Inside Retro Horror Remixes

Writers & Directors get all the credit and blame for films, but the role of the editor is vastly underappreciated. Especially when it comes to retro slashers and retro horror. Due to the efforts of people like editor Jim Markovic (Dr. Butcher MD) and producer Sam Sherman (Raiders of The Living Dead), many films deemed unmarketable or unreleasable in their existing formats were recreated from the ground up, re-arranging footage, deleting some, looping audio, and sometimes shooting new stuff altogether.

These days the spirit of the era is alive and well in fan Dustin Ferguson. Not content to wait for companies to provide the editions he wants, he edits uncut footage back into some films, and to others completely changes their context by re-editing them, adding new titles and visual effects. These are not replacements for the official releases but merely alternatives for the day-dreamers out there that always wondered “What if?” You can check Dustin’s website Retro Horror Remix (which is hosted on Freewebs ’cause he’s so hardcore retro).

What sort of software and tricks do you use to create your edits?
When I first started I used “Windows Movie Maker”. All of the edits created using that software never were released. The options were limited, and I think the edits turned out too amateur. I then started using Sony’s Vegas. It’s full of cool little things you can use such as color-treatment, film damage, bizarre effects, etc. With some edits, a cut I make may seem awkward so it can sometimes help to apply additional music or a sound effect during the transition to make the film change less noticable. Color-treatment is something I began experiementing with during my “Vintage VHS Edition” series, and is something I now use with every edit.

Can you tell us some of your favorite edits, or ones that turned out really well?
Some of my absolute favorite edits are “Asylum of Satan”, “Friday The 13th X”, “House of 1000 Corpses VINTAGE VHS”, “Carnival of Bloody Horrors” and the upcoming “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4″. All of those have something unique about them, they are all rather experiemental, and I think the flow of each edit is just perfect. These were all also downloaded the most.

What are some of the more controversial choices or edits you’ve made that you might have come under fire for?
Oh god, where to start. Back when I first started releasing these it was in conjunction with the infamous “fanedit.org”. I broke a lot of rules on that site over time and eventually got banned. A few edits that raised HELL there were “A Nightmare On Elm Street 0″, both “Friday The 13th” edits, and I was eventually banned over “The Town That Dreaded Sundown”! “A Nightmare on Elm Street 0″ was pretty much hated for it’s quality. The source I used for the edit was a TV rip, which once converted a couple more times got kind of pixeled in parts. That was a big issue. Both “Friday The 13th” edits were trashed to hell for their length. Each cut just barely 20 minutes long. However, I had the most fun making those 2 edits (as they were the biggest challenges), but got the worst feedback for those. Later, I made a “preservation” of a rare widescreen version of “The Town That Dreaded Sundown”. It is believed by most that this is a public domain film. So, after many requests for a physical copy (for those who can’t download) I decided to sell 1 copy of Ebay. It went for 9 dollars. The next day it was posted on fanedit.org that all of my edits were removed from the site for “getting caught selling a fanedit”, which is illegal. Well, it’s not exactly a “fanedit”, and the film is public domain, so I never understood the issue as there are atleast 10 bootleg copies on Ebay at any given time. Regardless, I was banned and I think it was for the best.

Can you explain the concept behind your “Vintage VHS Editions”?
When I came up with this idea, it was after the “Grindhouse” editions had just finished. I needed to do something unique that would bring the spice back to Retro Horror Remix. Usually, I only edit older horror films, but this time I would take NEW horror films and revert them to retro-paced flicks. New movies like “House of 1000 Corpses”, “Abominable” and “Evil Remains” were all made in a retro style. However, they had many modern elemnets which I felt brought them down. I would remove those (such as cell phone use, modern music, flashy cuts etc.) to create a new version that looks like it was ACTUALLY made in 1982. I over-cropped the widescreen images to give a old pan-and-scan look, added grain and brought out the reds and blues in the film. I had a lot of fun making these, and may return with more in the near future.

What’s the deal with your Scalps 2: Return Of DJ?
“Scalps 2″ is a fan film I made in 2007. The original film by Fred Olen Ray promised a sequel in the credits which never actually happened. Well, SCALPS is one of my all time favorite films, so I felt a sequel was due. After I announced this online, Fred emailed me himself to make sure I wouldn’t be distributing this for profit. Once I assured him it was being released FOR FREE, he seemed very excited about it and in a way this is the only unofficial, official sequel. It’s only 20 minutes long, and the actors were people from my place of work. We filmed at a real Indian Cave, and it features music from the original film. The story takes place 20 years later, 4 teens head off to do some exploring. Once one finds an Indian Arrow Head buried, it awakens DJ, the final girl from the original. She attacks and kills the friends leaving one girl left to carry on the legacy of Blackclaw. It was a blast to make, and someday if I had a budget, I’d like to make a better, longer version.

