Category_Collecting, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_Horror, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

Severin Films Commits the Jim VanBebber Cult Classic THE MANSON FAMILY to Analog Glory! DIG IT.

Jim VanBebber is one hellacious filmmaker. He makes his films the way HE wants to make them, no compromises, and it’s earned him one hell of a reputation that resounds throughout the fringe film community. And now, Severin Films’ (and Intervison dude) David Gregory is bringing one of VanBebber’s most recognized works to the VHS format: THE MANSON FAMILY. Strictly limited to 100 pieces and presented in all of its gritty, grimy glory, it’s one new release VHS that’s sure to tickle the fancy of many a Videovore. Read on, and become part of the family, man…

Here's lookin' at you, Tapeheads.

LM: For those who aren't familiar with the film, can you give us a little background on it? How'd you come across it and decide to release it? It's had a DVD and Blu-Ray release through you prior to this, right? DG: THE MANSON FAMILY is Jim VanBebber’s brutal underground epic. A legendary Ohio production which spanned some 15 years of shooting and post because Jim refused to compromise the way he wanted to tell the story. And if you’ve seen any of his work you know that’s the way you want to see a Jim VanBebber film… the only way, actually. I met Jim at a horror film festival in England back in the early 90s at which he showed a promo reel for what was then called “Charlie’s Family” and I followed the progress of it thereafter. When I moved to LA I reconnected with Jim and me and my business partner in Severin (then Blue Underground, but not the US Blue Underground) agreed to pick up the baton and finish the film the way Jim wanted to. That took another 2-3 years for various reasons. It came out on DVD through Dark Sky Films but now we will be releasing a Blu-ray for the 10th anniversary edition. It will have some nice new extras including VanBebber’s first film since TMF, GATOR GREEN, a short about a redneck psycho who runs an alligator farm.

The brand spankin' new VHS re-issue. Charlie still don't surf, though.

What inspired you guys to put it on the VHS format? Have you done VHS previously? It’s the perfect title for a VHS release. Aside from being seen immaculately on Blu which, let’s face it, is the best way to see it, it deserves to be seen on VHS because the original aspect ratio is 1.33:1 and the film is rough with genuine film damage throughout and only existed for many years as a rough cut on nth generation VHS dubs. Seeing as it arrived a little too late to have a VHS release first time around we’re proud to give it a VHS bow this time. We previously did a few VHS releases on our Intervision imprint. I could be wrong but I think our VHS release of SLEDGEHAMMER was the first commercial retro-VHS release (HOUSE OF THE DEVIL was a promo item and I’m not sure of any others prior to that but please correct me if I’m wrong). Then we did THINGS and THE BURNING MOON all three of these limited runs in conjunction with Mondo in Austin. We’re only doing 100 of MANSON and a good number of those have already gone since we made it available through our facebook page last week. We’re saving the last few to sell though our webstore and at conventions.

Dig it, dig it, dig it. Intervision's got the analog attitude and they ain't quittin', either!

Are there any extras with the VHS release? A different cut of the flick? New artwork, or perhaps a "Charlie don't Surf" temporary tattoo?! The VHS has the new artwork designed by Stephen Romano. This will also be used for the Blu-ray but that’s not out until June.

A look at the new art... That Roger Ebert quote, man. Too good.

Are you a VHS collector yourself? If so, what are some of your favorite tapes? Any fond memories from the heyday of the video era? Renting, etc.? I used to adore collecting VHS in my teens. I have hundreds of tapes in my parents’ basement back in Europe. I grew up during the video nasty era in England so once all those films were banned or deleted I collected whatever I could. It definitely led to my obsession with everything from the obscure to the extreme in genre cinema which permeates through all the labels I’ve worked with over the years and formed the backbone of our company Severin Films. What are your thoughts on the whole VHS resurgence? Did you ever think you'd be releasing a VHS? I think it’s cool. As stated above I have a great nostalgia for this format. It’s the way I saw most of the films I loved growing up. And the pleasure of owning that big factory boxed original VHS tape is something that will always stay with me. Now having said that, when I first copped eyes on a DVD with it’s slim (relatively) case and immaculate picture quality I never looked back and have been involved in DVD production since 1999. However once we started releasing shot on VHS films on Intervision then it did make sense to pay homage to that bygone era. And while MANSON is a bona-fide, shot on celluloid work, its aesthetic definitely fits the VHS era mould. That era when the forbidden fruit of extreme horror looked grimy and produced by complete unknowns who wanted to shock the fuck out of you and leave you wondering what you just saw. Do you have any plans to issue any other Severin titles on tape? The Sinful Dwarf on video would be just too groovy.... You know? SINFUL DWARF would certainly fit that category. Maybe HOUSE ON STRAW HILL would too. It really has to be sleazy to warrant the VHS treatment. If people are interested then we’ll consider it.

Put me on VHS or I'll stick ya! I'LL STICK YA GOOD!! VHS!!

Anything else you'd like to share with the Videovores out there? Where can we keep up with you? Keep up with us through or on our facebook page, where we regularly update on all things Severin and Intervision. We have titles like HOUSE ON STRAW HILL, HOUSE OF SEVEN CORPSES, THIRST, DEAD KIDS and many others in the pipeline.

That's what I like to hear, David! Bring on the video vindication and don't stop! Thanks to David for taking time out to do the interview, and be sure to stay tuned to Severin and Intervision for all their analog adventure re-issues. Groove On, and On and On.

Josh Schafer

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