Waxwork Records Are ReAnimating Classic Horror Soundtracks: The Basement Screams Interview

If you don’t know the name Waxwork Records yet, you will soon. The New Orleans-based label will be releasing its debut vinyl offering at the end of this month in the form of a remastered edition of Richard Band’s classic score for ReAnimator. I had the chance to do a quick interview with label head Kevin Bergeron, and this is what he had to say…

First off, how did Waxwork come to be? Did you have any experience running a label previous to this?

Waxwork Records came to be because of my love for horror cinema. I’m obsessive about horror. Some of my earliest memories are of taking trips to the video store and renting a bunch of horror VHS tapes. I didn’t even acknowledge the other genres. It just consumed me.

I had just gotten back from touring Cuba with my old band. It was becoming obvious that the band was breaking up, but I wanted to stay involved with music on some level. I love music, and I’ve played in horror­inspired punk bands for the past 15 years.

I noticed other labels such as Mondo and Death Waltz and what they were doing, and I have respect for those guys. It seemed like something cool to get involved with because I’m passionate about it. Obviously, I want to put my own twist on it by always revisiting the master tapes to create a true analog product, get the composer and directors involved, creating full package artwork.

I’ve never run a label before Waxwork, but I’ve pressed vinyl with my old bands.

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What made you decide on Re­Animator as your first release?

I think Re­Animator is one of those horror films that wouldn’t be what it is without it’s score.
Richard Band’s Re­Animator score, in my opinion, is a true classic. I love the film, and it has one of those memorable scores that can stand on it’s own. Re­Animator was definitely on my wish list for a vinyl re­issue.

Was Richard Band involved in the remastering process at all?

He supplied us with the original 1985 tape reels of the score to master from, which was insane. One day, I received a package with these old tapes that helped create one of my all time favorite horror movies. It was just nuts.

I’m a fan, first and foremost, so communicating directly with the composers and directors has been sobering and really cool. I had a question regarding Re­Animator, and Richard Band suggested I call up Stuart Gordon, and he gave me his phone number. All of a sudden, I’m on the phone talking about horror films with the guy that directed Re­Animator, From Beyond, and wrote Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. 

The cover art for the release is done by Ghoulish Gary, and is amazing, can you tell us a bit about working with Gary? How did the relationship with him transpire? 

My old band was featured in Rue Morgue Magazine a couple of times. I kept seeing these write ups and features on their art director, Ghoulish Gary. I was immediately attracted to his art work. I thought, “Maybe I can get this guy to do a logo or a t­shirt for my band at some point”.

When Waxwork started, and I locked in Re­Animator it was a no brainer to contact Gary for art work. His art fits with the vibe of the movie. Working with him was killer. He’s a true horror lover, we chatted about the project, and the cover he created is amazing. He also designed the entire LP package, so there’s all kinds of other cool art from Gary on the inner sleeve, center labels, the poster.

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Do you have plans to work with Gary again on a future release?

Already in the works for an upcoming release in December.

You guys have announced Day Of The Dead as the second release, what do we have to look forward to with that one?

We tracked down the original master tapes, and that’s allowing us to use every musical cue from the film. Over an hour of music. It’s never been done before.
The score is incredible, and massively underrated. I think due in part because it’s often overshadowed by Goblin’s score to Dawn of the Dead.

We’ve been working directly with the composer, John Harrison. Former White Zombie guitarist, J. Yuenger, is mastering the release for vinyl and he’s all about it.

It’s going to be a double LP package, super heavy, old school tip­on gatefold jacket, 180 gram vinyl, we’re doing some really cool packaging on this release. George A. Romero happens to collect vinyl, and he’s thrilled about our upcoming Day of the Dead release. He even contributed liner notes, and that was totally unexpected.

We’re doing a record release for Day of the Dead in Hollywood. There’s going to be a screening of the movie, we’re going to be selling records, there’s going to be a Q&A after the film with both John Harrison and George Romero. It’s going to be great.

Can you say who will be providing the artwork for the Day Of The Dead release, or what the color variant will be (assuming there will be one, of course)?

Jay Shaw is doing the full package art for Day of the Dead. He’s a massive fan of the film, and he’s excited. I think his style of art fits perfectly with the overall vibe of the film. I love what he did for the Criterion Collection release of Repo Man, and his work for Mondo. He’s extremely talented.  There will be a variant of zombie flesh-colored vinyl.

There has been a handful of great soundtrack/score labels that have popped up the past couple years. Is this something that informs your decisions on what to release? Like, is there a “I have to put this out before Death Waltz does” kind of pressure?

Not really. I really want to put out great film scores from the movies that I love and grew up with.

