Category_Collecting, Category_Groovy Stuff, Category_Horror, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

Videovore Chris Nichols and The Trash Pile Prepare to Re-Animate and Unleash the Regional SOV Ghost Flick THE MURDER OF SGT. MACKLIN on Limited Edition Fresh VHS!

Handed down straight from his Dad, a childhood connection with golden age sci-fi tapes served as the germ of analog obsession for voracious Videovore Chris Nichols. His fascination with radical slabs of black plastic caused him to eventually create an array of mediums for movie celebration from a bodacious blog to a persistent podcast to a small army of totally amazing unofficial (and extended) editions of flicks done up DIY style on almighty VHS. And now, Chris and The Trash Pile banner are all VHSet to officially re-animate an ultra-obscure regionally made shot-on-video slab of low-budget bliss with the Colorado-created ghost flick The Murder of Sgt. Macklin. Read on, my fellow Videovores, grab some VHSnacks and get ready to rummage through a never-ending pile of trashy treasure abounding with analog entertainment artifacts…


The Trash Pile Logo. I've never plated Cee-lo in a trash can, but whatever works, mang. Dig it.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative history. The Trash Pile originally started as a podcast / blog, right? It actually started as just a blog back in 2010. I have always liked to dabble in creative outlets. I played in bands around the Boston area for almost a decade, but once my time in those acts came to an end around 2009 or so I needed to do something else to get my creative juices flowing. Long story short, after a failed attempt to make my first film, “Thrash to the Future”, I started to share my spin on some good, some bad and some truly awful films through The Trash Pile blog. From there I wanted to branch further out, and my podcast partner Jason and I did a vidcast for about 8 months until some drastic changes in my life pretty much halted everything. I still wrote for the blog, but very sporadically. I was suffering from a bout of depression for awhile, and it had taken a toll on my creativity. After a few months of getting my gears back in motion I got Jason, grabbed my cell phone and started recording the first episode of the podcast last year. We try to do it weekly, but Jason lives in another state and neither of us are really big fans of doing the show when he calls in. We try to keep the vibe of two best friends watching shitty movies because we’re nothing more than that. Now we’re recording on much better equipment thanks to the dudes at Nemesis Video, so I’m hoping those who have listened since the beginning have noticed a quality change.


The all-new and shiny set-up for The Trash Pile podcast. DIY or DIE, dude.

You’ve since done a number of unofficial analog editions in league with Take a Shit or Get Off the Toilet Video. Can you tell us a little about that transition, and the rewind results? Well, unofficial releases of films have been an important aspect of my movie watching, um, I guess we’ll call it a career, since I was 8. So, as a movie fan I as well as you know that there are tons of films that have never received distribution here in the US of A. Sure, you can order a PAL VHS or DVD from overseas, but you’ll need the proper equipment to see it. I’ve never understood that. I just want to watch movies, and I’m pretty sure that’s the mindset of most. The first title I wanted to release was Steve Barkett’s Aftermath as it’s one of my favorite post-apocalyptic movies, but the particular version I wanted to highlight was that from the long out-of-print laserdisc, which was the only way to see The Director’s Cut. I had seen the awesomely eye-catching covers that Vince has done for Take a Shit or Get Off the Toilet Video, and they were exactly the vibe I loved. So I just went about asking if that’d be something Vince would be interested in doing, and thankfully for me he not only did the art, but he slayed it. I was also able to do a small cassette release with the awesome OST, which was another one Vince did the art for, and killed it. Aftermath was well received by those who purchased it which was really awesome. Prior to the release Vince and I already had our next unofficial release lined up, the foreign edit of The Lamp AKA The Outing. Now, the difference between the two edits is only a few minutes, but the intro on The Lamp builds more of a legend feel to the story, rather than the no-nonsense teen Slasher that Americans know as The Outing. I had gotten a copy of The Lamp years ago at a comic convention in downtown Boston, and had seen that version of the film before I knew about The Outing. So, since I loved that version so much more than the American edit, I felt doing that was a no-brainer. So Vince again knocked the artwork out of the park with his rendition of the Thai one-sheet for the film. For the third release between Take a Shit or Get Off the Toilet Video and The Trash Pile, I wanted to do something a little bigger. So, I had always wanted to see the Italian Jaws rip-offs Killer Crocodile and Killer Crocodile 2, which had never seen the light of day here in the states due to the film initially receiving an “X” rating by the MPAA. Which, if you look at the history of films given that rating by the MPAA, the Killer Crocodile films are the most ludicrous of the bunch. So, I wanted to give those who love giant animal and alligator/crocodile films like me a chance to see these two ridiculously fun movies for the first time after 24 years. For this one I recycled green clamshells, and green VHS tapes from VeggieTales that I found while thrift hunting. I like to turn those movies that are left in the stores into something people will actually like to watch.


