F.A.B. Press are without doubt the leaders in film book publishing with some of the greatest genre books available including :
By Robin Bougie
Stemming from porn connoisseur and all-round good guy Robin Bougie’s cult magazine Cinema Sewer, readers are no doubt already acutely aware of the first two volumes previously released in book format by FAB Press.
Now it’s time for Volume Three, which – in the words of the back cover’s blurb – offers a "mind-melting compilation of gonzo writing, illustration and comics about the most insane, awkward, hilarious and outrageous movies in the history of film". I’ve stolen the cover’s précis because it’s as good a summary of the book’s contents as you’re likely to find. Or cum across, as Mr Bougie might put it.
So, let’s take a closer look at the contents this time around:
The writing is indeed of the gonzo variety for the most part, and is all the better for it. Long-time collectors of Bougie’s sporadic fanzine will recognise some of the content as being handpicked from issues 17 to 20 of "Cinema Sewer". But even if you were there between 2005 and 2007, there is still a whole shitload of new material thrown in to make this worth the most ardent fan’s time. As for those who haven’t experienced the magazine (or perhaps even the first two tomes) previously, all of this will be new to you – and you should prepare to have your jaw dropped. Bougie is the chief contributor once again, and is credited as overall editor. Other contributors on this occasion include Mike Sullivan, Don Guarisco, Josh Simmons, Tim Grant and more.
The writing style remains the same as ever: smart, funny, amiable in a drunken pal kind of way, and wilfully irreverent. This volume includes excellent interviews with the likes of Kelly Nichols (porn star who got nail-gunned in THE TOOLBOX MURDERS), Peter O’Brian (Indonesia’s RAMBU – if you haven’t seen this awesome film, you must), adult actress Jody Maxwell (of THE DEVIL INSIDE HER fame) and Bianca Trump, porno video slut-turned-white supremacy campaigner. Not your run-of-the-mill interviewees, I trust you’ll agree. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg; there are many more fine subjects quizzed within these pages, all answering the type of questions YOU’D like to ask them.
Elsewhere, the book is chock-full with a random approach to articles (Bougie’s love of the FEMALE SCORPION films; a nice revue of Chen Ping’s impressive career) and to-the-point reviews of a fantastic array of exploitation films (choice titles: SUPERVIXENS, RITUALS, THE FINAL SIN, TRUCK STOP WOMEN, MIDNIGHT HEAT, VICE SQUAD, DEEP RED, GIRLS RIOT, BLOODSPORT ... An eclectic bunch, as you can see). The reviews are delivered in the now-traditional "Cinema Sewer" style of bawdy humour and almost unassuming knowledge. They’re warm, enthusiastic and a pleasure to refer to time and again.
As with previous volumes, the illustrations peppered throughout the book are as filthy as much of the text. Bougie in particular enjoys a penchant for rude dawbings of blowjobs, scuttling and facial cumshots (there’s a great drawing of Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx having a drug-fuelled [anal?] fuck with model Vanity, presented as a visual aid to an extraordinary account of the one-time slutty socialite’s ill doings). So don’t leave this book around for your Granny to find. Some of the monochrome photographs used are no less graphic: you have been warned.
If the illustrations used to complement the fine writings of Bougie and co are to be marvelled upon, then so too are the aforementioned comics. Whether it be Mike Myhre’s crude but enjoyable recanting of how he first saw legendary smut flick TABOO, or David Paleo’s rendering of one of OVER 18 ... AND READY!’s most infamous moments, these cartoonish graphics are loaded with big-titted and sweaty images that will raise more than a smile.
In short, the formula of the first two book instalments has not been changed, altered or modified in any way. And why should it? They are justifiably popular, incredibly entertaining and – vitally – enduring books that can be enjoyed repeatedly for their wit, wisdom and pure wank-inducing energy.
This third paperback tome offers 192 pages, all presented in black-and-white with a mixture of typed and (quite literally) scribbled text scrambling for space alongside stills and the aforementioned illustrations on each page.
It’s all been put together quite spectacularly by editor and publishers alike, right down to the sterling cover art by Vince Raurus.
Buy with confidence.
Review by Stuart Willis
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By Nathaniel Thompson
Revised, updated and expanded, this April 2011 edition of Nathaniel Thompson’s guide to more weird and wonderful films on DVD now also includes fresh details of subsequent releases the world over, including blu-ray editions.
