Monday, April 23, 2012

eX-Fest II: Chatting with Jesse Nelson

There's an incompletion located somewhere within you. A sacrosanct sector which hasn't gotten sufficient nutritional intake. It's not your fault that the past decades haven't been kind to your ability to take in exploitation cinema with a raucous audience full of the deviant that you hide inside. Exhumed Films has your ticket though, hosting an annual exploitation marathon dubbed eX-Fest, which boasts a smorgasbord of flavors. With eX-Fest II just six days away, I asked Jesse Nelson (member of Exhumed Films and co-proprietor of Diabolik DVD) a bunch of questions which I've wanted to know the answers to.

Q: How did you get involved with Exhumed Films in the first place?

We met the guys that run GRINDHOUSE RELEASING while at Fantasia in
Montreal and decided that it would be fun to rent a few movies from
them, find a local theatre and have a halloween double feature. We
all threw in some money and resigned ourselves to the fact we might
lose it, but at least we would have a good time watching the movies.
To our surprise, people showed up and we decided to put the profits
back into a collective pool and start planning more shows. Back then
it was mostly word of mouth and handing out flyers - the internet was
a very small portion of what it is now.

Q: Since you guys primarily run horror, where did eX-Fest come from?

After the success of the 24hr fest, we decided we needed another big
show midway between the horror-thons, so we came up with a theme of 12
hours and movies we normally wouldn't show at the 24hr fest. Mainly
we wanted to watch a bunch of sleazy, non-horror movies with an
audience and we figured an "event" would bring people in and luckily
it did.

Q: What's been you absolute favorite show that Exhumed has run?

Easily Bruce Campbell at the Harwan. He was in town for a
Hercules/Xena convention and we managed to get ahold of him for a
screening of Evil Dead 2 at Midnight. He not only introduced the
movie, but did a Q&A and refused to leave until he signed something
for everyone. I think we managed to wrap it up around 5am. PLUS, he
gave us a low ball figure for the night and refused to take a penny
more. Very classy, funny and all around the most pleasant celebrity
experience despite the late night and that the AC had broken earlier
that day.

Q: How about favorite film? (that Exhumed has screened)

I love so many of the films we show, its hard to pick one out. Its
fun to show oddball things like PIECES and FAREWELL UNCLE TOM with a
crowd, but I think that THE THING is the film that I never tire of
watching with an audience.

Q: What's the film you'd most like to show but can not? (why not?)
Collectively it was DAWN OF THE DEAD, but we finally worked out that
rights issue last year. Aside from that there are some other things
that we have never been able to track down for one reason or another
such as HALLOWEEN 3 for example, but the thing I have wanted to show
from the beginning is Fulci's CONQUEST which doesn't seem to exist on
film any longer in any format.

Q: I've really enjoyed the smaller venue'd, 16mm shows at the Audubon
auction house from this past year. Where did that idea come from? (and
will there be more of them?)

The Auction house has a pretty tight weekend schedule, which is great
for them, but not great for us trying to schedule shows. We will have
more in the coming year for sure though. They actually contacted us
and wanted us to have a pop up theatre in there. They already had the
PA and the screen so all we had to do was provide the films and the
projectors - which is the great thing about 16mm.

Q: Since 1997, you guys have been housed in a number of
venues. Which do you feel was the coolest, which has the best vibe for
exhumed and which do you miss the most?

The Harwan was my favorite... It was a total dump and provided the
best vibe. You could smoke in the upstairs lounge!!! But the Hoyts
in Pennsauken was the best for us business wise. They didn't care
what we did, what we showed and how long we were there. It wasn't the
best vibe, but it had the best projection, sound and those amazing
seats! It would be great to have the 24hr fest there. To this day I
don't think the manager told corporate what he was doing and put that
money in his pocket for the rental - but that was fine by us.

Q: Who decided to end last year's eX-Fest with The Other Cinderella.
(fucking spectacular, btw)

I wanted to end this year's with a full on hardcore movie, but the
other guys were against it and I guess I was to some extent as well,
but damn it would have been fun! Harry is the exploitation guru in
the group and I don't even argue with the films he comes up with. If
he wants to show it, I want to see it!

Q: What's the most rewarding part of Exhumed for you?

Aside from the movies, which do become a bit tedious from time to time
(Evil Dead 2 again???) I really love meeting everyone and chatting
about movies and hearing the responses - which aren't always positive.
I feel like we have created a great horror community with Exhumed and
DiabolikDVD in the Philadelphia area and I love being involved with

I'd like to thank Jesse for taking the time to answer my questions (and for always taking all my dollars at at the Diabolik DVD table each show!).

Check out my recap of last year's eX-Fest and then snag your tickets for this Sunday's event right here (precious few remain as of this writing). Then prepare yourself for twelve hours of mysterious mind blowing fare from all across the exploitation venue. If you waffle now, you'll be cursing yourself while you read my recap of the awesome flicks on display.


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