A look at the Unofficial Limited Edition VHS release of THE AFTERMATH from The Trash Pile and TASoGotT Video. Damn, that's VHSmooth.

You’re gearing up to unleash your first independent Trash Pile release with an obscure regional shot-on-video flick called The Murder of Sgt. Macklin. Can you tell us a little bit about how you found it, why you wanted to re-animate it, and the process of bringing it back? So, like many of your readers, Josh, I too hunt for VHS and other movie collectibles out in the wilds of New England. While trolling Craigslist back in April looking for any yard sales, flea markets, etc., I found a church book sale in Southern New Hampshire. Now unless I have a lead on a good pick I never have expectations when going on the hunt. So after grabbing a few sealed T-120’s and a few other random movies to watch I see this odd movie with this really creepy visage of this old dude. It was enough to pique my curiosity, so I read the back and it sounded like a fun ghost story type deal. After spending 15 minutes and $8 I drove the back home not really sure of what this movie was. After watching the film for the first time it was a little surreal, and an offbeat entertaining shot-on-video ghost story in the vein of Richard Matheson’s A Stir of Echoes. I had seen far worse major studio productions that I wanted to leave the theater 10-minutes in, but The Murder of Sgt. Macklin was a movie that captured my attention from beginning to end. So I started to figure out where the hell this movie had been for the last 22 years. I tried searching for any mention on your typical search engines, but I had only gotten mentions of a play that was run once in the late 90’s, and some guy asking the dudes from RiffTrax to do audio for The Murder of Sgt. Macklin. Naturally they did not reply, so I was left looking at the contact info at the bottom of the artwork. Stage 1 Productions had transitioned into a Realtor as Director/Writer/Producer Bob DuBois had only made this one film. I sent an email to Bob and luckily enough he not only replied, but was ecstatic that I enjoyed the film. I started learning more about the production, and when the film was distributed. The only part of my journey in helping Macklin find a new audience that remains unsolved is how a film independently made and distributed in Colorado made its way to Southern New Hampshire. I guess it’s better that part stay unknown; makes for a better story.


A look at the fully assembled Limited Edition VHS for THE MURDER OF SGT. MACKLIN! Ready to roll into your VCR later this month!

When will it be ready? What are the specs on the release? Production on Macklin is finished, artwork cut and printed so now it’s just until I set the release, which I guess I’ll arbitrarily say is sometime in the last week of June. The film is being put on brand new Fuji T-120 in SP, and we’re using 90% of the original art by Rory A. Gillepsie, and photos by Louis Young. Presenting the film to new audiences in basically the same way I found it is my ultimate goal for when it’s popped in the VCR for new viewers. There will be 30 units total, and they’ll run $13. If the demand is there for a second run I’m all for it! I’d love for this film to reach as many new fans as possible!


The full artwork for the upcoming release of THE MURDER OF SGT. MACKLIN from The Trash Pile. Analog era authentic, mang!