A modified introduction from Thompson is as succinct as ever, briefly pondering over the state of the DVD industry in recent times (the increasingly short shelf-life of new distributors, etc) before drawing to a quick summation, enabling the reader to reach the real meat of the matter: the reviews.
Incorporating contributions from the likes of Kim Newman and Brad Stevenson, Thompson covers a wealth of titles in an agreeable amount of detail. The films are quite rightly afforded most coverage, while concise but informative disc information closes each review.
And, what of the films taken in? As is the norm for the consistently impressive "DVD Delirium" canon, a wide variety of titles are covered – from the more obscure recesses of trash cinema, to mainstream movies that retain a certain interest factor for exploitation fans. As such, readers can expect to see everything from a lengthy examination of the GUINEA PIG series, through the likes of THE BEAST OF BLOOD, THE MANSTER, LE CERCLE ROUGE, KILLING SPREE, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, VERSUS, IN A GLASS CAGE, both versions of THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED and several retellings of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, to Hollywood fluff such as DIE ANOTHER DAY and Tim Burton’s BATMAN.
A few of the more recent Arrow and Blue Underground blu releases get their mention, as does the awesome "Full Dossier" High Definition edition of APOCALYPSE NOW. Which should act as some indication as to how up-to-date this revamp strives to be.
Writing styles are fluent throughout, never suffering from the fact that several contributors are concerned. Full credit to Thompson on that editorial note. The reviews are largely consistent in their tone (authorative without being condescending; light but not trite) and, generally speaking, in their length. Any longer reviews tend to be the handiwork of Thompson himself, whenever his obvious passion for his subject overcomes him.
If anything, a lot of the write-ups of the films are somewhat kind. But then, what fun would it have been traversing through page after page of jaded grumbling? Even though Thompson and co are perhaps more charitable than those reading (although Newman’s slating of NUTBAG is amusingly spot-on), you quickly get the measure of their outlooks and resultantly they are extremely reliable.
This is also a satisfyingly meaty tome – 570 pages – but remains easy to peruse by retaining the trusted A5 paperback format. Text and illustrations (DVD or blu-ray cover art for each title) are in black-and-white throughout.
I do have a gripe though. On the back cover, FAB Press claim that this book may help you save money by enabling you to dismiss the odd DVD that you’d previously been considering buying. In my case this is untrue: I’ve already been compelled to order the Swedish blu of THE BABY OF MACON and the region 1 DVD of HORROR after a first reading – and now have a shopping list so long that only the sale of a vital organ on the black market will fund it.
It goes without saying, DVD DELIRIUM VOLUME 2 REDUX is an indispensible guide to great cult films available (or out of print, in some instances) on digital format.
Nathaniel Thompson addresses his reviews with intelligence, enthusiasm and wit. There is also an incredible amount of knowledge evident (his insight into even the smallest 21st Century productions suggests he must watch every DVD extra going – does the guy not sleep?!). Other contributors keep the standard up and, overall, this is a fantastic point of reference that readers are sure to return to again and again.
Just look after your internal organs, as you too may need to sell them to help bolster your collection once this book has sunk its teeth into you ...
Review by Stuart Willis
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By Nathaniel Thompson
It's been four long years since Nathaniel Thompson (he of Mondo Digital fame) last edified us with his thoughts on some of the most intriguing DVD titles around.
Here, as the one-page introduction from Thompson acknowledges, a lot has happened in the interim between volumes and he's moved with the times to incorporate reviews of Blu-ray discs, as well as maintaining a handle on reviewing the DVDs we all consider owning.
And so it comes to pass that, following that brief introductory nod to the advances in recent years and a mulling over the great work come-and-go distributors have done in getting plenty of unexpected titles out there of late, Thompson effortlessly kicks off from where we last found him ... and continues to offer a well-written, often witty and always informed account of each title reviewed.
What's immediately impressive about his reviews here is Thompson's easy readability. He could be rewriting the Koran but it would mean fuck all if it was long-winded and indigestible: thankfully, our host has a snappy, personable writing style that makes even the longer reviews totally engaging.
What's also impressive about this 400+ page tome is that the author spends an equal amount of time discussing the films under scrutiny, as well as the discs they're proffered upon (as well as frequently detailing alternate options). As such, it becomes - much like the preceding three volumes - a great reference point for the discerning DVD/Blu-ray buyer.
Reviews come with basic credentials listed above the main bulk of text (year of film, whether or not it's in colour, running time, aspect ratio etc). Then we get to the good stuff - Nathaniel offering oft-humorous takes on the films at hand, but keeping it all detailed and accurate throughout. And amazingly upbeat! He seems to find something positive to say about even the worst films.
