Justin runs Massacre Video, a small movie label from Michigan that specializes in the kind of movies Turner made. He got hooked on Turner's work after watching a gray-market VHS copy of Black Devil Doll, which is about a pious Christian woman who purchases an evil doll that makes its owner's "heartfelt desire" come true. "It was a very bizarre film that was not technically perfect, but for some reason I could not keep my eyes off the screen," he says.
Turner's films are as crude as the tapes they're filmed on. The sound is usually muddy, the lighting is terrible, and the acting is wooden at best. Many scenes drag on far longer than they should, and the stories themselves can be gut-wrenchingly vile. Turner directed, wrote, produced, and edited both with no prior experience and not much of a budget, but even though the odds were stacked against him, the messy pictures show occasional glimmers of brilliance and an idiosyncratic charm.
Around 2007 Justin began cold-calling Chester Turners around the country in search of the one behind the tapes, and last year he finally reached the man responsible. In the fall Justin rereleased Turner's work, remastering the movies and making it far easier for folks to score a copy of Black Devil Doll and Quadead Zone—the latter an anthology of shorts featuring a starving family of rednecks, an undead clown, and a woman who reads stories to her dead son. Before that, Quadead Zone could be pretty hard to find— Turner released and distributed it on his own, and as he told the Daily Grindhouse in October, that consisted of his selling VHS copies by hand to stores within a 25-mile radius of Chicago. According to the New York Times, an original copy of Quadead Zone sold for more than $1,300 last year. Fortunately, you won't have to pay that much to see the movie tomorrow evening at Lincoln Hall—it's $10 and starts at 6 PM, and Turner will be in attendance for a Q&A.
To prepare for tomorrow's event we've got an exclusive stream of the introduction to the Black Devil Doll soundtrack, which Poisoned Mind Records mastered from Chester's original tape for an upcoming vinyl release. Turner made the music for both of his movies with a chintzy keyboard, and though his songs share some of the amateurish messiness of his films, they're also eerie and a little unnerving. The folks at Poisoned Mind expect the vinyl to be ready in a couple weeks—until then stream the intro track below: