For those who are already initiated and active in the ever-expanding Videovore community, chances are you’re familiar with Matt Desiderio AKA Matt D. AKA Katrina AKA Mattrina of Horror Boobs fame. And if you’re not, you probably should be. Matt’s a guy that’s been actively gathering slabs of analog amazement for a good spell longer than most us tapeheads, diggin’ through dust-ridden porno shops and raiding fading video liquidators raking in gobs of analog glory. And over the past few years, he’s spearheaded countless video vindication, celebration and appreciation events, made amazing analog era oriented art and crafted some of the most bitchin’ VHS packages yet to be stitched into the growing map of new VHS flesh. Simply put, Matt’s one of the biggest driving forces in the current cavalcade of VHS resurgence, championing the format every single chance he gets. VHS is his life. And you know what? Life is good. Read on, my fellow Videovores, and read some good ‘ol jaw flappin’ from one of the most amazing analog revivalists the anti-digital world may ever see…
One of the many Horror Boobs logos runnin’ around out there, from the hand of Matt D! This design speaks to me. It says, “BWWAHHLLLARRGGGGHHHHHVHSRULES!”
Can you give us a little bit of info on your artistic / creative background?
I feel like my entire life I have been expressing myself through creative mediums. As a child I drew non-stop; my Mom even had me pulled from the band in the 6th grade so I could be in the art programme [sic]. Which is funny cause by the time I was in High School I had started my own band and was playing bars with other 14 year old oddballs. I think I started the only Hard Core Harry Nilsson cover band. My output was always a little weird and maybe even perverted. I had a comic strip that was passed around the lunchroom called Fuck Gordon about a superhero that thought he could solve every problem by fucking it. He fucked the bad guys, he fucked his sidekick, he even fucked little old ladies while helping them cross the street… so it was Art School for me! Believe it or not they embrace that kind of behavior, when you are paying for it! I somehow even ended up with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in Illustration.
I still played in bands and I worked at a sleazy video store on 8th Ave, kinda like the ones in that movie NIGHTMARE. Unfortunately, the internet killed the Mom and Pop porn shops and I had to go out and find a real job. So, I landed a gig at Forbidden Planet: the world’s first all encompassing nerd store. Where else could a weirdo like me with a background in watching horror movies and drawing perverted comics thrive? And that’s what I’ve done for a living for the last 7 years or so… while still playing in bands.
Matt D., Katrina and “friend”. TNG 5EVA.
How did Horror Boobs get started? What was the impetus to put it all together?
I would host a movie night in my living room with one of my oldest friends in the world Chi who is also a big VHS collector and he started calling it “Horror Boobs Night” or something like that. We would invite people over and blow their minds with things like BLOOD DINER, PSYCHOS IN LOVE and MICROWAVE MASSACRE. Then my better half and much more internet savvy girlfriend Katrina started the Horror Boobs website blog thingy where we started posting naked pictures of our favorite scream queens and nude scenes. Since I didn’t even really know what a blog was at that point and still wanted to contribute beyond standing over her shoulder, I decided to start making VHS compilations of my favorite nude scenes and gave them to Scream Queens when I met them. Linnea Quigley took one with a smile (get your mind out of the gutter, Josh!) and told me she might have a VCR in a closet somewhere. It really all just started as a group of friends who would watch weird flicks, hunt for VHS and go to Horror Conventions together. We were more of a gang than a “Brand” at that point.
A look at the now out-of-print HORROR BOOBS Volume 2 mix-tape! JEFF! Empty the ashtray, man! Wait… don’t throw this away…
You’ve done a number of screenings and VHS events around NY as well as orchestrated a VHS retrospective at the Museum of Art and Design under the HB flag. Can you tell us a little bit about all of these bitchin’ happenings? Any particular presentations that stick out for you? You’re still actively screening, right?
A bunch of independent-minded theaters opened up in Brooklyn and I guess we were just in the right place at the right time. They were looking for content and we had more than we knew what to do with. So, we became a part of the Midnight screenings at Spectacle Theater, the parties at Nitehawk Cinema and the trailer shows at 92y Tribeca all with a focus on the VHS medium. The Nitehawk stuff was always out of control… we did an all new 6 hour show each month for 9 months straight. Each with its own theme, e.g. Heavy Metal, Zombies, Deep Sea, Christmas, etc. We cut together trailer compilations, clip shows, a game show and showed a feature each time. For a show called VHS Possessed I dressed as a priest and performed a live Exorcism on a possessed VCR that kept showing dancing grannies during what was supposed to be a sexy satanic clip compilation. That ended with me smashing it to bits and swinging it around by the power cord. The game shows were always real funny… things like Name That Boob, Horror Boob Squares and The Wheel of Fornication were big hits.