The disc reviews are honest without ever resorting to unhealthy bitching (even the listing of alternative releases is presented in a very friendly and diplomatic manner).
But, more pertinent than all of that, I suppose people want to know what type of films are being reviewed here. Fuck me, just think of a genre title that's found its way onto DVD in the last four years ... if it's one that interests you, the likelihood is it's here.
Here's a very brief snapshot of titles on offer, which will hopefully give you an idea of the scope of the coverage on offer:
FERNANDO ARRABAL COLLECTION VOLUME 2; BLOODY MOON; INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS; QUEEN OF BLACK MAGIC; KILLER'S DELIGHT; LET THE RIGHT ONE IN; PETS; SPLATTER FARM; THE BED-SITTING ROOM; FOOTSTEPS; DERBY; OM SHANTI OM; IMMORAL WOMEN; EMBODIMENT OF EVIL; DEVIL HUNTER; RUNNING HOT; WET WILDERNESS ...
A personal highlight for me were the several pages Thompson devotes to reviewing some of Synapse's 42ND STREET FOREVER compilation DVDs. He goes the extra mile here, providing brilliant facts that everyone needs to read to appreciate.
Throughout the book - a compact affair that comes in all black-and-white text offering monochrome reproductions of original DVD cover art on each page - you'll find constant surprises in terms of titles chosen for review, and come away in awe of the depth given to each review (and wondering how the fuck Thompson found the time to give each film/disc such attention to detail).
If you already own any of the previous editions of FAB Press's happily growing serial, then you'll already know that this is an indispensable piece of literature. If not, I thoroughly recommend it.
The only problem is, if you buy this book you may need to do so when you have lots of spare cash in your bank account. Because these reviews are very persuasive, and you WILL be drawing up a shopping list of must-have DVD titles within days of reading this book …
Review by Stu Willis
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By Nigel Wingrove and Marc Morris
Originally released in 1998 by Salvation, "The Art Of The Nasty" was a celebration of pre-certificate video cover artwork. Taking in the most weird, wild and garish of video covers that graced UK shelves prior to the introduction of the Video Recordings Act in 1984, the book sold out quickly and soon became a much-sought-after collector's item.
Now it's back, issued under licence from Salvation by the wonderful FAB Press, in a "fully revised, updated and expanded new edition".
Priced at £19.99, this new hardback version offers a high standard of paper (it smells gorgeous) over the course of 168 glossy, all-colour pages. The entire artwork from the original book is reproduced, but with an impressive amount of new information throughout.
First off, there's a brand new introduction from Wingrove which runs alongside the original introductions that he and Morris penned 11 years earlier. Reading the older introductions back-to-back with the latest one, scribed in July 2009, is very interesting indeed. Wingrove highlights how censorship in this country has changed somewhat throughout the last decade, touches upon pornography and inevitably finds time to squeeze in a reference to own his enfant terrible, VISIONS OF ECSTASY.
The new introduction is three pages long. But don't worry, that's not all that's new.
After the introductions, comes the main body of the book: the video covers, adorning each page in glorious colour, with brief notes for each film/video release at the foot of each page.
Split into several chapters, first up we get "The Official Nasties", which affords us the opportunity of revisiting classic salacious artwork for the likes of THE DRILLER KILLER, SS EXPERIMENT CAMP, ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS and more. Alternate covers are included wherever applicable, making this a completist's dream.
What immediately becomes apparent when settling in to "The Official Nasties" is the healthy amount of fresh text given to many of the titles. It's mainly information on BBFC decisions that have been overturned in the last decade, or various uncut DVD versions of films that are now available. But it's all good stuff, predictably pin-point accurate and well-written throughout.
This pleasing trend is continued in "Nasties On Parole" - "33 films the DPP (Department of Public Prosecutions) failed to convict". Here, we're treated to yet more interesting horror and sleaze from those halcyon pre-cert days - I MISS YOU HUGS AND KISSES, UNHINGED, THE SLAYER etc.
ABDUCTED, THE BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL, DEATH TRAP and SHOGUN ASSASSIN are among the titles that are glorified in third chapter "The Ones That Got Away", celebrating films that were lucky to have escaped the DPP's watchdog eyes in the day.
