CONTACT THE VAULT MASTER
E-mail: vault_master [at] bmoviefilmvault [dot] com
THE HISTORY OF THE VAULT:
Before the “B-Movie Apocalypse” I was a mild-mannered film nerd just trying to make his way in the world. Then after a sudden rip occurred in time and space, the horrific denizens of countless Horror, Exploitation, and B-Films spilled over into our reality. What caused this apocalyptic anomaly no one will ever truly know (I personally blame that accursed Large Hadron Collider), but thankfully the knowledge I obtained from watching a copious number of movies saved my life.
For years I traversed a terrain filled with monsters, mutants, and madmen while occasionally finding other survivors (including one annoying fellow who lamented the loss of his reading glasses, and another who carried out a one-man war against some feisty albinos) until I finally came across an abandoned studio lot. I ventured inside and found refuge in an old film vault that was loaded with film canisters, plus a battered (but working) 35mm projector! (What luck!) But I would soon discover that I was not alone, for within this vault there was trapped a small family of wish-granting Hobgoblins!
Though their magical gift could be downright deadly, the little critters were quite lonely and we eventually formed a mutual bond, banding together to survive in this strange new world. With plenty of time to kill, I hunkered down in the lower levels of the building, growing paler by the day, and began working my way through the stockpile of prints from the vault. And since the power and internet were both still miraculously working, I began writing about the films I watched, hoping that someone would read my words in the future if life ever returned to some form of normalcy…..
THE REAL HISTORY OF THE VAULT:
OK OK… obviously none of what you just read happened (at least in this corner of the multiverse) so let me tell you the less exciting (and far less grim) true origin tale of how I spent two decades of my life obsessing over and writing about b-cinema! How did this madness all begin? Well pull up a seat and take a trip back in time with your friendly neighborhood Vault Master!
I was born in 1983, and grew up amid the VHS rental boom that took this country by storm. There was a mom & pop establishment right across the street from my first home called ELECTRIC CITY VIDEO (a small chain called NATIONAL VIDEO, and the juggernaut that was BLOCKBUSTER both resided relatively nearby as well), and I would spend a large chunk of my formative years wandering the aisles and ogling the wonderfully enticing VHS cover art, particularly everything in the Sci-Fi and Horror sections. (i.e. The good stuff my mother wouldn’t rent for me.)
At this time there was a lot of quality programming on cable TV (e.g. USA’s UP All Night and TNT’s MonsterVision) I was also feeding my developing brain a steady diet of books featuring monsters, cryptids, UFOs, sharks, and dinosaurs, (mostly Marvel) comic books, Toho’s kaiju flicks, and video games! (Particularly from the NES, SUPER NES, and SEGA Genesis era.) But all that I loved was… not exactly socially acceptable. Because of my disinterest in sports and enjoyment of all the aforementioned things I just rattled off, I remained an outcast throughout my grade school and junior high years. But once I hit high school things got a bit better because it was obvious that the nerds were winning the pop culture wars! (A bittersweet victory that we’re all enjoying the fruits of today!)
1998 was truly a landmark year though Vault Dwellers because that’s when my parents bought me my first, honest-to-goodness, desktop computer. Boasting a Windows ’98 operating system, this bad boy had a 250 GB hard drive, Minesweeper and Solitaire, plus I could send e-mails and chat with people anywhere in the world at any time with AOL’s handy instant messenger! All of humanity’s knowledge was at my fingertips and kilobytes (and sometimes megabytes) of information flowed through my own personal phone line! And that’s when it happened… I came across a website that would forever change my life (sigh… no, it wasn’t porn), not to mention my personal taste in film.
Wandering across the world wide web for hours, I stumbled upon BADMOVIES.ORG, a site dedicated to “the detriment of good film.” After a a week or so, I had read every single one of Sgt. Andrew Borntreger’s reviews and poured through all the multimedia on his site. Needless to say, I was hooked! Inspired by BadMovies.Org (and Andrew’s other website, the long gone Andrew’s Monster Island) I set up a Yahoo Geocities account, and haphazardly slapped together my very own Godzilla fanpage, which I dubbed G-FAN CENTRAL. (This was sometime in the middle of 1999 I believe.) It was pretty amateurish, but it was something I could call my own. And though I was proud of it I was not fully satisfied with the results of my labors.
Eventually I abandoned that prototype website and struck out to start a new one. Armed with a beginner’s guide to HTML that I borrowed from a friend, and fully inspired by the efforts of Sgt. Borntreger, I set up a small website elsewhere on Geocities and called it J-Dawg’s Sci-Fi and Horror Movie Review Site. This terribly-named site consisted of an entrance page, a home page, a links page, and two review archives: One for b-movie reviews; the other for reviews of theatrical films I had recently seen.
