CINEDELPHIA: How did Exhumed Films form?
JESSE NELSON: It was simply a love of movies and the desire to see some vintage horror movies on the big screen, which was something that wasn’t really going on at the time we started. Our thought was that if we can maybe break even on a screening of Zombie and Gates of Hell, then great. If we lose a few bucks, then at least we had a good time. We never thought we would be here so many years later with so many shows behind us.
C: What is your role in Exhumed?
JN: I answer the emails, update the website, etc. Plus, since Joseph and I run DiabolikDVD, we spend a lot of time talking up the shows at conventions and to our customers.
C: What are the roles of your collaborators?
JN: Everyone has their jobs to do, but without Harry’s remarkable knowledge of film and network of like-minded people, I don’t know how we would end up with even a quarter of what we show.
C: How would you characterize your audiences?
JN: Philadelphia Magazine thinks we are the best “Movie Date” in the area, which brought in some couples for about one screening. Other than that, we have a pretty devoted audience of regular who come from all over to see the movies. I also think we have a pretty diverse group of folks that come to the screenings.
C: What’s your favorite venue that held an Exhumed event?
JN: I love the atmosphere of the Harwan (in all its dumpy glory), but really the Hoyts Theater in Pennsauken was the best for us. It was big, clean, comfortable and had a great projection system plus it was easy to get to and had free parking. But I certainly can’t knock the I-House either. They have 35mm, 16mm and a state of the art video projection system and they let us do these all day mini-festivals that no one else would put up with!
C: What is your most memorable Exhumed event?
JN: Bruce Campbell at the Harwan. It happened at the last minute and turned out to be an absolutely amazing experience with Bruce signing autographs until almost dawn.
C: What is your least memorable Exhumed event?
JN: Even a show that is not as well-attended as we had hoped is still okay because at the very least WE get to see some great films, so it’s hard to find something that was enjoyable.
C: Has there ever been a film that you’ve regretted screening?
JN: Maybe Curtains, which we showed early on at the Harwan. None of us had seen it in years, but we all remembered the one great scene in the film, which turned out to be the only thing that wasn’t a total bore.
C: Do you have any memorable recollections of an audience reacting to a film you’ve shown?
JN: We have certainly shown some films that demand reactions, such as Cannibal Holocaust and its animal violence, House by the Edge of the Park and its misogyny and certainly Farewell Uncle Tom, which its…well, hell, you should just watch it yourself. Of those, House By the Edge of the Park really caused the most controversy because people complained to the theater about the amount of rape in the film, but in this day and age it is really inexcusable to go to movie without looking it up on the internet and finding out what you are getting yourself into.
C: Rules of conduct are always announced to the audience prior to the show. Have you ever had any difficulties with an audience member?
JN: Yes, of course, because everyone always feels entitled to talk, check their texts, etc, because they paid their $10, but really we have a pretty good audience and lots of regulars that will tell you to knock it off. The really frustrating thing is when someone emails you the next day to say they were annoyed by such and such. Why not just tell us there where we can fix it for you?
C: What are your favorite and least favorite films that Exhumed has screened?
JN: There are lots of things we have shown that I absolutely love and lots that I don’t like, but I always try to think of how something will play in front of an audience. Boarding House and Wicked, Wicked. Those were 100% better with an audience, but overall I think I would show Phantom of the Paradise once a year if I could and I think I have already mentioned Curtains, which I didn’t even hate, I was just bored by it, which is sometimes worse.
C: Can you provide any hints as to what we’ll see at this month’s 24 Hour Horror-Thon?
JN: Everyone always has something to complain about when it comes to the 24 Hour Fest. Too many sequels, too many slashers, too many films from the 80s. I think I can pretty firmly say that we have something for everyone this time around and I will leave it at that.
Exhumed Films/Diabolik DVD co-founder Joseph A. Gervasi delivers an interview of literary proportions in tomorrow’s very special installment of SINedelphia.
Coming up on Thursday we’ll have a list of the Top 10 Coolest Movie Monster Toys courtesy of Skylar Gahagan. Friday we’ll be joined by Exhumed Films’ poster designer Justin “Haunt Love” Miller who will be sharing his 10 favorite horror film posters and will also be debuting the final print in his series of odes to the Horror-Thon, a Cinedelphia exclusive.
Author: Eric Bresler
Eric is the Founder/Site Editor of Cinedelphia.com whose additional activities are numerous: Director/Curator of the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA), founder of Tokyo No Records, the brain behind Video Pirates, and active local film programmer including the Unknown Japan screening series. He’s served as a TLA Video Manager, Philadelphia Film Society Managing Director, and Adjunct Professor in Cinema Studies at Drexel University. He is shy and modest. Email Eric.