Chapter four is titled "Nice And Sleazy Does It", and lives good on it's title with some gorgeously depraved artwork from videos such as THE RED NIGHTS OF THE GESTAPO, LET ME DIE A WOMAN and VIOLATION OF THE BITCH.
"The Good The Bad And The Vomit-Inducing" checks out some of the more zany titles that crept out onto UK video in the early 80s, including INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS and SUSPIRIA among many others.
And then, as with the original book, events come to a close with a comprehensive list of notable pre-cert titles and the video companies that released them on these shores.
The book remains a pleasure after all these years, an easy-to-use quick reference guide to a bygone time of truly remarkable advertising and marketing. We're never going to see the likes of these video covers again - they deserve to be celebrated and have become a landmark of modern art in their own right.
"The Art Of The Nasty" was a great, eye-grabbing way to revel in these covers when it was first released. That pleasure has not diminished with time; in fact, with the revised text on many titles, it is even more indispensable now. It's also worth pointing out that this really is an up-to-date revising too - it even makes mention of Code Red's extremely recent Region 1 DVD release of the enjoyable TRAPPED.
Often amusing with it's put-downs of lesser films, always informative - each film is listed with it's alternate titles, year and country of origin, director, video label and even running time on videotape - and stunningly designed, "The Art Of The Nasty" deserves a place on any horror fan's book shelf.
Review by Stu Willis
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Edited by Robin Bougie
Canada-based writer and illustrator Robin Bougie's "Cinema Sewer" has forged a reputation over the last two decades of being a magazine filled with irreverent, witty and insightful meditations on all manner of schlock, exploitation, sleaze, horror and - predominantly - porn.
When FAB Press released the first "Cinema Sewer" book in 2007, a compendium of the best bits from the magazine's first ten years along with a massive side-order of new stuff, it served as the perfect introduction for many to the insane comic strips and 'scrawled essay' style that Bougie has made his own. The one problem with the book was that it couldn't house all of the author's collected thoughts, scribbled-down musings on films he'd seen and interviews he'd collated over the years. And so, FAB Press have done the decent thing and published a second tome to accommodate the ones that got away.
So what does "Volume 2" offer? Happily, more of the same. The presentation has been duplicated, beginning with another striking cover illustration from the immensely talented Vince Raurus. Inside, the book offers more coarse comic book-style pages littered with scrapbook-style cuttings of scrawled black-and-white text and filthy doodling - many of the drawings being of women ramming various objects up their arseholes.
Contents-wise, we begin with a brief 2008 introduction from Bougie explaining the need for another volume, and highlighting that this latest book is a mix of old and new articles (including some revisions of older reviews). Acting as editor as well as chief contributor, he's aided and abetted on this occasion by his wife Rebecca Dart, Ed Brisson, Jan Bruun, Colin Upton, madcap illustrator Hugo, Ed Varuld and Josh Simmons. From the offset, the passion Bougie has for his subject is obvious.
Then comes the meaty stuff. Review after review of some of the trashiest films ever made. Most of them are obscurities and it's thrilling to have a book with such informed yet droll write-ups on the likes of WHITE HOT and WONDER WOMEN. Bougie has a clear love for the films he reports on and his enthusiasm is infectious: he successfully elicits a desperate need in the reader to hunt these films down. All of them, save for KIT KAT: EXPERIMENT 17 which does indeed sound far too nasty to sit through ...
Often complemented by rude doodles, the reviews cover a lot of pornography, but also a surprising amount of more mainstream stuff (THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT; THE THING) as well as throwing in stuff like lists of favourite films. These make for entertaining reads and good sources of debate. For instance, should THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE really feature as number 2 in a list of the thirty best classic porn films? THE TAMING OF REBECCA is number 1, incidentally.
Often a work of sheer self-indulgence, "Volume 2" is overwhelmingly positive in outlook. It's written by genuine fans of extreme cinema and hence its only predictable element is that there is nary a bad review within these pages: the book has been fashioned around what Bougie wants to enthuse about. Fair enough!
Aside from the reviews, occasional articles, random streams of consciousness and the odd personal recollection (my favourite being about how a seasoned porn starlet proved to Bougie that years of anal fisting hadn't compromised her backdoor muscles), there are some excellent interviews on offer too. Intelligent, relaxed and unpretentious, these provoke candid and revealing answers from the likes of Dorothy LeMay, Bo Arne Vibenius and Carter Stevens to name but three.
