* Halloween countdown post #3
‘Johnny Dickie is an extremely avid (and super-cool) VHS collector who not only runs his own website called Video Vendetta which is dedicated to showcasing and reviewing some of the grooviest and most obscure VHS flicks known to the Videovore, he’s also just completed two full-length feature films with oa third now in post-production, all written, directed and edited by Johnny himself. But you wanna know what’s even more groovy? Johnny’s done all of this before his 17th birthday, even though he’s quick to dismiss his age as a factor.
‘We first met Johnny Dickie about a decade ago, when he was six years old and regularly running a path of wild, hilarious destruction after school at Molly’s Books in the Italian Market. (His mom, Molly Russakoff, owns the place, and it’s still great — in fact, better than ever.) Even back then, it was easy to see that Johnny was a gifted kid, whipping up an endless series of drawings and jokes and clearly inspired by the energy of the Market.
‘So there’s not too much that’s surprising that, at 16, Johnny now has an IMDB entry that rivals that of many actor/directors three times his age. But Dickie isn’t on some corny child-star trip, oh no; since the age of 12, he’s been making his own homemade horror movies with pretty much whatever equipment is immediately available to him. As such, to enter the cinematic world of Johnny Dickie is to experience a place in the imagination where VHS is a viable option and the goopy grape-jelly fake blood flows like wine.
‘And because there’s a community for everyone online these days, Dickie’s films have found an audience — in this case, a devout underground of splatter-obsessed, videotape-collecting horror obsessives. His last big feature, Johnny Dickie’s Slaughter Tales was released on DVD and VHS via Libra Verde Media. And of his newest, City of the Dream Demons, about a night-terror’d kid’s 16th birthday gone horribly awry.
‘Dickie’s films are not technically spectacular. You won’t walk away wishing for an Oscar nod. You will walk away with a shit eating grin on your face. Those films are made by a horror fan. Specifically by a fan of the SOV sub genre that came out of the video store boom of the eighties/nineties. The acting is bad in all of the right ways. It has that hyper real, while being over the top feel. It almost was reminiscent of early John Waters, with long dialogues, over expression, and rapid eye movement.
‘Dickie is an avid collector of VHS tapes, and everything about his films harkens back to that mid-to-late-eighties heyday when horror films ruled the rental roost (mostly due to low budgets and high demand for any kind of content). The flicks are shot on video, and look like they’re trying to replicate those early shot-on-VHS efforts. Pretty much all of the effects are practical, including some stop-motion work, and the actors (besides Dickie) are all pretty much the kind of amateur performers one expects in these kinds of low-budget flicks.
‘Dickie’s films play like an adolescent take on Fellini’s 8 1/2, autobiographical mind-fucks of boredom, repressed violence, gallows humor and sublimated lust, filtered through Raimi, Henenlotter and Cronenberg. Making the most of his infinitesimal budgets, these sharply-paced and fluently-edited films always have a wonderfully confident and charming performance from its adolescent auteur, who also designed the films’ oozing array of practical effects. It’s impossible not to be utterly endeared to this film from start to finish.’ — collaged
Johnny Dickie’s Video Vendetta tumblr
Johnny Dickie’s youtube channel
Johnny Dickie @ Facebook
Podcast: Creep Show Radio – The Revenge of Johnny Dickie!
‘Johnny Dickie Needs Your Help!’
‘BLOOD ON A BUDGET HAS FOUR HEADS’
Johnny Dickie interviewed @ Daily Grindhouse
24HMM: The Reboot: Johnny Dickie – Unmasked
‘The Door Is Open’ composed by Johnny Dickie
Johnny Dickie reviews ‘Murder Weapon’ (1989)
Johnny Dickie reviews ‘Violent Sh*t’ (1987)
from Lunch Meat VHS
You just celebrated your 15th birthday, right? How was it? Get anything good?!
Johnny Dickie: Yes, I did! I had a lot of fun! I was sick for some of it, but I got to spend a lot of time with my family and friends. My mother made me maybe the best gift I have ever received: huge handmade VHS shelves in my room! I was running out of storage space before, and now all of my collection is displayed in my room. It is really a great sight to see, especially when it’s the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning.
Since you’re so young, most people wouldn’t expect you to be into VHS. Was it the format you had around you growing up or… ?
