As announced recently, Nico B., the man behind Cult Epics, has partnered with Steve Aquilina (producer of horror films) to create a new boutique label called Reel Gore Releasing. I am extremely excited to say that Nico was generous enough to answer a few questions that we had for him about the upcoming label and what we can expect, as collectors. What he has to say has us even more excited (if that were even possible) to get our hands on these releases!
Be sure to read on after the interview, because we have some exclusive first peeks at artwork for Violent Shit and Masks. (NSFW, you’ve been warned) But let’s get into the interview:
The Nerd Mentality: Hey Nico, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. We here at The Nerd Mentality are big fans of your work with Cult Epics, and we’re extremely excited about your upcoming new label, Reel Gore Releasing. We know you are likely busy as hell right now preparing for your premiere release in August, so we’ll jump straight into the questions.
TNM: With the unveiling of the new label, a partnership with Steve Aquilina (producer of your first announced title, Violent Shit) was announced. Was working with Steve the catalyst for the new label to begin with?
Nico B: I’ve known Steve since the 1980s, he used to sell the Violent Shit 1 & 2 classics on VHS to my Cult Video mailorder/stores in Holland. For those who don’t know the original VS movies, they are the pioneers of cheaply made horror gore films on video made independently from major studios or censorship rules and are extremely gross and over the top, and therefore a blast.
Steve asked me recently if I would be interested in the new Violent Shit – The Movie for Cult Epics, as he heard about my re-issues of the Buttgereit (Nekromantik) films on Blu-ray. I didn’t think it would fit with CE, but then we started talking. He seemed to have released many international horror films in Germany that he had licensed or produced, a particular one that came up I was interested in for Cult Epics previously was MASKS. It seems that the Sony Pictures Classics announced deal was cancelled. MASKS will be the second release for REEL GORE RELEASING, a terrific giallo inspired thriller, extremely gory, stylishly directed by Andreas Marschall, who directed as well one of the episodes on GERMAN ANGST, together with Jorg Buttgereit. Jorg calls him “The German Dario Argento.”
TNM: How long had this project been in the works prior to the announcement last week?
NB: This was early this year, but probably 25 years in the making that Steve and me would work together finally.
TNM: What types of films do you envision Reel Gore Releasing will distribute, and what will set them apart from those that will release under Cult Epics?
NB: Cult Epics releases genre films which all have an artistic quality and that is just me, and have already a built in cult following whether I create it or not. Reel Gore Releasing will release horror films with no boundaries for gore hounds. I have been a fan of the horror genre since I was 13, growing up in Holland, where there is no censorship in film, it opened up my mind forever, always challenging my fears.
TNM: Related to the above question, all three titles that are currently announced for the label are from the 2010s. Will this label be primarily newer movies?
NB: We will introduce more recent gore films to our audience, as there are enough labels doing retro cult horror releases and the well runs thin. Whereby our focus is on an endless amount of old & new talented horror filmmakers, with films that mostly have not seen the light of day, and some of these films “because they have not been seen” will shock much more as it will be the first time people will see these. We be breaking rules, and senses; these films are not for the faint of heart.
TNM: As a side question, but one of importance, you do plan on continuing Cult Epics releases, right? How do you envision running a second label will affect your established operations?
NB: Yes, this year is the 25th anniversary of Cult Epics, and we will be re-issuing the Bettie Page films on Blu-ray for the first time in a new HD transfer and with new bonus features, as well my last directed controversial flick SIN will finally see the light of day. Also I will be releasing some of the biggest known cult films on Cult Epics, “literally”, in the near future. I suggest, keep checking our (newly designed) website for updates: www.cultepics.com.
TNM: What sorts of special features can we expect in these Reel Gore releases? Any exclusives?
NB: As these are mostly first time releases, they will include never-before-seen interviews with directors, producers and the stars, and making ofs. The first two releases will also include a Bonus CD, the Violent Shit soundtrack was composed by fame Goblin Claudio Simonetti, and Masks has an excellent score as well if you like giallo.
TNM: What lessons have you learned from your work on Cult Epics that you plan on doing differently with Reel Gore?