Deliberately ramshackle in terms of layout, the book has a DIY aesthetic that screams punk chic while the text goes along with this by offering an unrelentingly renegade attitude. Those expecting the usual glossy, tidily designed layout of a typical FAB Press publication will be surprised - but don't be put off; the scruffy look of the pages may at first be jarring, but what you'll find is this is one of those books that you can open at any page and simply lose yourself in. Even hardcore fans will be pleased to hear that Bougie has once again provided plenty of fresh material to work alongside the stuff that's previously been published.
Endlessly edifying and amusing over the course of 192 pages, "Cinema Sewer Volume 2" comes highly recommended. Be warned though, the text holds nothing back in way of description and the accompanying monochrome illustrations are strictly of an "adults only" nature.
Review by Stu Willis
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The Untold Story of the Exploitation Independents
by Stephen Thrower
Nightmare USA - an authorative study of American exploitation cinema from the 1970s…where does a reader begin? Probably the same question author Stephen Thrower asked himself when he first sat down to write this massive 500+ page sprawling heavyweight tome (and one he tackles succinctly in the extensive preface and opening introduction).
Rather than go through the motions of ticking the boxes of the exploitation stalwarts (Last House, Texas Chainsaw etc). Nightmare USA takes one helluva potentially dangerous gamble by devoting its page count to the underbelly of the exploitation scene with coverage of movies so rarely seen that even the most self professed connoisseur would be hard pushed to admit having viewed; some even so questionable in entertainment value you would perhaps ask if you'd want to!
For some this would ask the question why would I want to read about a movie that I would barely waste time watching (a perfectly reasonable assumption) but once you start making your way through the pages of Throwers sumptuous tome you soon embrace what is a voyage of discovery for a inevitably maligned genre scene. Sure, movies like Frozen Scream or Don't Go In The Woods Alone are for me borderline detestable and don't even deserve the pleasure of a fast forward button (no, straight to the unwatchable category here) but for every Frozen Scream there's a Deadly Spawn, Don't Go In The House or the work of Frederick Friedel (everyone simply must track down his recent Bloody Brothers, a true reimagining that laughs in the face of George Lucas's re-imagined efforts) and with Nightmare USA you not only get extensive detail of all these films productions but you get to dig right down into the fetid underbelly of the filmmaking scene of that era.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful film books ever produced, Nightmare USA though is not without its faults - for myself, the sheer weight alone of the book was just too much making it tricky to physically read (reading this casually on the couch or in bed is a definite no-no unless you want to break some limbs) and taking onboard the fact that Thrower himself admits that covering the subject will need more than this one volume it may have been more considered to present the Nightmare USA series as a longer running series of books; it would have been lovely to have had say an eight volume series of smaller hardback volumes lined up on any bookshelf.
As I said though, Nightmare USA is perhaps the finest book ever produced on the subject on American exploitation cinema - skilfully and informatively written and packed throughout with some of the rarest and most beautifully garish imagery ever to see print there is little to not tempt even the most spendthrift genre fan. Book of the year? No doubt.
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Edited by Robin Bougie
Ooooh, dirty sex, violent filth, mondo gore…where has Cinema Sewer been all my life and why is it only now that with the publication of this FAB Press compiled collection that this droolworthy magazine has only come to my attention? Who knows and really who cares as at least we now have in our grubby hands the opportunity to check out what small numbers of Canadian underground film fans have had the good fortune to enjoy for some time now.
The sleazy brainchild of heroic pervert Robin Bougie, Cinema Sewer has no airs or graces whatsover and just gets right down to business with its graphic frivolous coverage of all things filthy - whether that be the career of porn hottie Britni, the legendary Linda Lovelace, the rape and snuff movie scene or the bewildering weird world of Asian porn manga; it's all here in entertainingly dispensable bitesize articles garishly illustrated throughout with graphics you could almost get your rocks off to (…well,ahem, if you're deranged that is!)
Whilst entertainingly trashy throughout the book does also touch on some welcome attacking commentary on stories such as former porn star Marc Wallace who knowingly faked medical certificates and continued to work in the porn industry when he became infected with HIV (despicably going on to infect a further six or so victims) as well as welcomingly savvy commentary on the zealot attacks by factions on the adult movie scene. Also great to see is contributions alongside Bougie's core work by SGM favourites such as Jake of Bloody Skull Comix and Kier-La Janisse.
But serious critique's aside lets not forget the core theme of this fine throwaway sleazefest and that is filth which Cinema Sewer wallows in by the bukake spunk filled bucket load. The most entertaining piece of filth I've read in quite some time and hence essential reading for all you likeminded Sex Gore Mutants - check it out!