Honestly, I really don’t know how the Museum of Art and Design found me but they asked me to help curate a 3 month long VHS retrospective that included film screenings, Workout Video Workshops, and the instillation of a functioning video store! Somehow by knowing what movies Michelle Bauer takes her underoos off in makes me some kind of expert on VHS and I’m guessing this government funded museum used Google to figure that out. In all seriousness though, I was beyond happy to be able to have my own show at a museum known for respectfully recognizing the fringes of the art world… putting that degree to good use!
I also got to invite all my buddies to introduce movies and expose the world to TALES FROM THE QUADEAD ZONE when the New York Times covered the event. At the moment we don’t have any upcoming screenings but I’m always waiting by my phone for the next sucker to call… did I say sucker? I meant respected venue.
The flyer for just one of the many, many screenings perpetrated by the Horror Boobs crew! HBV also put this flick on VHS. DIG IT.
A while back, you started up Blood Video: an indie print supplement to the awesomeness of Horror Boobs. How many issues have you done, what’s inside and are there more in store?
Blood Video is a self published zine that I curate and Katrina edits with a focus on Cult Cinema and VHS Culture. I saw these awesome independent produced cinema rags like Lunchmeat Magazine and I Love Bad Movies and thought to myself… well, if those idiots can do it so can I… I’m a much bigger idiot! But for reals, Lunchmeat and ILBM were major influences, it’s not like they invented it, but they’re doing it now and they’re doing it right. They’re fearless publications that laugh in the face of the death of physical media and turn their noses up to the disposable digital age.
Each issue of Blood Video is filled with articles, interviews and reviews on topics, films and people the average cinema fan are probably unfamiliar with, written and conducted by people you probably never heard of… but they’re all very passionate about these “forgotten” films and it makes me happy to give people a platform to talk about the things they love. Where else are you gonna see an eight page interview with KILLING SPREE star Asbestos Felt conducted by independent filmmaker Victor Bonacore or an introductory article on the pleasures of Mexican Punk Films by a kid who doesn’t even speak Spanish or better yet even more of Josh Schafer’s bullshit in-between issues of Lunchmeat!
The cover for BLOOD VIDEO # 2. ROBOT NINJA gonna wreck yo shit!
You’ve really turned up the rate and caliber on the VHS releases from the HBV brand, moving from the super-rad home grown mix tapes to licensing awesome stuff like MOLD!, I SPILL YOUR GUTS, and DRILLER and committing them to tape. Can you tell us a little about those latter productions, the process and how you came up with all the groovy extras, etc.?
MOLD! is the brainchild of Neil Meschino: a good friend of mine from back in those college days. We used to cut class to dig through boxes of VHS at the legendary close-out store Liquidators where we would literally fight over copies of MONSTER SQUAD and TEEN WOLF. So when MOLD! was finally finished I approached him with the idea of releasing it on VHS and figured he would get it since the genesis of our friendship was based on tapes. That was the birth of Horror Boobs Video… a few other companies had put some tapes out by then but they were all just a tape so I figured why not give people the extra incentive and package it with a 7 inch record of the theme song and an Anti-Mold mask. I figured if you are into VHS you will probably be into vinyl as well… I know I am.
DRILLER is one of those must be seen to be believed type of flicks that my good friend Rob from Wild Eye Releasing licensed from the producer Tim Beckly. Rob helped coordinate the VHS parties at Nighthawk Cinema and another instant bond was had. He really “gets it”… he loves the movies but he really loves the fringe stuff, the workout videos, the self-help tapes, the stuff you really can only find on those little magnetic strips. DRILLER was a lost gem until he res-Erected it… it’s a porno. Get it!? It’s a porno parody of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” starring Jami Gillis and Taja Rae with original songs, dance numbers, and a full werewolf transformation sequence. We came up with a super-deluxe package that comes with buttons, stickers, a Driller condom, the soundtrack on cassette tape and a Tim Beckly signed poster of the original Devon Whitehead cover art that we commissioned specifically for this release. I’m not really a porno guy… I had my fill of that stuff back when I worked at the video store, and Horror Boobs Video is not an X-Rated company, but DRILLER is so much more than just a jack-off flick. It’s a lost classic that’s pop-culturally significant, and needs to be seen by the public! It was released within a year of the original MJ “Thriller” video, and that takes some serious werewolf balls!
