LEGLESSCORPSE: The Meat Box sounds like a fuckin’ awesome gift to the underground filmmaker fans out there. Tell us a little bit about the project and how it came about?
S.T. GULIK: Meat Box is a subscription box featuring underground horror movies, horror T-shirts, Girls and Corpses Magazines and occasionally something else if I run across anything worthy.
I like subscription boxes. It gives me a surprise to look forward to and a good deal on (occasionally) cool stuff. Unfortunately, there isn’t a box for people who like weird shit. Tons of people like 8-bit sunglasses and Voltron shirts. Good for them. They have Loot Crate, Nerd Block, Hero Crate, etc… I want a box with awesome special editions like the “ounce of flesh” Bouquet of Guts and Gore release, a Crossed ski mask, Ed Gein inspired housewares, Cavity Colors shirts, stuff like that.
I thought of pitching it to somebody established like Fred Vogel or Stephen Biro, but they are already busy doing what they do. Then I thought, “Why don’t I do it? I’m an extremely jaded, impossible to please horror geek with years of business experience, and I know enough filmmakers to put something really cool together.” I did some market research; people loved the idea, so I set things in motion.
Now, Meat Box is all set up and ready to go…all we need is subscribers. Our Kickstarter goal is $56,000, which seems high, but that’s based on the assumption that at least 500 of the thousands of horror fiends out there would like a service designed specifically to give them stuff they’ll love for half its normal cost. As of now, we still have to raise $55,362.
We chose Pieces of Talent and Necro Files as the first two films because they are famous enough that most people who are into indie horror have at least heard of them. POT is a masterpiece of independent cinema; every shot is breathtaking, every performance is perfect. It has everything you could want in a movie, executed flawlessly. The original 2-disc edition puts a lot of Criterion releases to shame, he literally ran out of room on the discs. This new edition is going to be even better. The Necro Files is a different kind of masterpiece. It has flying demon babies and rapey zombies. It’s a great example of a micro-budget cult classic that a lot of people have heard of, but most people wouldn’t know where to find a copy.
Originally, there was going to be a third movie in box 1. Making Off is a French dark comedy/horror about the dangers of combining horror filmmaking with no sleep and too many stimulants. Its humor is dry and its killings are brutal, but I had to bump it to box two because some of the items in the first box became more awesome and therefore expensive. Box two will have two other movies and a shirt. Box 3 is currently slated to have 9 movies and a Girls and Corpses magazine.
LC: You have interest from some awesome filmmakers that will be involved with the Meat Box; tell us who you have support from, and what we can expect from these filmmakers?
ST: It would be easier to give you a list of people I don’t have support from; everybody loves the idea. Filmmakers can get their work out there and make a big chunk of money in one go. Plus, the site is going to have write-ups on featured filmmakers with links to their stores so people can easily buy more of their stuff. Who wouldn’t want to get in on that?
Specifically, Joe Stauffer has been amazingly supportive. He’s making a whole new special edition for Meat Box plus the David Long masks and signed lobby cards. We’ve talked about doing a special photo shoot with David and Kristi Ray in a nuclear family setting. Matt Jaissle has also been great. I’m really excited to have Necro Files in the first box. Marcus Koch made me a bumper for Meat Box special editions. I look forward to working with him on all sorts of things in the future. Stephen Biro has offered to help me out with securing movie rights and various things. He’s been giving me advice for years. I’m hoping to work something really cool out with Jimmy Screamerclauz, but I can’t say anything specific yet. I’ve talked to Toetag, Dire Wit, Brink Vision, Apprehensive Films… The list is very long; check it out at http://themeatbox.net/Friends.html. I haven’t talked to all of them about Meat Box, but I have a lot.
Also, Ron DeCaro is working on the very first “Giblet”. Giblets are fifteen second horror shorts we are going to have on http://themeatbox.net/index.html. It’s a fun way for filmmakers to get exposure and try to one-up each other seeing who can make the sickest, weirdest, creepiest thing in 15 seconds.
I got the idea from flash fiction. A lot of author forums and crit groups have running weekly or monthly contests where they will write a story around 500 words and people will vote on them. All you win are bragging rights, but it’s a great way to tighten your skills.