I can’t speak for the other soundtrack labels, but I think it’s incredible that there’s a few soundtrack labels out there doing something similar. Death Waltz might release something that we would never have thought to go after, and vice versa. I feel like that’s great for everyone. For the fans who collect these records. It’s great for the artists, for the independent record shops, for the pressing plants, for the composers. It keeps the vinyl resurgence growing. Forward movement.

Can you tell us what you have in store after Re­Animator and Day?

We’ve been in talks with Harry Manfredini and Paramount for months now, and just last week we finally locked in the Friday the 13th films that Manfredini scored. I absolutely love the Friday films and those scores are true horror classics.

What’s interesting about those scores is that they never received a proper vinyl release. I believe that the scores to Friday parts 1, 2 , and 3 were sort of cut up and condensed into a single 12” release. That release is incredibly expensive and hard to find.

What Waxwork is going to do is give each of those releases a proper vinyl release. It’s never been done, but I’m a massive fan and I’m going to do those scores right.

If you could get the rights to any score, what would be your absolute dream release?

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre by Tobe Hooper and Wayne Bell.

In closing, what are your all time top three film scores?

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Psycho and The Exorcist.

Thanks again to Kevin for taking the time to chat. You can pre-order ReAnimator and keep up to date with future Waxwork releases HERE

It’s Only A T-Shirt’s Matt O’Neill Discusses ‘Patrick’, Future Designs and Sibling Pant Shitting – The Basement Screams Interview

It’s Only A T-Shirt is a new horror shirt company launched this month by Matt O’Neill based out of Melbourne, Australia. The company’s debut design, a wonderful image based on the 1978 Aussie classic Patrick, is available for pre-order now and is being printed in a strictly limited quantity of 200, each housed in a collectible VHS box package. I got pretty excited when I heard from Matt with the details so I decided to throw a couple of questions at him and see if it really is just a t-shirt.

Murphy Screams –  Being the new kid on the block in the horror shirt biz, what do you have planned to set yourself apart from the other companies that already have a strong following ?

Matt O’Neill– I’m hoping what sets us apart will be our unique packaging concepts, the fact that our Tee’s will be fully licensed, and the rarity of the item. So when you go to a horror con, you are the only person there wearing a Patrick T-shirt. I really want to evoke the artwork found on posters and VHS boxes back in the day. I also want to make it more than just a T-shirt, it’s not something you open, pull over your head and spill ice cream down. I hope they become collectors pieces.

Murphy– You said Patrick was an easy choice for your first design being an Aussie based company. Will there be a down under focus on future designs? (I’d love to see an Undead shirt!)

Matt- There will be a few Aussie flicks that get a look in for sure. We are not strictly about Aussie horror, we are looking at British, Spanish, Italian, Thai.. American everywhere! but i want to focus on films that have a small following. Everyone likes Freddy and Jason, and there are plenty of fantastic Tees out there already for those properties. I want to provide Tees for fans of  Patrick or Blood On Satan’s Claw or Raw Meat(I have my fingers crossed for a Raw Meat tee! – Murphy)

Murphy–  Can you give us an idea of what some of the next designs will be?

 Matt – I have a few on the go, and some are further along than others – the main problem is getting the rights. And I don’t mean it’s a problem as in paying for them, but rather finding out who owns some of these titles. Since some of the films are old, their production companies have long gone and it is hard to find where they now reside – but the dvd distribution company Umbrella Entertainment has been a great help in tracking down some titles. I can’t reveal the next T-shirt just yet, as I have promised that the good people who have already signed up on our pre-order list will find out first! but i can promise that it will be a ‘blood soaked’ affair.
Murphy – Are there any up and coming Australian films or directors that haven’t made it across the pond yet we should be looking out for?
Matt – There’s a guy called Cameron McCulloch who is creating some wonderful shorts at the moment, in particular ‘Home’ http://vimeo.com/16295101  one to watch for sure!
Murphy –  What got you hooked on horror? What are some of your favorite films/filmmakers?
Matt – A combination of ‘Michael Jackson’s making of Thriller’ at the age of 5, and holidays to ‘Whitby’ where Dracula was conceived. After that my mum would tape horror films off the BBC that were on too late, and i would get up at 5:00 am and watch them before my little brother would wake up and shit his pants (in fear, he didn’t have a shitting pants problem… I should point that out in case he reads this…) As a result my favourite films and directors have been shaped by the classics. Terrance Fisher is my number one, along with his films Horror of Dracula, Dracula Prince of Darkness, The Devil Rides Out.  However once I moved away from the UK to Australia a whole world of titles banned in my home country were available for rent so the later part of my life has been influenced by The Exorcist, Fulci, Deodato- so I like to think that I have a well-balanced out look on the genre.
Many thanks to Matt for answering my questions. Make sure you head over and pre-order your Patrick shirt before they’re all gone, and keep your eyes peeled for future designs from It’s Only A T-Shirt… It’s Only A T-Shirt… It’s Only A T-Shirt…