain Films' VHS releases to have box art that leaves that kind of impression but for films that deserve that kind of recognition either as guilty pleasures or undiscovered gems.

Dude, Matt, you GOTTA see this bad boy. Sonny Bono, man... SONNY BONO. Cover image from the groovy site VHSWasteland!!

What do you think about all of the VHS re-animation that's been going on? I'm for new and cool VHS releases… I'm just worried we're reaching a saturation point. Not every film is best served by the format. I'm confused why a new film shot in HD would be released on VHS instead of DVD and Blu-Ray. Give me more crazy genre fare on VHS but let’s keep it at least a couple decades old. As a collector yourself, what's your thought(s) on some tapes going for several hundred and in some cases over $1000? I'm genuinely amazed there are some tapes going for that much. I'll watch a movie any way I can get it as I've got Beta, VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray in my collection but, I haven't seen anything that was special enough to me to drop a few hundred dollars on. I just can't compete at that level… but I give props to the collectors who do. They're archiving a part of cinematic history that the majority have let just mold. It feels silly watching a VHS sell for as much if not more than a 35mm print, though. What's next for PPF? Where can we keep up with you? We are working on putting together our first in-house production as well as talking with a couple filmmakers to try and find more under-appreciated films for release in all formats. We love analog formats at Phantom Pain Films but we're not afraid of digital either. You can keep up with us at Thanks to Lunchmeat and Josh for helping keep VHS alive!

Awww, you’re much too kind, Matt! Thanks to Matt and the rest of the video re-animating armies out there for keeping the analog dream in focus! As Matt said, tune in to for what they’ve got in store… And you can also catch Matt in LUNCHMEAT # 7 detailing the history of one of the video era’s most excellent labels: Thriller Video! Keep feedin’ that VCR and Groove Always.

Interview by Josh Schafer

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