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by Jack Stevenson
Jack Stevenson has proven himself to be an intelligent and highly entertaining read in the past, with books such as LAND OF A THOUSAND BALCONIES: DISCOVERIES AND CONFESSIONS OF A B-MOVIE ARCHAEOLOGIST and the superb ADDICTED: THE MYTH AND MENACE OF DRUGS ON FILM.
With WITCHCRAFT THROUGH THE AGES (which also boasts the lengthy sub-title THE STORY OF HAXAN, THE WORLD'S STRANGEST FILM AND THE MAN WHO MADE IT), Stevenson excels even his own high standards in an attractively compact 130-page essay covering all aspects of Benjamin Christensen's seminal art flick.
Opening with the grand statement that HAXAN (the film) is "the first cult movie, a genuine 'film maudit' (literally a 'cursed film'), the first true feature-length documentary ... and so forth", Stevenson's devotion for his subject matter is immediately apparent. But, far from being a sycophantic slurry of superlatives, our guide delves deep into the background of the man that made the film, the political relevance the movie had in it's time, the sources of research for it's many startling set-pieces, and so on.
In terms of his own research and investigating further into the motivations of those involved, Stevenson's work goes beyond being merely comprehensive - it's as thorough an examination of any single film that you're likely to find.
Early chapters impressively delve into Christensen the man, and devote themselves to earlier works of his such as THE MYSTERIOUS X and BLIND JUSTICE. The Making of HAXAN - original title THE WITCH - comes under close scrutiny too, as does the 1960's theatrical re-release, complete with narration from author William S Burroughs. Stevenson goes on record defending the re-release and rubbishing the claims from critics that the movie should never have been tampered with.
Archive interviews are dredged up and translated for further insight into the man behind this truly bizarre, stunning picture.
WITCHCRAFT is extremely well-written too. Stevenson's vast knowledge of his subject is complemented by sincere opinions, an impressively wide vocabulary and - most importantly - the ability to engage his reader. Humour is apparent in Stevenson's musings, and elevates what could have been stuffy and pompous to an immensely enjoyable, cultured read.
For example, witness the wry captions that accompany the black-and-white photographs (of which there are many, all carefully placed throughout a well-designed layout).
Speaking of layout, FAB Press have designed the book to give it an attractive appearance from one page to the next. Chapters are considerately separated and the various appendices (including an excellent Christensen filmography section, that goes so far as to offer synopses of each film) are easy to navigate.
The best compliment I can give this excellent tome is that I hadn't seen HAXAN in years, since suffering the lacklustre Redemption VHS. Having read Stevenson's book, I felt compelled to order Criterion's Region 1 Special Edition - which now sits proudly in my collection as one of my favourite discs.
This book, roughly the same height and width as an Amaray keepcase, is a perfect accompaniment to the DVD. Highly recommended.
Review by Stu Willis
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The International Guide to Weird and Wonderful Films on DVD! Volume 3
Edited by Nathaniel Thompson
Regular readers will know that ever since the first volume of DVD Delirium hit the shelves we here at SGM have pretty much been in a state of almost orgasmic delight with each new edition of this simply essential genre fan book. For those uninitiated in the delights of DVD Delirium, we have a book with a page count exceeding 600+ pages with quite literally 100's of film reviews that not only offer entertaining critique but for the DVD fan offer giddyish amounts of DVD release information - simply, if you're a genre fan and you buy DVDs you have to pick up all three volumes of DVD Delirium.
With this third edition we get more of the same (in the best possible sense), which reflects the bombarding DVD release schedule that is the cause of inevitable wallet damage to many genre fans. And the extensive coverage that DVD Delirium offers (with our wallets in mind) is exactly why I love this essential review collection; having been a purchaser of DVDs for many years now I have to confess to becoming slightly jaded - most of us could take a look at our own personal DVD libraries and if we were to be honest how many of those film we have will we ever likely watch again? How often do you come home with yet another DVD purchase and quietly sneak it into your collection before your better half asks 'another DVD? Do you really need that?' And yes, unless someone discovers the secret of eternal life it's likely we'll never watch again that obscure drive-in video nasty that we actually hated previously but had to have as the DVD is a remastered special edition? With each edition of DVD Delirium we have salvation in curbing that unnecessary expense. Nathaniel Thompson and his knowledgeable co-contributors offer up yet more informed critiques of many of those genre movies that it's nice to be reminded about but not necessarily 'need' to have for the 'collection'.
