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Exhumation: Talking With The Dead: 15 Questions with Stephen Biro

Exhumation: (n) the act of digging something out of the ground (especially a corpse) where it has been buried.

This interview was conducted 10/04

Talking With The Dead: 15 Questions with Stephen Biro

5680_245946030530_4758111_n1. It is nice to see a company that is not afraid to pick a film and run with it, even when the film had horrific content. What is it in you and your company that has made you buck the trend of the “PC” world?

We are a horror DVD label and that’s what we want to release. Horror films, something that actually revolts and makes the viewer shrink back in horror. Having a couple of jumps and thrills in a film just doesn’t make a horror film. Now you ask, what is in me, personally that wants to buck the trend of PC horror. I want to fuck you up! Gross you out, make you freak and even hopefully vomit. I want to make our viewers have a reaction to our films. I want to psychologically torture our viewers for some unknown reason. Or even give them a weapon to unleash on unsuspecting friends and family. We already have a Disney for the feel good films for kiddies, so let’s unleash the worst films for the rest of us freaks. LOL

2. Do you consider your company more focused on Oriental horror, or would you be willing to release other great gorefests from around the world?

We have an office in Japan so it’s easy for us to get the Japanese stuff but we are moving into other territories. Aftermath is from Spain and is one of the most beautiful necrophilia films ever made in the world. Boy Meets Girl and Revenge of Billy the Kid is from the UK, Nails and Angst are from Russia, Guinea Pigs are Japanese while Black Sun: The Nanking Massacre is from China and we have more lined up from Canada and Germany and some more ultra gorefests from Japan that are brand new and that will make the Guinea Pigs looks tame by comparison. We will announce them and some of the trailers for these are hidden on our DVD’s as Easter eggs. So we have lots more lined up that should make the horror crowd stand up and take notice of our company.

3. Do you feel that the Guinea Pig Series is the definitive DVD that has put your company on the map?

It has definitely created the buzz we were shooting for. The Guinea Pig Box Set will be ready for January for North America so let’s see how that helps. Most people do bring up the Guinea Pigs over any of our films except Rock and Rule. They just have that whole history behind them that put them over the top.

453794h4. What goes into picking a film for your company, and how long does it take for it to get to your standards of release?

Is the film cool and would I be willing to watch this thing a couple of times? Then we ask ourselves if the film is freaky enough or unsettling enough to screw anyone up. If it hits these standards then we want it. The DVD release can take forever. Since we are an independent company, it takes us a bit but we are on the ball with major distribution set up and DVD’s finished so our line up will just get bigger and better as each month moves behind us.

5. Growing up, what films really got you inspired to be doing this today?

I was 7 when I watched the Omen 2. The scene where the guy in the elevator gets cut in half did it for my small yet unformed impressionable mind. Then Andy Warhol’s X Rated Frankenstein and the 40 viewings of The Evil Dead at 12 just warped me enough to get the idea going. Then I was into the whole underground bootleg thing back when boots where grainy 7th gen copies where the norm. I have a library of over 1000 tapes that I’ve been collecting for over 15 years. It would be over 3000 but I pawned tons of them for some unmentionables. LOL A little over 10 years ago, I got my hands on a boot of the Guinea Pig, The Flower of Flesh and Blood and thought it would be cool to somehow release them in the US to fuck everyone up. So I guess, follow your dreams. LOL Then could come true. LOL

6 . A lot of the films you guys put out use the old school approach of latex and make-up. What is your feeling on the abusive amount of digital effects we see today?

I feel that they are not using them they way they could be. A hybrid would work out great if you had someone who wanted to create a gore film. I do love the latex though; the way it feels on my skin … oh and the Karo Syrup with red food dye #6. Just can’t get enough of it. I have a couple of screenplays that are in the middle of financing by Media Vision. One is the sequel to Brian Yuzna’s Society called Society 2: Body Modification and the other is Drunken Master Vampire Priest. Both would have to have CGI in them, especially Society 2. I wrote the story of Society 2 in the tattoo, body modification underground where the creatures are covered in tattoos and since their bodies are malleable and totally morphable, the tattoos move and crawl along their flesh so CGI would have to be used and I’m game with that, only because I wrote Society with more blood and guts you can shake a stick at so tons of latex would have to be used. I wrote Drunken Master Vampire Priest to out do Peter Jackson’s Braindead and to bring the gore comedy back into the genre. I got everything in there, zombies, werewolves, vampires and a priest that knows drunken kung fu. It will be a non-stop barrage of gore, drunken kung fu, monsters and gore. I did mention the gore right? LOL so yeah, I’m a screenwriter as well. So far, all of my scripts have been picked up and I wrote Society 2 for the rights holder on demand. I love to write so hopefully, this can pull into a full time thing. Putting the finishing touches on 3 more scripts I’m writing then see what I can do with them. Oh, sorry for tooting my own horn. I guess I don’t mind the CGI digital effects cause I usually see where they can be used effectively in terms of a story but as long as they are used correctly, and with lots of real effects where the CGI is an enhance and not something that draws from the film, then it can be a good thing.

1251062h7. I know what we have seen listed on the site, but is there something really big and shadowed in the background that you will be dropping on us?

