Category_Collecting, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

The Uneasy Archive employs VHS to preserve the perverse!

Perhaps the most essential purpose of publishing Lunchmeat and all the groovy goodies here on Spare Parts is to preserve the obscure and esoteric in cult film culture for those that care to discover, rediscover, enjoy and love it. There has been a terrific resurgence of VHS releases from amazingly awesome entities such as Massacre Video, Horror Boobs Video, Wild Eye Releasing and now even Troma Entertainment all of which have a decided focus on fringe cinema. But what about beyond the fringe? That’s right: I’m talking porno. Think of all the extreme sexploitation flicks out there from just the 70s alone. A vast majority of these flicks will never make it DVD. Hell, an astounding lot of them never even made it VHS. The transient life of these flicks was spent in smut theaters as double and triple-features, and then promptly buried in cinematic oblivion. Enter THE UNEASY ARCHIVE: a nascent VHS releasing label with a focus on the sextacular side of sinema. UA has released two films thus far in extremely limited quantities, both of which were instantly gobbled up by eager videovores and lusted for by those who couldn’t get their hands on one. Why? Because these films are rare – extremely rare. And these films are indeed an integral part of cinematic history, no matter which taboos or stigmas may be attached to them. THE UNEASY ARCHIVE is bringing these flicks back to life for a niche body of appreciative collectors, and that’s pretty groovy. Owners and operators Mr.Uneasy and Christopher took time away from drilling their eyes into their ample amount of fleshcapades to give us the dirty lowdown on their preservation of the perverse…

The awesomely unsettling logo.

LM: What was the inspiration to start UNEASY ARCHIVE? Why go for porn and smut? UNEASY: Currently, with the VHS revival, there are only a handful of releases, either dealing with new(er) films or reissues of straight to video garbage from the '80's. After discussions with Christopher, we decided there was a market for less tame fare, especially in a limited nature. Aficionados of vintage "uncomfortable" hardcore as well as other like-minded films exist in the VHS community, so it seemed a natural choice. CHRISTOPHER: A big part of it for me was finding out about all of these movies that never ended up seeing VHS releases. A lot of it got its run in the old smut theaters in New York and then just disappeared or got bootlegged after that. I figured that if I wanted to own these things then most of my nerdy friends would, too. So I approached Mr. Uneasy about it, and it all just fell into place. Who's the crew over at UA? Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves? UNEASY: It's just Christopher and I. We look to one another for input and suggestions, and occasionally outside help on sources. The basic idea was his, and I take care of execution. His knowledge about this genre is better than most, and with my years of film collecting, I can fill in the blanks. CHRISTOPHER: Yeah. It’s just us. I think the way that we work doesn’t really leave much room for anyone else to be a part of it. He’s the phantom Confederate ghost and I’m Max California.

Mr. Uneasy making us feel... well... uneasy.

How do you select your content? Where do you find this stuff ? UNEASY: After an initial brainstorming session, we decided to choose films of different styles, and varying degrees of uncomfortableness. Groups and lists found on the internet dealing with this subject matter helped populate our list of films, but we are always on the lookout for titles we may have missed. All are not hardcore porn, and not all are even sexual, although largely centered around that. We're attempting to run the gamut of what 'uneasy' can be.

Christopher havin' some fun with his "friends". What? What'd ya say?!

Can you describe the production process of your releases? The packaging for your releases? UNEASY: After locating a good source, or sources for a film, a master is generated on DVD with additional content such as trailers and an intro, etc. The tapes are then duped in real-time on actual VCRs. Some people get wrapped up in acquiring massive amounts of equipment for a fledgling hobby, when the market is still largely untested. I have a source for new packaging product and materials at a good price, hence our low price point. In a market that consistently has overpriced, overproduced tapes, we seek to be reasonably priced and under-produced. The infrequency of new VHS releases also influenced our monthly schedule. I spend a lot of time perfecting the artwork. I'm very particular about how I want things to look, and I'm not done until I'm completely happy with the aesthetics of the whole package. As a VHS collector myself, I want my final product to be something that I would be willing to spend my own money on...

UA's releases to date. Actually, HOT SUMMER IN THE CITY isn't even out yet.... Looks killer!!

WET WILDERNESS sent waves through the collector community and it sold out almost instantly. Were you at all surprised about how well it did? UNEASY: WW was a test, we had no idea how well it would do. Based on the response, we decided that we needed to give some thought to additional films. CHRISTOPHER: I had my doubts about how successful it would be up until I got to the VHS convention. Wet Wilderness was rarely spoken about among the collectors in the Facebook group beforehand, so it was either going to be hit or miss. I didn't even get my table set up before more than half of them were gone. There was a lot of debate between us about whether or not we should continue doing releases or do online releases at all, but ultimately we decided that we should keep up what we started, and so far it seems to be going swell.

The way groovy spines for UA's releases. Dig that retro sexiness.

