A True Passion For Cult Film [2019-03-12]Dave Parker stands as one of the most likeable, down-to-earth, passionate & knowledgeable genre critics around- since 2010 he’s run his Youtube channel, which began covering just horror & extreme film fare, but in recent years he’s expanded his coverage to the wider cult genre. He started off doing short stand-alone reviews/ collection updates, but in recent years his format has switched to a longer weekly show with Screaming Toilet productions- with each show lasting between half an hour, to an hour. Dave is also an actor appearing in a host of underground/ cult film fare, he’s also a director too. I caught up with Dave with for an email interview
M[m]: What are some of your earliest Movie/ TV memories? And when do you think your passion for horror/ cult films really started? Dave I think most of my early memories would be similar to most horror/movie-crazed fans, wandering through the aisles of video stores and being captivated by the covers. I’ve always loved monsters and creatures, but my love of these things was cultivated by my Grandfather. He loved the Universal Monsters and films in general and would constantly bring me videos, some of which were bootlegged from the very video store we frequented.
M[m]: Can you recall any of the films your Grandfather brought you & do you still have any of them? Dave Sure can. Besides the countless bootleg tapes, there were a bunch of actual store-bought VHS’s as well. He would pick up the Universal Horror films and revisit them and end up handing them down to me. They were the cool 90’s reissues that had the matching banner; I remember getting dozens of those, including the three “Creature From the Black Lagoon” films. It actually didn’t even end with tapes. He ended up bringing down DVDs as well. He picked me up a copy of “Van Helsing” only because of its inspiration from the Universal Monsters. Unfortunately, the movie was a dud, but I kept it around because he had gotten it for me. I still have a slew of the Universal Tapes as well.
M[m]: You first started posting on your Youtube channel ten years ago- what triggered you starting to post on Youtube? Dave I saw others doing it, some of the big names out there like Coolduder and figured that looks like fun. Why don’t I do that in more of a horror-oriented way. Although I don’t cover as much horror as I use to, that is what my initial thought was. For the first few years, there was a great little horror community on there, many of which have seemingly disappeared, although a few still stick around. Shout out to Moodz616 and XtrotheMutilator.
M[m]: On the front of your Youtube channel you’ve got a picture of you will the late David Hess- what was he like in person, and is their anyone else you’ve meet you particularly proud of?
Dave I only met him briefly, but he was very friendly and willing to chat. I’m glad I got the chance to meet him before he passed. I have met quite a few people I’m happy to have met; Gunnar Hansen, Gary Klar, Joseph Pilato, Ruggero Deodato, Sergio Martino, Tom Atkins, Tom Savini, Michael Berryman, George Romero, Ken Foree, Gaylen Ross, David Emge, Scott H. Reiniger, Linnea Quigley, and Frank Henenlotter. I’m sure I’m missing a bunch, but that is just off the top of my head. I’ve always been lucky and all of them have been friendly. I don’t really have any crazy stories as they were all at conventions.
M[m]: Over the years you’ve developed your content moving from collection reviews & new picks-up. Onto more formal reviews, then more recently a show type format- featuring a selection of reviews. Did this develop organically, or had you planned from the start where you wanted to get to? Dave I had no idea, really, what I wanted to do. I knew I just wanted to show my collection and talk about horror films with other fans. It was a great way to broaden my horizons and learn about films I might not have, otherwise. Mix that with the huge DVD boom going on and it was great. The single reviews started to happen more frequently, but I always noticed that the updates seemed to be more popular so I liked to keep them both going. Within the last few years I have been listening to podcasts and really started to love that show format, so I sort of try to adopt that, similar to shows I really enjoy.
M[m]: You mention enjoying podcasts in the last few years- what are some of your favourites?
Dave I have tons of favorites. “22 Shots of Moodz and Horror”, “The Exploding Heads Horror Movie Podcast”, “Shock Waves”, “Pure Cinema Podcast”, “Screamcast”, “The Movies That Made Me”, and “Just the Discs” to name a few. All these podcasts are highly recommended. Some have a horror focus while some cover all cinema. I owe a lot to these guys and gals for making the hours fly by at work or when I’m jogging
M[m]: You often record in front of your film collection- and it looks massive- how many films in total do you own? Dave That is probably the question I am asked the most and I honestly have no clue. I would say somewhere in the 10,000 range, but I don’t have a definitive answer. Sorry.
M[m]:Wow 10, 000?!- How do you organise a collection that size- is it alphabetic, by genre/ sub-genre, and/ or label? Dave DVD, VHS, Laserdisc, and Blu-Ray are all kept separate. After that, I sort them into company and then into alphabetic order. Some of the less genre-oriented labels like MGM and Warner are just in alphabetic order.