NB: I quote:
“Everything I learned in my life, I learned because I decided to try something new.” –David Lynch.
TNM: Anything else you want to say about the label and operations before we toss a couple packaging and collecting questions your way?
NB: We are operating between Europe and the US, all the printing will be done here, but Steve is aware of all the new films at festivals over there, ones that audiences have not seen here yet. We be releasing all films as BD/DVD combos, and sometimes with a CD if the soundtrack stands out by itself. That is like getting a mini LP in a sleeve as a bonus.
TNM: As collectors, slipcovers, steelbooks, numbered spines, and tangible extras in the packaging (art cards, double sided art on the sleeves, etc) are all signals that a distributor is prepared to go the extra mile for a release. Based on your recent Sex, Murder, Art release, and the fact that at least the first Reel Gore title will feature a Blu-ray/DVD/CD package, we are under the impression that you are in agreement with us that packaging and extras really count. What can we expect in the future for Reel Gore’s releases?
NB: We will cater to both horror fans and collectors, and we suggest to order in advance, for one thing you will be supporting us to get more films produced on BD/DVD sooner than later, but as well you “the audience” are sure to get the limited edition copies, each one individually numbered! The printing and packaging is high end, with Slipcases or O-rings which will include different artworks than the disc sleeve which will feature sometimes the uncensored covers, as well as CD Wallets, and Booklets.
TNM: Will there be a uniformity throughout the collection that Reel Gore releases? (numbered spines, similar art styling, branding elements, etc)
NB: The first release is RGR001, see spine, and numbering goes from there on. And yes logo branding. As well the first run of each release will have a surprise. I recommend for collectors to buy it in advance to get such, as only the first 1000 copies we ship will have this. And this is an exclusive for your site, as we have not announced such, yet.
TNM: How about region locking? Will these films be region free?
NB: Region Free.
TNM: Where will we be able to buy Reel Gore releases?
NB: They will be available through all retailers, but be sure to pre-order from Amazon.com and DiabolikDVD.com.
TNM: That’s it as far as label related questions, but we do have a couple of questions for you that are more personal in nature.
Besides Cult Epics, who is your favorite blu-ray label and what about them makes them special to you?
NB: I think most labels focus on too many genres, and they are all over the map, and therefore there is none for me, I like some of the films some of the labels have released, sure.
TNM: What is one movie that is on your bucket list to release?
NB: BLOOD ON MELIES’ MOON, the return of Luigi Cozzi (Contamination).
TNM: What has been your favorite release of your own so far?
NB: Well one of them was Cannibal Holocaust on laserdisc when I just started, and Exotic Dances of Bettie Page our first VHS in 1991, and Angst one of our latest, and so many more.
TNM: If you could go back and alter one of your releases, what would you change?
NB: No need only if it would be an upgrade to HD for Blu-ray, as I have always strived for the best release possible with the materials that were available at the time from which we produced, as I wanted to please both the director and audiences with their purchase but most of all having the experience of a film they have not seen before. Do understand most of the films Cult Epics have released were obscure previously, never available uncut or with subtitles, and in good quality, so anything was an improvement I think.
TNM: What does it take to run a label like this? How many people on the team?
NB: It is just Steve and me, our distributor and then a bunch of freelancers for art, production, website, social media, etc. As we don’t hold office all the money goes directly into purchasing and producing new titles.
TNM: What are the most rewarding and most obnoxious parts of running a label?
NB: Becoming friends with the artist; the director. And then sometimes the relation ends.
TNM: Also, because you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, any chance at giving us at least a hint at a future, unannounced title? Come on, you know you want to 😀
NB: The Curse of Dr. Wolffenstein, talking about extreme gore!
TNM: Thank you again for your time! We can’t wait for Violent Shit to release! Everyone, be sure to check in with Reel Gore Releasing on their website and social media links below:
And that, my friends, is that. Some really exciting news from Nico here, including hints at exclusive goodies for the first 1000 to order copies of each film, The Curse of Dr. Wolffenstein, and, as promised, an exclusive first peek at the artwork for Masks!
Be sure to pre-order your copy now at DiabolikDVD here.