Do you plan on doing anything super-groovy with any of your releases? Like, UA condoms or maybe some UA lube? UNEASY: Probably nothing to that extent. Every release henceforth will come with the 1" pins featuring the film's poster or cover art, and the UA logo in the color scheme of that particular release. We are, after all, only doing 24 copies of each film - it's not viable to do many freebies, although we'd like to throw something different in now and again... CHRISTOPHER: Would you actually use Uneasy condoms or Rape lube? (ED. NOTE: No; but it would be a great conversation piece.) You're an ardent VHS collector yourself, Chris. How long have you been collecting? What initiated you into the obsession? CHRISTOPHER: I've had tapes as long as I can remember, man. There was an Endless Video down the street from my house growing up and VCR's are great babysitters. When Blockbuster bought them out, they had a blowout sale and my father pretty much clean swept the place. That was what built it all up, when I moved away I kind of just split and didn't bring anything at all, so I've had to rebuild my collections several times. I didn't become a die hard collector until I moved back to Boston and found myself with time to kill. There was a point where I was couch surfing for a four or five month period and all I had was a duffel bag full of clothes and toiletries and an air conditioner box full of tapes. Before that I lived pretty far from civilization and didn't have Internet or cable, so to make up for not being able to see movies, I spent all day scouring IMDB and Wikipedia for obscure films on my cellphone. I made a list of movies that I needed to own and since then I've just been crossing things off. Back then I didn't realize it was going to be so time and money consuming, but it's totally worth it. What kind of stuff do you usually go for? Do you have an affinity for the lewd and lascivious especially? CHRISTOPHER: Everyone that knows me knows that I go out of my way to scour for rape/revenge films. It all started with I Spit On Your Grave and Last House On The Left and I guess ever since then I've been looking for rougher and rougher things. Not until a few months ago did it blossom into pornography and I blame Wet Wilderness for that. I don't really care about all of the Wizards and Astrals and Thrillers; I just want to own every rape film and offbeat sex film that's ever existed.

I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE... The Gateway Flick.

Christopher, you mentioned this BBC Documentary called The Dark Side of Porn. Can you tell us a little about that? CHRISTOPHER: Oh yeah, I was reading up on Femmes De Sade when we first decided on giving it the Uneasy treatment and in a review someone compared it to Shinkichi Tajiri's A Summerday. They were pretty vague about it, so I decided to find a digital copy of the film. I should've read more about it before watching it because it was nothing like Femmes De Sade and now I know what a pig's cock looks like. But anyway, after seeing A Summerday I needed to find more information about it because I was awestruck and that lead me to a BBC documentary series The Dark Side of Porn that had an episode about a film called Animal Farm and all of my questions about A Summerday were answered. The show itself is like a British Behind The Music for porn. I ended up obtaining the entire series and spending a few days nerding out over it. It's pretty cool because it goes into how VHS blew up in England and the whole Video Nasty thing; it shows old footage of the police raiding places and confiscating tapes and also interviews a lot of the major players of the time. Check it out.

A title shot from the BBC documentary that will blow your mind.

We talked about THE DEFILERS before. I love that film. I think it was one of the first real roughies. What are some roughies that have really impressed you in your research? CHRISTOPHER: It’s debatable, but I would agree that The Defilers was one of the first real roughies. It’s a great film, but compared to the films that followed in it’s footsteps, it’s soft core. Without really giving anything away and ruining the surprise of upcoming releases, I guess some things that have blown me away have been a lot of the Avon films. Although I wouldn’t really consider them roughies as much as brutal porn, they still have their place in there and I’m still astounded that they’re as raw as they are. Honestly, I’m still impressed with Femmes DeSade, and I’ve seen it a dozen times now. If you took out all of the sex scenes it would still be a great film, and that’s what really gets me. Do you think the burgeoning interest in VHS is one of the reasons you wanted to fire up UE? What do you think of the VHS collector culture as you've been exposed to it? CHRISTOPHER: I don't think it was entirely about VHS as much as it was about how I thought people deserved to see and own a lot of these movies that got very limited video release to no release at all. It just made sense for them to go on tapes because they're such a big part of our lives. That's why I get bummed out when I hear that people don't crack the clams open and watch them. They're not paperweights. There's a lot that goes into the tapes themselves. I think the collector culture has its upsides and downsides. If it wasn't for networking and the Internet we wouldn't be able to see or find out about things that other collectors have found. So there's the potential to miss out on things that we could need for our own collections. But, with any group of people there's going to be assholes and that turns it into a biggest cock contest.

Are you watching their tapes, or are they watching YOU?! Just kidding. You watch them.

ED NOTE: A huge thanks to Mr. Uneasy and Christopher for doing the interview, and for taking some of the most obscure and esoteric cinema and breathing new life into it. Groove on, dudes.

Clickity-click right meh to visit The Uneasy Archive and get decadent.

Josh Schafer

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