The design was awful and damaging to the eyes: The majority of the text was lime green, and the graphics were all neon eyesores existing on a jet black background. For some reason, I decided that every review should have a different color scheme, and my writing was simply atrocious. My amateurish “reviews” consisted of a (sometimes lengthy) recap of the film with a few sentences at the end sharing my thoughts and opinions. Plus I totally ripped-off the review format of Badmovies.Org, though Andrew didn’t really seem to mind. In fact he was frequently helpful and supportive of his website’s “illegitimate offspring.”
As I showed my new site around and garnered a bit of constructive criticism, I began the long quest to build a website worth visiting. First thing was first though. I needed to change its name. How I got around to renaming my site The B-Movie Film Vault I can’t truly recall, but it’s what I ran with at the age of 17 because I thought it rolled off the tongue nicely. (Years later, I still catch a bit o’ flack from some of my friends who think B-Film Vault or B-Movie Vault would have been a sufficient enough name.)
With a new name in place, I began an insane marathon that would last a few years, resulting in over a hundred movie reviews. As a result of my constant writing and web-editing, I got better at it. The reviews got a bit meatier, and though they still resembled the ones over at Badmovies.Org, there was a definite “divergent evolution.” I also changed the color scheme (white text on a dark background proved to be much less murderous on people’s retinas), added new sections, and started up a new clique of reviewers on the web, namely “The Rogue Reviewers.”
Originally we were just a loose conglomeration of sites (which included the likes of Varied Celluloid, B-Movie Central, The Monster Shack, Shadow’s B-Movie Graveyard, and various others over the years) that formed to do themed roundtables. But surprisingly we eventually grew into a more tightly-knit group and worked together to create a webzine that catered to independent cinema, while still focusing on cult, exploitation, and b-films as well. That webzine was (the now defunct) Rogue Cinema!
After serving as a founding member for many years, I eventually left Rogue Cinema behind because I was starting to experience some major burnout from generating so much content for the webzine on a monthly basis. After a break, I threw myself back into working on The B-Movie Film Vault which at this time was littered with broken HTML code, bad links, and typos, and suffering from a case of poor web design. In early 2006 I set about remodeling The Vault from the ground up, giving it a new color scheme and design (which included Frames and No Frames versions) that lasted for a whopping seven years!
I continued to add more (improved) reviews and began seeing the fruits of my labors as my traffic continued to grow, however this proved to be a double-edged sword. While I was ecstatic that people were visiting my site in increasing numbers, I wasn’t particularly happy that the site would shut down when it reached its daily traffic quotas. And since I wasn’t paying for “premium service,” The Vault’s increased popularity was becoming a liability. And that’s when fate stepped in.
In late 2006 The Vault would find a new home when a generous benefactor made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. The proprietor of Shadow’s B-Movie Graveyard had some extra webspace on his server and offered it up to me if I paid for a domain name. I couldn’t say no! Twenty bucks and two days later, www.bmoviefilmvault.com went live on the web and a lot of incredible things have happened since then:
I’ve been quoted on book covers (namely Chris Watson’s Joe Estevez: Wiping Off the Sheen & Badass Women of Cinema) and multiple DVD & Blu-ray covers (most recently on Severin Films’ release of CRUEL JAWS), attended multiple conventions where I’ve met celebrities and childhood heroes, been invited to film festivals and press screenings, been interviewed by a writer from FlushtheFashion.com and other publications, and have made many new friends and acquaintances in the indie film industry and online reviewing community!
These past two decades have been a wild ride to say the least Vault Dwellers and it’s all thanks to you – yes, YOU! I greatly appreciate that you’ve taken the time to wander into my little corner of the web to read my thoughts and/or listen to my podcasts. Without your continued support, this little hobby/experiment that began back in 2000 would have vanished from the web like so many other sites and blogs have. You are truly the lifeblood of The B-Movie Film Vault and you all have my eternal gratitude!
Update: September 14, 2019 – Though Reocities died a couple of years back, another company has reconstituted old GeoCities websites for posterity. That means that the OLDE Vault Archives are back online! You can view them HERE and see just how terrible my site used to be!
Update: June 7th, 2013 – The B-Movie Film Vault turns 13 and says goodbye to the old HTML site and hello to a new blog-style site! While I’ll miss the old Vault, I’m super excited to be able to spend more time writing instead of manually typing out lines of code!