JD: I have actually not received a whole lot of interest in my age recently. I think most people can talk to me as just another collector, not someone trying to jump on a bandwagon. I had grown up around a lot of VHS and have very fond memories of looking at the gory DVD covers in the horror section of my now closed local TLA video store. I think the aspect of VHS collecting for me came in when I found out there were so many movies not available on DVD. I was very fond of VHS, but my family had moved on to DVD, so getting back into using them was very easy for me. There is a warmth I get from putting a VHS tape into my VCR and sitting down to watch. I don’t get that feeling from watching a DVD; something seems amiss… where are the scan lines!?!?! Why does it go back to the menu when the movie is finished!?! The cover and packaging differences between more modern formats and VHS should go without saying, but I have always found it much nicer to hold a VHS in my hand than say, a Blu- Ray or just looking at a file saved on my computer. It’s a different feel entirely, and I find it very easy to compare the VHS vs. DIGITAL FORMATS debate to the FILM vs. VIDEO debate in how they both have different looks and feels to them.
What were some of the first movies you remember seeing that totally blew you away or just made you think, “Man, I love this stuff!”?
JD: The first one that comes to mind is John Carpenter’s Body Bags. It was the first VHS I ever had to seek out. Since the first time I saw the movie I have been influenced. The film can be credited as the main inspiration for Slaughter Tales. Besides Body Bags, Unmasked Part 25 has made a very big impression on me and has become my favorite film of all time since I first watched it nearly two years ago. The whole SOV style of film making has really affected me; I still consider the films of Tim Ritter and Joel Wynkoop to be greatly under looked.
You’re really active in the VHS community. What do you think of the collector community as a whole? By that I mean, what’s the vibe you get from all the different personalities?
JD: I love all of the different people in the community of collectors! Pretty much all of them are very nice and all have very different senses of humor. I have rarely run into another collector that I have disagreed with, but when I have, it usually isn’t pleasant. Most people don’t mention my age when we are trading or talking, and when it does come up, it never gets in the way. It’s a great community and I am very proud and happy to be a part of it.
You’ve just completed your first full-length feature film SLAUGHTER TALES. What inspired you to take on such a huge project?
JD: Slaughter Tales actually started off as a proof of concept to see if I could make a short anthology, maybe around forty minutes long. After the original stories I already had for the film [were] destroyed when my first computer crashed (The best thing a filmmaker can do is back up their work), I had to restart. I was still aiming for about fifty minutes, but I just kept working on it till I was happy with each story. The last story of the film ended up being around a half hour. I’m really happy with how it turned out, because it was never meant to be a full length feature film; it just ended up that way, so there is no filler. I am really happy with the finished product, even though it ended up being more than two times as long as I originally intended it to be.
Could you tell a little bit about the process of making it: the writing, shooting, etc.?
JD: I had no script for Slaughter Tales, just a bunch of ideas and props. Most weekends I would invite my friend Joey over, pull out the camera and start pouring the blood. All the animation on the devil slugs was done in about a day. All of the explosions in the film were all done with models, a spray can of sun screen, and a candle. No digital effects were used. I edited the film in order, usually the same night as shooting [for a particular] story] was finished. I would get the blood wiped off the walls and sit down to start the editing. I have tried using scripts in the past, but I cannot write one successfully. I think the way the film was shot gives the finished product a very sincere feel.
What do your parents think about you making movies like this?
JD: My parents are very supportive of my film making! I know that horror or VHS is not their thing, but they support me to the point of letting me cover them in blood and make up. My mother and step-father both make appearances in Slaughter Tales. I still have half of my family asking me for copies. News really spreads in my family.
What’s in the future for you, Johnny? Do you plan on making any more movies? Any other cool projects? You recently did a toy commercial, right? Think you’ll want to further your education about film, maybe?
JD: Right now, I’m working on a new feature with my friends. I can’t say too much right now, but it’s going to be a labor of love, especially in the effects department. All I can say right now is it will put a new spin on the vampire genre. The toy commercial I did was for the film Blood Slaughter Massacre. It was a lot of fun to shoot and it was cool seeing how another group of low budget filmmakers work. It was shot the weekend of the Monster Mania Convention in Cherry Hill New Jersey. I actually shot the post ending credit footage [for Slaughter Tales] that weekend with some good friends, and some hack named Josh Schafer. Joking, of course!
I want to get into film school down the road, but for now I will continue to make features. Age has never stopped me, and if any other young filmmakers are reading this, don’t let your age stop you. I am still in high school and I am already having a full length feature released. Don’t let the business side get in your way either, because if it’s not your thing, it will suck the fun out of it for you. All ways shoot the movie, draw that picture, perform that song or whatever; [do it] for yourself. If you are happy with your final product, it was a success. Just don’t kill anyone.