The FULL PACKAGE for the DRILLER Super-Deluxe VHS version! This bad boy is still available righttt hurrrr, man. NOISH.
You’ve also ventured into writing, production and direction alongside The Teenage Videovore Johnny Dickie (and a bunch of other random weirdoes) creating wrap around segments for public domain titles, which you’ve then put out on tape e.g. THE SEVERED ARM RE-AMPUTATED, and most recently VAMPIRES AND OTHER STEREOTYPES. VaoS isn’t public domain, but a licensed film, right? Any more stuff like this in queue for the future?
Johnny is the future of VHS. When I first started to talk to him I was floored by his knowledge, as well as his ability to carry intelligent conversations. I meet people triple his age on a daily basis that have less than ⅓ the passion and wit he does. Most people do nothing and here is a kid who has accomplished more in his teens than most do in a lifetime.
In the last year or so, I noticed a lot of new VHS companies starting to pop up with the same formula of “tape with bonus tchotchkes” so we needed to do something new to set us apart from the rest and so original content seemed to be the way to go. Johnny had already been considered a part of the HB family so he was the obvious choice to bring in on these projects. I’m a huge fan of Elvira, MST3K, Zacherley, Joe Bob Briggs and the whole idea of hosting movies, but even then I said let’s try something original. So I came up with the idea to make a short parody of the film that wrapped around and even broke into the feature, added you (Josh Schafer) to the mix who really helped with the Forry Ackerman style one-liners and that is pretty much the genesis of THE SEVERED ARM RE-AMPUTATED.
Unlike the public domain THE SEVERED ARM, yes, our newest release VAMPIRES AND OTHER STEREOTYPES is a fully licensed film that we were able to obtain the rights to through our good friends at Wild Eye Releasing once again! It’s an underrated S.O.V. masterpiece that really is a cut above a lot of the back yard “hey, I can make a movie” bullshit that came out in the 90’s. It’s got a wild story and there are tons of real effects, e.g. guttings, monsters, severed hands with mouths, giant rats, walls of talking decapitated demon heads, etc. Johnny once said “blood splatters are not a special effect” and by that logic VaOS is the JURASSIC PARK of S.O.V. sleaze. So, this time Johnny and I enlisted the help of Horror VHS Collectors Unite and Severed Cinema founder Earl Kess, and CLAMPIRES AND OTHER STEREOTAPES was born. I like bringing people from the VHS community in on these shorts because, hey, if you collect VHS chances are you know these guys and it gives them a chance to show what they got. Don’t worry, guys… VaOS still comes with a lot of knick-knacks. We threw in a pair of nicely packaged Glow-In-The-Dark Vampire Teeth, a set of Blood Capsules and full-color instructions on how to make your own Clampire designed by Earl Kess. Now you can re-enact the movie while you watch it!
An avalanche of analog awesome, indeed! VAMPIRES AND OTHER STEREOTYPES is still available RIGHT HERE, mang. YES.
As if all of this stuff wasn’t groovy enough, you’ve also started creating spoof artwork for some of the more coveted VHS titles out there and are now selling prints on your site. Can you tell us where this idea came from, the reaction and if you have any others planned?
I started making them because I wanted to have some fun with friends of mine in the collector community, so I made a fake version of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE for Chris of King of the Witches ‘cause he has one of the most complete ISOYG collections I have ever seen and wanted to act like I had one he didn’t. Then I did a Midnight Video “The Clam With 2 Heads” for Jesse Rice of Briarwood Entertainment because he was freaking out one day about how there must be a clamshell release of that movie cause there are clams for the first 3 Midnights, so there must be a clam for the 4th! I think Louis Justin (Massacre Video) put the idea in his head to mess with him.
I change a lot of the copy and make the images look a little goofy so it’s kinda like a Mad Magazine take on classic VHS. I started posting them on the HVHSCU Facebook group and I was blown away when people started contacting me to do commissions like ZOMBIE and SCREAMS OF A WINTER NIGHT. I’m really stoked that people like them and it has gotten me back into hand drawing stuff which I haven’t done in quite awhile. So, you can contact me for an original of your idea or just pick up some of the prints from my site. They all come in clamshells just like a real VHS cover would. Right now I’m working on a BOARDING HOUSE for Nick Rohrbaugh, which is taking me a lot longer than I had hoped.