Yeah man but I can’t say until contracts are finalized and money changes hands. Then we will announce them. I’m really bugged out by some of these other companies releasing some great stuff and tooting their own horn while leaving some of the best films that deserve real releases that are sitting in plain site, on the shelves. If I had a half a million, then we would have the best of the best. Oh well, it’s not for love of money we are doing this, but love for the genre.

8. One series that no one in the States has been willing to touch is the Battle Royal series. Does Unearthed Films have the stones to pick this one up and release it uncut in the US?

One of our business partners was trying to sell it for North America before anyone really knew about it and while he made the rounds, the other companies scared Toho by telling them they would get sued over the kid violence because of Columbine. We were just starting out and didn’t have the $200,000.00 Toho wanted for it, then Toho pulled the plug because of all of the PC companies scaring them. Freaking pansies! I mean, Hello! Lord of the Flies! A film where 8 year olds are running around an island killing, each other and it’s in Blockbuster. People are just scared of themselves and it hurts the industry. So Toho, the Japanese company known for the Godzilla movies will not release the film in North America for fear of being sued. NOW, we will be going to Japan, sometime in the near future and we will be talking to all of our old friends to see what we can do and Toho will be a mandatory stop since they have some awesome films in preproduction and there is some gore anime we are looking at that we need to get in on the ground floor that no one knows about yet. We will see but so far, fear is the factor of Battle Royal not being released in the US.

9. What is your current opinion of horror in the US today, and would you ever consider backing a movie for theatrical running?

It’s getting better! More indie people making films but they are making a lot of crap, sorry to say. It is expensive to make a film, at least 60 to 80 grand, counting film stock and development and that’s at the least. 80 grand, make it on film with decent people that can act, decent effects and music and you can have a viable film but most don’t. They make these mini DV films that the foreign territories don’t want to buy and that’s where you can recoup some if not most of your money. So indie guys, get some money behind the projects and take your time. Think of your resume because that’s what a film is. Just because Lucas is filming Star Wars in digital doesn’t make a great thing. Professionals in the industry still frown on DV so remember that. As far as Unearthed Films getting backing and making films, we are already ahead of you. As I was saying earlier about Media Vision. They have 2 of my scripts in a row of 10 horror films in the middle of being financed. It’s called the Horror Dome, Frank Hennenlotter is slated for a film called Love is Hell, Drunken Master Vampire Priest no director out yet but it’s in the works, Society 2 Body Modification, Richard Stanley has shown interest but not finalized yet. In fact, click the link below for the news cause I can write for a long time with this…′ Fangoria – America’s Horror Magazine

I am excited about these cause, Unearthed Films would be helping with the production of these films. I wrote two of the scripts for the films and I wrote these with the express interest in giving horror fans, what they really want without worrying about writing something, just to sell it to someone without any talent or vision and so far, the people involved have ok’ed the scripts and are willing to take a chance on them.

phpthumb-php10. Is there a film that you have come across that you would NOT run with because of content?

I would normally say no but then I thought about it and the only film that I would think twice about is Salo 120 Days in Sodom. Everything else is open game and even then, we would probably release Salo.

11. Who do you feel we should be watching for as a young a talented horror director or make up artist?

Makeup artists, I have no clue. There is so many of them graduating from Savini’s school and Brasko’s school and so on. I think there is going to be a glut of them soon. As for directors, I though Jorg Buttgereit was going somewhere but he sort of disappeared from directing. Same thing with Olaf Ittenbach but after Promutos, his films sort of took a dive. Nacho Cerde has a promising career starting to kick so he’s the only director I can think of that shouldn’t disappoint later.

12. What is your feeling on the current trend on remakes in Hollywood?

That they suck. The only good thing about the remakes is that they are bringing horror back to the forefront again. Making the major retailers pick up more horror product which is good for us. LOL So far, none of the remakes have made me believe that they know what they are doing.

1408396h13. Are there any more G.P. films out there that we have not seen yet or that are in production?

Devil Doctor Woman/ Guinea Pig’s Greatest Cuts is coming out in January, It’s more of a gore comedy then true horror. Lucky Sky Diamond is a freaked out gore film that many think is a Guinea Pig Film but it’s not. We are trying to get our hands on that one for release but it’s held up in the courts from what I know. If the box set sells well over here there might be new interest in making more.

14. Do you feel that the Japanese have surpassed the Americans as far as the gore film goes?

Undoubtedly, their production companies are willing to spray the sauce for their population over there and since they don’t have a rating system that steers companies away from making bloodbaths, they are way ahead of us. It’s why many of our films are Japanese and for the simple reason, we are trying to bring films to the US that people haven’t seen. I’ve seen all of the US horror films and I’m not really interested in buying them after already owning them on video for years.

15. If you could change one thing about the genre, what would it be?

Get rid of the corporate theaters. If we got rid of those, then we would be open again for Grindhouse, independent theaters that would show whatever they want to again. With the death of the family owned theater, it drove the indie film makers into a corporate puppet show where only the biggest films are shown and promoted. Kill this and watch the horror genre explode with real theatrical releases, driving the genre into new heights.



Owner of Slit of the Wrist FX and producer, actor, FX artist and writer.

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