Why do you want to put these flicks on tape? What is it about the format that really does it for you, mang? I can’t remember a time when VHS and VCRs weren’t in my life. I started collecting movie collectibles and VHS after my father gave me King Kong vs. Godzilla for a successful first day of kindergarten back in ’91. I fell in love with not only the King of the Monsters, but how you can FUCKING WATCH A MOVIE AT HOME! My 6-year old brain was awash with the thought of seeing more movies like this one, which led to my father showing me the films of his youth: Them, Creature from the Black Lagoon, It Came from Beneath the Sea, and more films from the big-bug and golden age of horror and sci-fi films. VHS holds a dear, dear place in my heart. Of course there will always be the option for digital films, but to me movies are movies. I don’t care what format they’re on; I’ll watch ‘em. It just so happens for me that VHS was here first, so it’ll be my go-to option, regardless of what fancy new format is being hustled.


The Unofficial Limited Edition VHS for THE LAMP from The Trash Pile and Take A Shit or... Video! VHSexy, indeed, Tapeheads!

What are some of your Videovore habits? I know you have an acute affinity for Charter Entertainment tapes. Why the predilection, and what are some of your favorites in the line? What are some titles you still need so the Tapeheads reading this analog-inclined slice of internet can maybe help you out!? Oh, man, I started collecting Charter tapes about 3 years ago? I had a copy of Brian-Trenchard Smith’s The Quest since my dad showed it to me as a kid, but then I came across the bat-shit crazy Never Too Young to Die with John Stamos and Gene Simmons. Then after that the Australian giant-Croc film Dark Age, then The Manitou, and then Bridge to Nowhere. I just started noticing that every Charter I watched I really enjoyed, so I just started to pick up any one I saw. I’m up to 94 now, and have catalogued up to 132 on the blog. Some of the ones that have eluded me, even from being cataloged are The Swimming Pool, and The Photographer. They both have been listed on Amazon, but I don’t know the catalog number. Some others I’m eyeing that I haven’t seen often are The Sporting Club, Strangers in the City, Walk into Hell, and J.C. Other things I’m collecting are the Universal Silver Monster tapes, which I’m pretty close to being complete on. Then there’s my Godzilla collection, but you may as well call me Bastian because that collection is one Neverending Story.


Das alotta Charter tapes, mang! This is radical label obsession at its finest.

What’s next for you, mang? More tapes after Macklin drops? More radical unofficial limited editions? At the same time as Macklin drops at the end of the month I’ll be doing a few other small batch of releases including the 10th-Anniversary Collection of my old band, Shit Fuck. We were a silly Boston-based thrash/punk… thing. I’ll also have two more tapes coming out with Take a Shit or Get Off the Toilet Video, including a new double feature.


Some of Chris' old-school thrash / punk shit is about to fuck your shit up! ON VHS, OF COURSE!

I know you snack hard. What’re your munchie(s) of choice when ingesting those trusty slabs of magnetic magic? Dude, lately I’ve been really digging Kettle flavored Popcorners. They’re so insanely good I’m surprised one of the ingredients isn’t crack, and they’re also not terrible for you. Besides that I’ve been on a real Hawaiian pizza kick, but with bacon, ham and pineapple as opposed to just ham and pineapple. I’m sure it’s different regionally, but that’s been my recent favorite pizza order. Also, sushi. Dig those groovy flavors, mang! Anything else you wanna shout out to all the Videovores here in Lunchmeat Land?! I’m pretty sure I’ve bored your readers, but I just want to say if you have around 45 minutes to kill check out The Trash Pile podcast on iTunes and PodBean, as well as our blog. Keep an eye to our Facebook page for when The Murder of Sgt. Macklin will be available for purchase. And to anyone who has purchased a tape from me in the past: Thank You!

Thank YOU, Chris, for VHSpreading the analog gospel and resurrecting a most obscure slice of shot-on-video history! Be sure to groove on over to the Official Trash Pile Facebook to stay updated on this radical re-animation of The Murder of Sgt. Macklin, other upcoming VHS editions and all kinds of analog-obsessed movie-lovin’ musings, mang! Oh, and one other thing: I’m thinking putting a couple of those kettle popcorn chips on top of that Hawaiian pizza just might make one most excellent crunchy munchie. Might as well throw on some sushi on thurr, too, 'cause WHY THE FUCK NOT?!?! Food for thought here in Lunchmeat Land!

Groove and Groove and Fine-Tune Your Junkfood, Dude!

Josh Schafer

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