A full look at the totally amazing spoof art for INQUISITION. Damn it, this RULES.
You’re really active on the HORROR VHS COLLECTORS UNITE! (HVHSCU) board on FB. What has been your experience on the boards? Why do you think it’s so important to the community? Any downsides?
Honestly, I never used Facebook before I found the group… Heck, I didn’t even know what a Facebook group was before I googled Horror VHS one day, clicked on a link and saw a picture of some guy holding a copy of 555 wearing a 555 shirt, with a long thread of comments making fun of him! I thought, “Hey, I want a 555 shirt and I also wanna make fun of this guy!”… I didn’t have a Facebook account so I used Katrina’s which caused (and sometimes still causes) confusion, but hey I don’t want people from High School that I don’t give a flying hockey puck about knowing what I had for breakfast. I think the group is a great way for collectors to keep aBREAST of all the happenings in the community. I know when all the new releases are coming out because of it and it gives me another venue to advertise the Horror Boobs brand.
You can also learn a great deal about collecting in general by looking at all the crazy tapes people post, seeing how much people are willing to pay for these things and asking questions. For the most part, people are very welcoming but there’s always gonna be bad apples… it’s easy to ignore them and even easier to put them in their place… sometimes. I have made some really awesome friends on there (even including that 555 dude) and still continue to make friends on there every day… more than friends actually… more like family. I would do almost anything for these guys and I know they would, too. I mean, they’ve already helped me with things in my everyday life that goes way beyond VHS collecting.
Matt showin’ off some of his acting chops in Johnny Dickie’s CLAMPIRES AND OTHER STEREOTAPES. What a cool person.
You’ve been collecting tapes for a long time. What are your thoughts on all the recognition of culture that’s been happening? What do you think will come in the future?
I think it’s awesome that more people are appreciating the medium at the moment. I was lucky enough to get a lot of my collection for cheap or even free from Mom and Pop shops and stores like Liquidators and Entertainment Outlet, so if I have to pay a little more now because more people are after them, it kinda evens out. At least there are more people to connect with over this stuff now then there were 10 or even 4 years ago. Trends in collecting anything has high and low points. I’ve seen it happen with trading cards, comics, toys, even worms with spots on their head were once a hot commodity and even that’s going through a low point right now. Right now, we are in the biggest VHS collectors boom ever and I’m loving every minute of it… but in five years copies of SPINE might be as “cool” as Jim Lee’s X-Men #1.
What’s next, man?
I’m always working on stuff but I never know when they will come to fruition. I have more Horror Boobs Video releases lined up than I can handle including collaborations with Secret Lair, Apprehensive Films, VHShitFest, King of the Witches, some fly by night bootleg company called Lunchmeat and of course many more with Wild Eye Releasing! But, honestly, the project I’m most excited about is a feature film I’ve been working on with Johnny [Dickie]. We have come up with a VHS themed Horror-Comedy in the gushing vein of films like BLOOD FEAST, BLOODSUCKING PHARAOHS IN PITTSBURGH and PIECES entitled…. CUT BOX KILLER! We are shaping up the script as we speak and I think people will enjoy the fact that it will have a lot of fun nods to happenings in the current collector community like characters based on prominent members, including a dude who just so happens to print an independent VHS magazine… who obviously will die in a horrible way!
Anything else you’d like to shout out to all the Videovores out there?
I just wanna thank all the people who have supported Horror Boobs in the last few years… without you guys we would literally still just be sitting on the couch watching movies instead of getting out there and trying to make a positive difference in the scene. It doesn’t matter if you are into horror movies, cheesy action flicks, pornos where everyone is hairy, pregnant workout videos, or home movies of cats, there is a world of people out there who get it and want to talk about it and want to share their experiences with you as much as you want to with them. You really never know what you will come up with until you Google it. I love you, Dad.
I love you, too, Dad. Matt’s right, man: Horror VHS Collectors Unite! is absolutely indispensable for the contemporary VHS collector, and if you’re not on there already, get into it, amigo! It’s a forum loaded with knowledgeable tape peeps and provides a great way to score your new favorite slab o’ analog awesome and make a new VHS friend or five. And your trip around the world weird web certainly wouldn’t be complete without groping on over HorrorBoobs.com and The Official Horror Boobs Store to get a load of all the excellent analog wares courtesy of one of the grooviest VHS-loving brands there is. Your VCR will thank you.