Johnny Dickie Slaughter Tales (2012)
‘The directorial debut of 15-year old horror sensation Johnny Dickie, Slaughter Tales is a loving tribute to the no-budget horror video revolution of the 1980s. Johnny Dickie also stars, and the movie was made on a budget of $65. A teenager steals a mysterious VHS tape and finds himself tormented by the spirits that are trapped inside the tape and the horrible film within. Ignoring all warnings, he pops the tape in. What follows is a 90-minute fever dream horror anthology, where each story is worse than the last. But is this teen living out the worst story of them all? Slaughter Tales is more than a bad movie, it is a video nightmare you can’t escape!’ — collaged
Mrparka Reviews “Slaughter Tales” (w/ clips)
Johnny Dickie The Hateful Dead (2012)
‘The first official teaser trailer the newest splatter vampire film from Johnny Dickie (Slaughter Tales, 2012)! Shooting starts soon, and more info will be released as production movies on! Other vampires suck, this one maims..’ — JD
Johnny Dickie Clampires and Other Stereotapes (2013)
‘3 friends sit down to watch a film titled Vampires and other Stereotypes, but when they put the tape into the VCR, they are sent to hell and stalked by a horrific vampire clamshell case, a Clampire! The only way out is for the trio to watch the movie once and for all!’ — JD
Jack Mulvanerty Creeps: A Tale of Murder and Mayhem (2013)
‘I recently learned (rather recently) that Johnny Dickie held many roles in the new flick Creeps: A Tale of Murder and Mayhem by 15 year old director Jack Mulvanerty. When I found this out I had to see it and lucky for me the film just wrapped. Dickie hooked me up with a link to the online screener and for that I thank you and Mulvanerty so much! This film was fucking amazing. Plain and simple. The film blew my expectations out of the water then dick punched it repeatedly. This film was just that damn good. The acting, sadly, was really bad. The entire cast shows charisma but lacks the experience necessary to make the scenes and dialogue flow better. Finally, those looking for blood and on screen kills will find more than enough in this flick here.’ — Horror Society
Watch & Review: Creeps: A Tale Of Murder And Mayhem, by Jack Mulvanerty
Johnny Dickie City of the Dream Demons (2013)
‘Over the last 15 years I have seen so many filmmakers grow with each passing film. Some grow for the better while others take on a completely different style altogether ignoring the cries of their fans. However, that is not Dickie at all. Dickie grew tremendously from his first film, Slaughter Tales, to this one while keeping his style the same. Honestly, this S.O.V. look he gives his films is actually a breathe of fresh air when it comes to indie horror in general. The acting in this one is what you would expect when you think about a film starring teenagers with no real acting experiences other than acting in their own film. Most of the scenes consist of awkward dialogue and forced acting. Though the cast does show a lot of inexperience they still have heart and drive. With more experience the entire cast would be a force to reckon with.’ — Horror Society
deadbydawn93 Reviews: City Of The Dream Demons
Dan M. Kinem Adjust Your Tracking: The Untold Story of the VHS Collector (2013)
‘ADJUST YOUR TRACKING: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE VHS COLLECTOR is a documentary and celebration of a format that is far from dead. VHS may not be at Best Buy, your Mom and Pop video store may be shuttered, but the passion for VHS is contagious and very much alive. “I realized how important VHS still is and how many people out there still love and collect it,” said Kinem. “We wanted to make a movie that oozed with this passion and informed people that VHS is more than just a cheap paperweight, it’s an important piece of film history that needs to be archived.” Featuring teen horror film auteur/sensation Johnny Dickie who is also one of the film’s Execute Producers.’ — collaged
Behind the scenes: This Ain’t Adjust Your Tracking
Adjust Your Tracking: The Untold Story of the VHS Collector screening & swap
Johnny Dickie The Robot Ninja (2013)
‘He’s not batman…. He’s not superman….. He is The Robot Ninja…. AND HE KICKS ASS! A short film inspired by the 1989 action movie of the same name.” This is something you can get behind. Remember when we reviewed Slaughter Tales, the Johnny Dickie SOV classic anthology horror flick made on no budget whatsoever but beloved by many in the horror community including myself because it embodies everything we love about our genre? Well he has a new short up and I demand you enjoy it. Part action. Part horror. Part Exterminator. Part comedy. Part VHS Collection display that had me jealous.’ — Doc Terror
the entire film
Johnny Dickie music video for ‘Misery Date’ by Local Cretin (2013)
‘Official music video for Local Cretin by Misery Date. Directed by Johnny Dickie.’