Volume three offers a cracking mix of genre related though admittedly quite a few questionably not so. Always welcome for myself is any coverage for the work of Alfred Hitchcock and the team deliver yet again (especially so with so many dubious poor presentations of his early work floating around on so called public domain releases). Also welcome in this edition is the sterling coverage of the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films; long an important part of my youth TV viewing in forming my love for film in general but perhaps for a few debatable for its inclusion in a book on the subject of 'weird' films. This feeling is at times pushed more so when you realise that you're reading coverage of mainstream animated Batman movies (though this is thankfully minimal in the slew of truly bizarre film reviews) but perhaps reflects the fact that this may see the winding down of this particular line of genre book (highlighted by the fact that the index in this volume covers all three editions). And with the arrival of Blue Ray and HD-DVD will we see another line of genre index tomes in a few short years time? That said, until future technologies are fully embraced we'll continue to salivate over the goodness that is DVD Delirium, film reviews will always be film reviews no matter the viewing format (I still pour over old video review collections) and once again I can confidently assure you that you must buy this book (along with the other two editions). Essential for genre film fans, perfect portable genre reading (bed, toilet, train and so on) and hey if you're criminally inclined its so weighty you could even use it to smash the window of your favourite DVD emporium to steal those must have releases (though we would never condone such actions of course). At under £15 its cheaper than one retail DVD, you have no excuse - buy this now!
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The Complete History of Zombie Cinema
By Jamie Russell
Of course the time is ripe, zombie are back in vogue; following the success of undead mainstream movies such as 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead and the (unwelcome but watchable) Dawn of the Dead remake everyone wants in on the living dead action (even Lord of the Dead George Romero managed to monopolise by getting the Hollywood big wigs to bank roll his lackluster latest entry into his Dead series). So why should not fine purveyors of genre tomes such as FAB Press grab a slice of the action? Me. I'd rather see the fine folk at FAB Press get some folks hard earned for some zombie fun ahead of hacks like Uwe (House of the Dead) Boll. So with welcome open arms Jamie Russell's 'Book of the Dead' arrived here at SGM Towers but would this be another quick cash in of a resurgent genre scene?
The simple answer is a firm 'no' (well come on now, it's FAB Press we're talking about here!) Sure most less caring publishers would have quickly turned around yet another tired overview of the most popular zombie movies, but that would bring nothing new to the table of the flesh hungry undead fan so here Russell looks in detail at absolutely everything living dead; from the zombies origins in Haiti voodoo culture to the first filmed visitations from beyond the grave through the poverty row b-movie era as well as the welcome standards of the Italian classics (and not so) right up to present day with the aforementioned latest Romero opus 'Land of the Dead' and beyond. So whilst there is some familiarity with the genre from the past thirty of so years there's stacks for even the most hardened zombie fan to get their teeth into in this insightful volume.
And as ever with any FAB Press publication, the book is packed with hundreds of flesh eating lavish illustrations (film stills, posters and more with the colour sections looking simply stunning) but whilst even this should be more than enough to sate your interest FAB Press and author Russell give us so much more. In fact, if an intensive detailed overview of the zombie scene wasn't enough then you'll be thrilled to see that 'Book of the Dead' also contains a lengthy A to Z of just about every undead movie produced! Again, most other publishers would have no doubt issued such a filmography as a separate volume but the folk at FAB so here we literally get two zombie tomes in one impressive volume (either of which would have been more than worthy of your hard earned cash).
Yet another hands down winner for FAB Press and a work of impressive stature by author Jamie Russell. 'Book of the Dead' is subtitled as 'the complete history of zombie cinema' and they're not kidding you, it truly is. A damn fine overview of the undead genre and an enticing precursor to the forthcoming FAB Press publication of Steve Bissette's mouth watering volume on the cannibal scene (I've read the rough draft and it's a cracker) which will make for essential reading companions. You're reading this so you must be a zombie fan - do yourself a favour and pick this gem up now!
Review by Alan Simpson
For ordering details click here
The Exploitation Career of Tony Tenser
By John Hamilton
If truth be told, when I heard that FAB Press where about to release a book about old school film producer Tony Tenser I was somewhat wary. Why publish a book about one of the guys involved in the great UK exploitation house Tigon pictures when you'd perhaps be better producing a book about Tigon itself? Well the truth of the matter is that Tony Tenser is Tigon and I'm more than happy to report that all my preconceived worries were very much wrong as author John Hamilton has delivered one of the finest industry retrospectives to see print.