What are some of your ultimate “dream cuts” you’d like to put together someday?
The uncut “House of 1000 Corpses”. I have a couple deleted scenes on a DVD, but it’s not all of them, so many scenes would still be missing. To see a full version of that WOULD be a dream! Also, a composite of “Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3″ using workprint footage. I don’t have the time right now to painstakingly edit that all together, but I probably will in the future. The workprint of that film is awesome, but the quality sucks. I’d like to replace the scenes I could with DVD-quality scenes and insert the workprint footage troughout. When I have more free time that’s something I could really get involved with…

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About the Author

Editor, Retro Slashers. Producer, Sleepaway Camp 4.

9 Responses to “ Inside Retro Horror Remixes ”

  1. Dustin may well be the biggest slasher fan EVER. I stumbled across this site recently and was intrigued although I haven’t had a chance to watch anything yet. Looks promising…

    I do have to say that I believe The Town That Dreaded Sundown in not public domain. It is owned by the producer. Recently I saw Andrew Prine at a screening of Simon, King of the Witches and someone asked him about whether or not this movie would come out on DVD. He said that they (he and his wife) had been looking for the producer who owned it. I agree, it shouldn’t have effected your Ebay sale, especially if other people are selling bootlegs, but I’m pretty sure someone does own it.

    Great interview. And best of luck Dustin!!!

  2. glad someone knew who Jim Markovic is and was. I hired him to create the CODE RED opening logo for he was Terry Levene’s #1 trailer cutter. I announced I hired him, and no one cared. Now I got a diffrent opening logo.

    As for TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN, it’s own by MGM. It also has a valid copyright, and not public domain.

  3. See! We already have 2 different answers about who owns “The Town That Dreaded Sundown”! While Amanda By Night says it’s the Producer, Code Red believes it to be MGM. However, the only logo on my Widescreen print is “Orion”.

    Either way, I know now that it wasn’t a very good idea to offer it for sale. However, I still feel good about allowing one more fan the opportunity to view the film the way it was intended. Hopefully, MGM, Orion or whoever will get around to making a legit release soon! This film is entirely different in it’s 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It was like watching it for the first time again!

    BTW, CODE RED! Got any positions open? It would be a dream to work for a REAL horror releasing company!

    -Retro Horror Remix

  4. I would go with Code Red on this one. I am going by what an actor from the film believes. I have not researched it. I think MGM might own He Knows You’re Alone too. Anyway, based on a buyer friend of mine, they are notorious for NOT releasing their horror library on DVD.

    Alot of titles are bought and sold to various distribution companies and after awhile, the trail gets cold or there are no assumption agreements, which makes attaining rights, or even getting residuals, complicated. I think this is the case with Bad Ronald. Does anyone know for sure?

  5. Really interesting stuff. “The role of editor is vastly underappreciated.” Truer words never spoken! Good job Dan, taking matters into your own hands! I know there are a few titles out there I’d like to tweak!

  6. BAD RONALD was financed by Lorimar TV, which is property of WB. It funny you mention that film, because the guys at deadpit.com ask me in a recent interview. You can hear my rant on deadpit radio if it’s still up. It’s shocking WB hold so many titles we want to see, and in the end, it’s gets bootlegged like the japanese dvd of DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. Just plan dub from a ex-rental vhs. Geez.

  7. RHR said: “Code Red believes it to be MGM. However, the only logo on my Widescreen print is “Orion”

    Which makes complete sense…as MGM owns the Orion catalogue. Not public domain, either way you slice it.

  8. I understand it is not public domain now. At the time I released it, I was going by what I had previously found on other websites (for the links, you can find them on my site) which stated it to be public domain.

    Yes, I just found out MGM owns Orion, however the print I used was French. SO, I thought Orion was the overseas distributor as NO company in the U.S. has plans for a release, so I figured it was up in the air in America.

    No harm done – it’s not like I profited from that sale and if you go look on ioffer right now, you’ll find 4 copies for sale from various sellers that are sourced from MY WIDESCREEN PRESERVATION! While EVERYONE ELSE is cashing in on MY HARD WORK of painstakingly syncing up the VHS-sourced English audio to a PAL(?) French video source, I’ve already moved on to other things.

    Right now you can download my 2nd Directed film for FREE titled “Horror House” or I also just released a fanedit of “Halloween 3″ titled “The Last Halloween” which is best described as “12 minutes of total terror!” It is designed to cause physical side-effects in the viewer!

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