the entire video
Joshua Bruce Burn in Hell (2014)
‘In a small town, gruesome killings have been plaguing the townspeople. Bodies are found torn apart and eaten. The authorities have no leads. After the death of his best friend, a young high-school football player, Brad, seeks out the help of local priest Father Damian, who is slaughtered by the killer before disclosing any information of the killings. The killer, revealed as the demon Beelzebub, sets out on a vicious killing spree to consume a steady supply of human blood in order to maintain a physical form. Brad recruits metal-head/stoner kid D.O. to assist him in his hunt for Beelzebub. Guided by the deranged, one-eyed demon hunting priest Father Lewis, the trio set out to rid their town of the evil demon, eventually leading them straight to hell. The film stars Johnny Dickie, Kenny Geiger, Joshua Bruce, Ken Brotis, Zack Sabat, Dylan McLarnon.’ — collaged
Undead Video (2017)
‘Fatal Birthday has a vengeful corpse return from the dead, The Reel American Tragedy has a low budget film director struggle to make a movie, and Dependency has a world on the edge of collapse as two drug dealers try to survive.’ — IMDb
p.s. Hey. ** Marilyn Roxie, Hi, Marilyn! Good to see you! I don’t know ‘Secret Habitat’, but I will definitely check it out, and thanks a bunch. ** Damien Ark, Hi. Well, I’ll think more seriously about it then. I saw King Crimson live a bunch in their heydays, and I’m always a bit wary of revisiting bands when they’re restoring what they done, but yeah. A guy destroying Ai WeiWei work is good with me just to begin with. The deer one is pretty sublime, yeah. I’m very weak on sci-fi and dystopian stuff. I seem to have no basic pull towards that kind of work for some reason, and I’ve never delved there much at all. I only know the pretty much obvious work in that/those genres. I just got my copy of the new Sotos yesterday, and I’m psyched to start it. ** Scunnard, Hey, hey, J! I’ve been good, really busy with stuff, and good, thanks. You? Yes, yes, yes, I am even severely into doing a post for your book. Entail? You can check out the past book posts to see what I usually do, the ‘welcome to the world’ posts specifically, but it’s really quite open. Images, an excerpt, description, any side trips or supplementary stuff available, etc. Write to me at my current email — email@example.com — and I’ll hit you back with my mailing address. Really excited for your book! ** Jamie, Hi, Jar-jar-mie! Ha ha, sorry. Ooh, wow, ‘Hotel’ looks fucking gorgeous. What the hell is it? It’s a series? Huh. It’s very ‘game’ obviously. I’ll find out more. Yum, thanks a lot. The ARTE meeting, to my huge surprise, went as well as it possibly could have. We have a shitload of work to do, but, as of this moment at least, I feel pretty confident that we’re going to give them the series they want and that the series will actually get bought and happen as hoped. So, yeah, we were all a bit shocked by how into what we proposed they are. You never know. At least their side and your side are both sad. That seems like sadness’s best case scenario. Oh, okay, ex-Pastels. Ex-Pastels member sounds even better than current Pastels member, if that isn’t weird to say. Ha ha, your mum’s Beatles story. I never saw The Beatles live. Weird ‘cos I went to concerts incessantly, but I guess I was just a little too young during their lifespan. I saw The Monkees, though. That was my very first concert: The Monkees @ The Hollywood Bowl. A nice Thursday you had. Did you like the V&A in general? It looks pretty good in pix. My Thursday was the surprisingly good ARTE meeting. That took a lot. And Zac and I got some great news: we’ve been granted some initial funding for our next film, so the ball is rolling. Not much else. One of my teeth, which has been really fucked up for a while, started hurting, so that’s ominous. Ugh. We leave for the German theme park trip on Tuesday and come back on Sunday. May your Friday be like the time I saw Guided by Voices and yelled out ‘Johnny Appleseed!’, my favorite GbV song at the time, and Robert Pollard heard me, and they played it. Pigeon bubble bath love, Dennis. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. I saw King Crimson during that period, and, yeah, memory tells me the shows were pretty great. A lot, lot, lot better than the Grateful Dead shows of the same era. Like a lot. Oh, god, Christine and the Queens. I don’t know about the States, but the hype on her here is relentless and completely over the top obnoxious, and everything I’ve heard by her has been totally meh. But I’ll go see what you think. Everyone, Steve E. weighs on Christine and the Queens if you’re curious. If you are, go here. I’m a big fan of the run of post-‘Pet Sounds’ Beach Boys albums, everything from ‘Wild Honey’ through ‘Holland’, with the exception of ‘Carl and the Passions’, which is really spotty. My faves of that period are probably ’20/20′ and ‘Friends’, I think. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Cool: the talk. Ha ha, nice: the ‘paint’ thing. ** James Nulick, Hi, James! No, I won’t be Japan then. Too much happening here, unfortunately. I guess Gisele and crew might be there, I’m not sure what their dates are exactly. Zac and I are angling to get there before winter ends, maybe December or January. We’ll see. You’re going to have the fun of all funs, man, that’s for sure. ** Right. Your Halloween input today enters around the former prodigy/phenom Johnny Dickie, who I haven’t heard much about in a while, so maybe adulthood hasn’t been a good fit with him, I don’t know. Anyway, check out his youthful horror movie follies, if you like. See you tomorrow.