LC: There are other horror subs out there, what is your ultimate goal with the Meat Box? Where could you see it within the next two years if it gets up and running?
ST: You know that one really cool store that probably already went out of business, but every time you’d go there you’d find a new favorite band or see something freaky on the TV you’d never heard of? Meat Box is going to be the subscription box equivalent of that, only better. Those stores didn’t do a lot of business, so they had to sell everything at a huge mark up in order to stay open. Since we are buying in bulk we can get much better deals on stuff. We have low overhead, so we’re selling the boxes for about five bucks over our cost.
Our ultimate goal is to put out a steady stream of our own releases. We want to help produce new movies and bring overlooked gems to DVD or Blu-ray for the first time.
There are other boxes out there, but nothing like this. We won’t give you a bunch of Freddy bobbleheads and trading cards. This is a DVD/Blu-ray heavy service. There will be shirts from companies like Rotten Cotton, Cavity Colors and Artpusher.net. If you get something other than that it’s going to be something like a realistic shrunken head or a set of handcrafted salt and pepper shakers covered in human skin. We don’t fuck around.
LC: You’re currently crowd funding for the first three boxes, correct?
ST: Yes. We are using Kickstarter as a presale to get the ball rolling and also as a test to see if this is really a product people want. I chose Kickstarter over Indiegogo so that people wouldn’t have to worry about losing their money if we don’t fund. A lot of people are still waiting to see how many other people pledge. I know this because I did a survey asking what people thought of the product and one of the questions was “I haven’t pledged to Meat Box because…”.
Either people want this and they are willing to buy in, or they don’t. If it doesn’t fund I will be sad and out a lot of money, but putting this together has been a great experience. I’ve met a lot of really cool people.
LC: You’re passion for the underground horror scene is certainly present in the campaign. What films originally got you interested into underground horror flicks?
ST: As a kid I watched a lot of old Troma and Fred Olen Ray movies on late night TV. I started raiding video store cut out bins when I was eight. I think it was Bloodsuckers From Outer Space that inspired it to grow from a hobby to an obsession. At a flea market when I was 10 there was a guy with a table full of classics and video nasties. I asked for the most fucked up thing he had and he sold me my very first copy of Pink Flamingos. John Waters redefined my definition of extreme cinema. I’ve spent the rest of my life looking for things that can top that. I got really obsessed with seeing every horror movie ever made. When I got the internet, I made friends all over the world who could get me stuff that wasn’t available here, so I got into Guinea Pig, Giallos, Jorg Buttgereitt. That stuff wasn’t easy to come by back in VHS times. Kids today don’t know how good they’ve got it.
Perfect example, I read an article about August Underground having issues with its release because some of the people who made it thought it was too vile to actually release. So I hunted Fred Vogel down and talked him into selling me a copy. All he had at the time was a screener VHS, but he splattered it with blood, drew me a picture and included two personalized notes. It’s still one of my most prized possessions.
LC: What film or filmmaker would be your ultimate achievement for the Meat Box?
ST: Back in 1991, Martin Campbell made a great Lovecraftian TV movie called Cast a Deadly Spell. It was awesome, but nobody knows it exists. Three years later, Paul Schrader made a sequel called Witch Hunt starring Dennis Hopper, also awesome. Again, hardly anybody has heard of it and neither have been released on DVD. There was supposed to be a third movie, but it never happened. Ideally, I’d like to release a Blu-ray containing the first two movies uncut plus the third that we produced. We would like to send special items to random subscribers, so one lucky person might get a mystery crate containing a life-sized shoggoth, or something.
If I ever run across a magic lamp I’ll wish for Peter Jackson to go back to his roots. Imagine a movie like Bad Taste done with LOTR money.
It would be awesome to work with Shion Sono, Takashi Miike, Guy Maddin, or Alex de la Iglesia, but Meat Box is more about showcasing filmmakers who have that level of talent, but not the notoriety.
I’d also like to make a movie based on the Crossed Comics.
LC: What’s the best way for people to get their hands on the first exciting Box of Meat, I mean Meat Box?
ST: They can go here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1001348407/meat-box-an-underground-horror-film-subscription-b and pledge some money. They will only be charged if and when Meat Box funds, so there’s no reason to wait. It’s there right now. Really. Click the link if you don’t believe me.
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