LUNCHMEAT is the kind of publication that’s made for Videovores by Videovores. So, every once in a while, we like to kick back, crack a couple beverages, juice up some nacho platters and catch up with one of our kindred spirits in order to get an individual perspective of what’s going on in the seemingly ever-expanding, analog-obsessed subculture of VHS collecting and preservation. It’s a fun and informative way to see the kinds of groovy personalities which reside in our sub-culture, and also get a look at the hot topics that permeate the collector circuit. On the menu tonight we have a voracious Videovore by the name of Vincent AKA Monster A Go-Go as he spills his innards all about his early days as a tapehead, the diverse collector community and those pesky online prices. Read on, fellow adorers of analog, and hear the talk of tape!
Vincent October himself along with the mighty Udo Kier! Udo’s shirt….
When did you start collecting VHS tapes?
I think I started consciously collecting probably around 12 years old. My aunt actually ran a video store out of her house! 1000’s of tapes everywhere. I remember seeing the cover art of movies like Return of the Living Dead, Spookies, Zombie Lake, Fade to Black, Night of the Living Dead and just being mesmerized. They also had the Night of the Demons standee with light-up eyes. This stuff warped me early on [laughs].
Was there a particular tape that sparked your obsession, or was it just a steady build into fanaticism?
Steady build, I believe; but I do remember buying the Video Gems Big Box of The Crawling Hand for $2 because it looked so damn cool. I still have that one… first tape in my collection.
And it STILL looks so damn cool. Man, this tape RULES. And check out the other grooviness in the background. Dig it.
Do you have a favorite tape, or is that like choosing your favorite nacho topping?
Probably impossible, but my Mad Monster Party PAL is way up there. Andy Warhol’s Dracula on Video Gems is another fave.
Two of Vincent’s faves, and it’s plain to see why. These = Tremendously Cool Tapes! This is pure party time.
How did you procure most of your collection?
I’m a hunter. When I go anywhere I look high and low for VHS, records, toys, etc. Of course, I get a few here and there online from eBay, Amazon, etc.
Yeah, what do you think of using merchant sites like eBay, etc., to purchase tape as opposed to going out and plucking them from the wild?
I think eBay can be a great place to find certain tapes you most likely will not find in the wild. Every VHS maniac knows you can still get a good deal on eBay if you keep your eyes peeled. At the same time, some tapes go for huge amounts online; but if you search flea markets, thrift stores, etc., you can sometimes get lucky and snag a great tape for a buck or two.
What are your thoughts on the way prices for tapes have changed over the years?
Honestly, some of the recent prices are INSANE to me. [VHS] collectors having pissing contests has ruined most online buying.
There have been some folks out there who are opposed to companies like MASSACRE VIDEO, WILD EYE RELEASING and HORROR BOOBS VIDEO producing “new VHS”. What are your feelings on the new wave of VHS tapes?
I think it’s fine. As long as the original people are credited (which they always are) and the number runs are low, what’s to mind? If a new company was to make a larger number of tapes I’d hope they’d pay the owners a decent percent of the profits.
You’re trade and sell on HORROR VHS COLLECTOR’S UNITE quite a bit. What’s your impression of the community? Have you been able to find some stuff you’ve been looking for through the group?
Yeah, I’ve been able to find quite a few bad-ass tapes on there. The group is really fueled by about 100 or so nice and knowledgeable guys. At the same time, I really have to say I’ve met my share of assholes on there and have a blocked list to prove it. All in all, it’s a great group and a lot of fun.
What’re some tapes you’re after, but can’t get a hold of?
That’s privileged information UNTIL I get my grubby lil’ hands on them! [laughs]
What do you think has changed the most over the years when it comes to collecting these chunks o’ black gold?
The number of people “collecting” and the prices. The old-school collectors are lucky they bought tapes before it was semi-trendy or they’d be fucked money-wise.
Besides herding and preserving some of the best analog entertainments out there, you’re also into making some groovy tunes. You just put out a record on GOBLINHAUS Records, right? What’s the story behind that?
I met Shrub who runs www.Goblinhaus.com at Mad Monster Party (a GREAT new horror convention) down in NC and he mentioned he had always wanted to start an independent record company. My band Monster A Go-Go has been kicking around for a long time so I suggested we work together and do a release. The band has done a lot of vinyl EPS, home-made CDs of live and demo stuff, and even some cassettes way back when those we’re still cool [laughs]! (ED NOTE: Cassettes ARE still cool! Dig it!) But a “real” CD release was always a step away.
Just one the many super-rad 7inch releases from Monster A Go-Go. Looks like a slice o’ human, indeed.
He [Shrub] helped us get it together and finally do our first official album Transylvania-Mania. It’s 13 songs of creepy, horror-inspired Ghoul-Rock I think most LUNCHMEAT fans will dig.
A look a the full package from Goblinhaus Records. Digi-book delirium and something to stick on ya!
Groovy, man. I’m sure they will. It’s some bitchin’ tunage! So, why do you think it’s important to preserve the VHS format?
I think it’s important to preserve some of the amazing artwork and the movies themselves that will never find their way to DVD, Blu-Ray (ED NOTE: BOOOOO!), or whatever the next big format is. VHS tapes are just like comics & records: they will always be collected and preserved by a loyal group of fans.
And here’s where the name came from! And he’s got ’em all! Vincent: we salute you!
Thanks to Vincent for taking the time out of his perpetual hunting for that next rare VHS gem and giving us his opinions on the weird world of VHS obsession. What’s that? You got something to say? You killed a baby today? You want a chance to talk about YOUR VHS collection, obsession or manifestations? You know we’d love that! Give us a scream at TheButcher[at]LunchmeatVHS.com – we’re dying to MEAT you! Until next time, videophiles, groove the analog and stay weird.