Exhumed Films

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Exhumed Films
Film Organization
Founded 1997
Headquarters Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Key people
Dan Fraga, Joseph A. Gervasi, Harry Guerro, Jesse Nelson
Website Exhumedfilms.com

Exhumed Films is a Philadelphia-based "organization devoted to showing horror movies for the benefit of their fans."[1]


Exhumed Films was founded in 1997 by Dan Fraga, Joseph A. Gervasi, Harry Guerro and Jesse Nelson. Saddened by the lack of local venues for obscure horror and exploitation films, they decided to organize a venue themselves. Their first screening took place on October 24, 1997 at the Harwan Theatre in Southern New Jersey and consisted of a double feature of films by Italian director Lucio Fulci: Zombie and The Gates of Hell.

With the earnings from the first show, the group planned another event the following February and officially took on the name "Exhumed Films." Since its founding, Exhumed Films has hosted "over 70 film screenings in seven different theatres across New Jersey and Philadelphia"[1] as well as working with Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema and the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

Exhumed Films is firmly committed to screening film prints in their programming:

"...people are considered film programmers because they hit a play button. There’s no element of trying to track [the film print] down. The look, the texture, of film is really important. What makes it unique is that it’s very fragile. Every time you’re playing it, it’s getting a little worse. Oftentimes, the films that we’re showing is different than what’s on video--there’s a little bit missing here, there’s a little bit added there--so we felt like film from the beginning and we want to stick with film until the end."[2]

Screening locations[edit]

Exhumed Films originally presented screenings at the Harwan Theatre in Southern New Jersey, with a one-off 3-D presentation of Friday the 13th 3-D at the now-defunct GCC North East Theater in Philadelphia. When the Harwan closed, Exhumed moved on to present screenings at a nearby Hoyts Theatre until that location also closed. Following the closure of Hoyts, Exhumed screenings took place at Cinemark Theater in Somerdale, New Jersey. In 2002, Exhumed began screenings at the Broadway Theatre in Pitman, New Jersey. Exhumed screenings took place at the Broadway from 2002 until 2005. Since 2005, Exhumed Films's primary venue has been the International House Philadelphia, although they sometimes make use of other venues as well.[3]


Dan Fraga[edit]

From the Exhumed Films web site:

Dan is the unofficial treasurer of the group. He maintains the group finances (translation: he makes the bank deposits) and writes the cheques when it’s time to pay the bills. Any profit that the organization makes off of a screening is immediately put into a fund to finance future shows. By day, Dan teaches English at a local high school. His connection to The Harwan goes back to his teenage years, when he used to perform at screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show held at the theater.[4]

Joseph A. Gervasi[edit]

Co-founder of Philadelphia's Cabbage Collective, a group that put on grassroots DIY hardcore punk and spoken word performances, Gervasi also edited NO LONGER A FANzine and co-edited Philly Zine. Gervasi co-owns DiabolikDVD.com with fellow Exhumed Films member Jesse Nelson. Gervasi created LOUD! FAST! PHILLY! and co-conceived The Valerie Project with Greg Weeks.[5]

From the Exhumed Films web site:

Joseph has been instrumental in arranging publicity for the Exhumed screenings. Being the only group member living in Philadelphia, Joseph is often saddled with the unenviable task of pasting flyers and posters all across the city. Joseph has also informed newspapers and magazines about the shows and is responsible for much of the positive press we’ve received. Like Dan, Joseph had a history with the Harwan: during the 1980s, he organized punk rock shows at the Harwan theatre as a founding member of Orgasmic Productions (which later moved to Philadelphia along with Joseph and became The Cabbage Collective). He appeared on WHYY FM’s “Radio Times” program with Todd Morris and Deborah Twiss, the creators of the films A Gun for Jennifer in March, 1999. Joseph has formerly edited NO LONGER A FANzine and he founded Bizarre Videos in the early 1990s and co-founded Diabolik DVD, Inc. with Exhumed Films member Jesse Nelson in 2000.[4]

Harry Guerro[edit]

From the Exhumed Films web site:

Harry is responsible for inspecting all of our rented prints and checking for problems with film quality. In his basement, Harry also houses Exhumed’s growing collection of theatrical horror trailers. Most importantly, Harry is responsible for designing and creating the impressive handbills and posters that we use to publicize the shows. Harry is a serious collector of rare 16mm and 35mm film prints and thanks to his tenacity and connections he has managed to procure many of Exhumed Films rare prints.[4]

Jesse Nelson[edit]

Jesse Nelson maintains the official Exhumed Films site, and is co-owner of DiabolikDVD.com with fellow Exhumed Films member Joseph Gervasi. Founded in 2000, Diabolik DVD specializes in import DVDs.

From the Exhumed Films web site:

Jesse created and maintains Exhumed’s website: www.ExhumedFilms.com. On it, he provides information about upcoming events, offers directions to whatever theatre we are screening at and fields all e-mail and questions about the group. Jesse has also been responsible for booking some of our most successful screenings, including our infamous Friday the 13th 3-D show, another sold-out show at another now-defunct theatre in North East Philadelphia. In 2000, Jesse started a successful DVD importation business, Diabolik DVD, Inc. with Joseph. Diabolik DVD is now the most successful on-line import DVD retailer in North America. Jesse hides his secret identity as a horror movie mogul by posing as a mild mannered internet and telephone sales manager during the day.[4]

Films screened[edit]

The following movies have been shown at Exhumed Films screenings:

24-Hour Horrorthon[edit]

Exhumed Films is perhaps most widely known for its annual 24-Hour Horrorthon. This event is a 24-hour program of horror features, shorts, and trailers. The Horror-thon has previously been held the weekend before or after Halloween, although the 2010 program took place October 30–31. The 2008 Horrorthon took place over the weekend switchover for Daylight Saving time, making that year's program 25 hours instead of 24.[6]

The first Horrorthon took place in 2007 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Exhumed Films.[7] Each Horrorthon has taken place at the International House Philadelphia.

The lineup for each year's Horrorthon is a closely guarded secret. According to Gervasi: “I think if the people knew what they were seeing they would pick and choose and chart when they were going to be there,” explained Gervasi. “It creates a sense of excitement where you have no idea what you’re going to see.”[8]

Attendees are given a booklet with clues as to what films will be shown, but otherwise only the members of Exhumed Films know the lineup in advance. For the 2011 show, the film The Dead (2010) was shown in its Philadelphia premiere, marking the first time any of the films in the show lineup had been announced in advance.[9]

eX-Fest and Go Ape![edit]

In addition to their regular programming and the 24-Hour Horrorthon, Exhumed Films planned two other long-form screening events in 2011: eX-Fest (a 12-hour program of exploitation films held on 7 May 2011[10]) and Go Ape! (a marathon screening of all the original Planet of the Apes films held on 31 July 2011[11]). A second annual eX-Fest was held on 29 April 2012. Read a review of the 2012 eX-Fest by Cinedelphia.com.


External links[edit]