M[m]: Any items in your collection you are most proud of? And what are some of the more bizarre/ strange items you have in your collection? Dave I bet nearly everything in my collection that is a rare DVD will hit Blu-Ray within the next 5 years or so lol. I remember when the Barrel DVDs of stuff like Nekromantik were so rare, but at this point with the new Blu-Rays out it’s hard to determine what a prized possession is. Some stuff I am proud to own is the entire catalogue of Vinegar Syndrome Blu-Rays. As for bizarre, there are a lot. Some of which I haven’t had the chance or maybe the guts to watch. There are some really weird movies in the collection, some strange imports like "Pig Fucking Movie." Sometimes, when I look around, I am in awe at how great and strange the film world really is.
M[m]:Talking of weird/ strange films in your collection- please list & discuss say five of your favourite odd/ obscure films in your collection?
Dave These types of questions always give me trouble; I’m not sure how obscure to go. The word obscure in the internet world has become a subjective one, but I’ll give it my best.
“Her Vengeance” is a crazy rape/revenge Hong Kong flick where a woman takes revenge. It’s been a while since I’ve seen this one, I just remember some really nasty villains and some good action. Not exactly oddball, but still not mentioned much.
“A Gun for Jennifer” follows the story of a group of militant women who decide to stand up against crime. The tagline says it all: “Dead men don’t rape”. Great action, great acting, and a really sleazy New York City.
Before we had “Behind the Mask”, there was “Unmasked Part 25”; a comedy horror about a slasher who just wants to find true love. Very bizarre and ahead of its time. Soon to have a Blu-Ray from Vinegar Syndrome.
“Surf 2” is a completely bonkers weirdo comedy about a strange cola that turns people into zombies. One of the big highlights is a gross-out eating competition with a pile of ocean junk that washed ashore.
“Eat and Run” is a weird farcical comedy about an obese alien who gets a taste for Italians. It’s up to Ron Silver to stop him. The alien is played by the late great Pat Ryan from the Troma classics “The Toxic Avenger” and “Class of Nuk’em High” as well as the comparably gross “Street Trash”.
Hope that was alright maybe some are more obscure while some are odder.
M[m]:You mentioned your Vinegar Syndrome collection been one of your favourite items in your collection- what do you think makes the label so great? And I take it you’ve got all their ltd covers- if so what are some of your favourites?
Dave I think it’s the time and care they put into each release, especially the meticulous restoration work that goes into their releases. I love that no matter how poorly reviewed the film has been in the past or if it’s a complete unknown, they all get top notch treatment. I do have a bunch of the limited slipcovers and they are really cool, but I don’t buy movies just for the covers. The slipcover isn’t a making or breaking point in a purchase. I buy for the movies. Some of my favourite releases from them are “Uninvited” about a killer mutant cat on a yacht, “Good Luck Miss Wyckoff” which is an exploitation drama, and “Psychos In Love” which is a zany off the wall serial killer love story.
M[m]: You’ve mentioned in your reviews your not a great fan of metal bound soundtracks- so what music do you enjoy? And any favourite genres/ projects/ bands?
Dave I don’t hate all metal music in horror films, I just hate when it’s unwarranted. “Deathgasm” used it wonderfully. It’s funny, in my teens I listened to all sorts of music. As I get older I don’t really sit down and listen to much. Every once in a while I will have my Amazon Echo blast out some classics or songs I love. As for new music, I probably couldn’t name 10 songs from last year. As for older stuff, I like CCR, Metallica, The Killers, a lot of classic rock, and movie scores by the Italian greats like Ennio Morricone, Riz Ortolani, etc.
M[m]: Over the years you’ve appeared in around 30 few underground films as an actor- what have been some of your favourite/ memorable roles? Dave I really enjoyed playing Jimmy McDaniel in “Halloween Spookies”, a segment written by Brandon Salkil and directed by Dustin Mills. I guess it was my take on Beetlejuice and a Maurice type character from “Little Monsters”. The entire movie sort of holds a special place for me as it was a collaboration with two great friends. Besides that, playing Pete from “Headless” was pretty fun as was Marco Rossi from the upcoming “R.I.P.”. Some memorable roles would probably be some of my silent performances... the only way to shut me up I guess lol. “The Bad Man”, “Apple Cart”, and the pilot for the Apple Cart series that never took off come to mind, all fairly extreme type roles.
M[m]: In 2015 you directed your first ever feature Slimy Little Bastards- tell us a little bit about this anthology film came about? And how long it took you to make?
Dave At first, I wanted to just direct a short and get my feet wet. I went with a little creature style short entitled “Organic Shit” which was an inside joke with some of my friends. After finishing the short, I figured why not make it an anthology? So I wrote two more shorts and the wraparound to tie them together. I wanted a theme so I made them all little creature style stories, I am a big fan of those types of films and it’s a pretty dead sub-genre. Honestly, the filming didn’t take that long. Organic Shit took two days of filming with one day of pick-ups. Brain Busters, I think, was done in one very long day again with a day of pick-ups. Crusties was two days, and the wraparound was 1 as well. I would shoot exteriors and stock stuff whenever I had free time. As for the editing, I wanted to at least do some of it myself. It was a big learning experience so that took a bit longer than I wanted.
M[m]: have you any thoughts about directing another film?. And if so any ideas?
Dave I did end up directing 2 of the segments in the Halloween kid-friendly anthology “Halloween Spookies” I think in 2016. I have had lots of thoughts and Ideas and have wanted to do more films, but something usually comes up and right now it’s just not in the cards. Excuses, excuses, right? In a way I miss it, but I don’t miss the stress, if I do another one, I want it to be right. I want the cast and crew to be paid and everything planned out better. I always have tons of ideas, but after a while, they seem impossible or I lose interest.
M[m]: What are you looking forward to release wise this year?
Dave As far as new movies go, there are a few. The number one came out last year, but I didn’t get a chance to catch it in theatres; it’s the remake of “Suspiria”. It’s intrigued me quite a bit and I can’t wait for my Blu-Ray to come in. As for home video, I am super excited about Second Sight teasing a “Dawn of the Dead” Blu-Ray. Day one purchase for me, I adore Romero’s first three dead films.
M[m]: Any films do you think really need a reissue? And please explain why?
Dave I guess I sort of spoiled this question lol. “Dawn of the Dead” really does need a nice Blu-Ray release. It’s strange, I used to think it was so bizarre when people would say, “I am glad this film is getting released again so new people can discover it.” But as I get older, I see it all the time people posting about checking out “Martin” or “Rosemary’s Baby” or “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” for the first time and I think, wow, there are horror fans out there that haven’t seen these films or, the very least, heard of them. Romero’s first three Dead films have aged well. They are timeless and their messages and social commentary is well done and not annoyingly shoved down your throat. Very rarely is a film made nowadays where abortion is brought up casually and isn’t dwelled upon for 45 minutes. Romero’s early work was special and it all needs to be readily available. Also, it’d be nice to get a Blu-Ray of “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid”.
M[m]: you mention really enjoying the original Romero dead trilogy- have you got any time for his later zombie films?
Dave I actually really like “Land of the Dead,” I think it gets mistreated. While not as strong as the previous three, it still has some interesting ideas; a great villain in Dennis Hopper, some great zombie carnage, and works in the evolution of the zombies. I hope in a few decades when people look back at Romero again, Land gets some more love. I know it has some fans, but I don’t think enough. “Day of the Dead” was hated when it came out originally and it happens to be my favourite film and a cult favourite now. As for “Diary of the Dead” there are a few moments that I really like, but I feel it is a tad more ham-fisted than Romero’s other work, although a revisit may open my eyes a bit more. I have often thought about the message since I’ve seen it and Diary may grow on me in time, it’s just so dated in comparison to his other films. I will have to revisit "Survival of the Dead" as where I currently stand, I just don’t have much love for it. The whole twins reveal was mind-numbing. I hope I come around, but it probably ranks as the least interesting as of now.
M[m]: Recently you set up Patreon for the channel- what made you decide to go down this route? And what do you offer patrons on the site? Dave I always used to get comments like review this film or check this out and I really would want to, but would never have the time or be able to pick one choice from another. I thought Patreon was a great way to let viewers/friends pick movies and create a discussion. The funds also help me rent the film or buy it with the donations. I think it adds spice to the channel and makes it fun for everyone.
I saw what podcasts like the 22 Shots of Moodz and Horror and The Exploding Heads Horror Podcast were doing with their Patreons and I admired the interactions they were having with listeners. Within the last few years, the views on YouTube haven’t changed, but the interactions and comments have. People don’t take the time to leave a comment as much as they used to. With the Patreon they tend to interact more and it opens a discussion.
My perks are pretty standard, I do a monthly contest where people are entered to win DVDs and Blu-Rays. I have a pick a movie where every month they get to choose a film for me to cover, it can be any genre. The larger tiers involve picking entire series to be covered, picking the entire show, commentaries, video essays, things like that.
Thanks to Dave for his time & effort with the interview- Daves Youtube page is here here , and if you’re interested in signing up as a pateron supporter head here