'Beasts In The Cellar' is not just a film book about one mans career, it is in fact the ultimate snapshot of an era of British cinema that has long been lost in the soulless environ of the modern multiplex and mainstream Hollywood blockbuster; a tale of when the film scene was exciting and exploitation was the order of the day. Author Hamilton not only interviews the great man Tony Tenser at length but everyone worthwhile from that period; each with their own special reminisces about the era - some good, some hilarious and some unabashedly shameful but the grand total of which makes for a very unique insight to Tensers career and the exploitation cinema scene in general.
It's all in here, the truth about filmmakers such as Michael Reeves (and his troubled production of the seminal Witchfinder General), the breakthrough discovery of dangerously egotistical legend Roman Polanski or the dwindling years of genre stars such as an ageing Boris Karloff, an irate Vincent Price and greats like Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee (even Black Beauty makes an appearance, yes you read right!); never a more honest and insightful look into the period you'll ever likely read.
Censorship obsessives also will be fascinated at Tenser's open candor about his working relationship with old school BBFC censor John Trevelyan as he explains the truth about how the system worked and its impacts on his film output (as well as Trevelyan's later working partnership). Also is extensive detail about the relationship he and Tigon held with infamous UK genre stalwarts Hammer Films.
In fact the level of fascinating detail held within this volume truly is stunning and along with the fact that (as ever for any FAB Press tome) the book is lavishly presented with reams of rare images (campaign materials, posters, personal photographs etc) and lengthy detailed appendixes on every aspect mentioned I have absolutely no qualms in saying that this is without doubt the most sumptuous FAB Press publication to date. Not just a historical overview of one great mans career but a definitive study of a much missed era of exploitation cinema and perhaps the greatest film book ever produced (I kid you not!) A stunning volume and an essential purchase, John Hamilton and FAB Press we salute you - please, waste no time and buy this immediately!
Review by Alan Simpson
For ordering details click here
By Tom Mes
It's unlikely that any British horror movie fan needs to be told about the truly stupendous publishing company called "FAB Press". Here is a company that produces probably the finest selection of cult and horror cinema books in the entire world, and each one is always intelligent, informative and absolutely beautiful to look at. Well, here's their latest tome, and it's from Japanese-cinema specialist Tom Mes, who previously brought us the world's first in-depth look at wonderkid Takashi Miike.
This time, a more familiar director - Shinya Tsukamoto - is the person under Mes' watchful eye. And, as I've come to expect from FAB Press, it's another excellent piece of work, running to a worthy 230 pages.
Starting right from the director's birth, and leading up to films that aren't even released yet in the Western world, this extensive book covers all of Tsukamoto's works, from the famous "Tetsuo" series, to lesser-known works like "Vital", "Gemini" and "Hiruko The Goblin". Each of the 12 chapters cover practically everything you could ever want to discover about this outstanding and constantly innovative man. Imagine the perfect behind-the-scenes documentary on DVD, converted into a book, and this would be the result!
To break up the text, there are hundreds of photos to relish. Some of the best ones, have been saved, and are placed in the book's central full-colour spread. And the colour does them real justice, highlighting the cinemaphotography and grotesque imagination that Tsukamoto has. (Check out pages 98, 106 and 107, to see what I mean!)
For the most-part, the text is easy to read and digest, but there are rare occasions when the reader needs to know a lot about some of the more technical aspects of the film industry. However, these are so infrequent, as to be minor hiccups in an otherwise glorious book.
After the main body, there is a detailed filmography and DVD guide, listing which of the director's works are available, and whether or not they've been censored. This is excellent for readers, and something I applaud FAB Press for including in these particular titles.
If I had but one complaint about this, and some of the other FAB Press books, it's this: originally FAB Press started off publishing these director-specific tomes, under the aptly named "Director's Series". (Volume 1 was Ruggero Deodato; Number 2 covered Lucio Fulci, and the third one, Dario Argento.) It's a shame then, that this book, and the previous one, "Agitator" weren't also released under the same label. Perhaps FAB Press might consider re-printing and re-releasing the Deodato, Miike and Tsukamoto works, as Volumes 1, 4 and 5 respectively, in deluxe, hardback editions, so that they all matched one another? Mr Harvey Fenton, sir, I believe you would be the man to direct this question at?!
This minor issue aside, "Iron Man" is another excellent read, for anyone even remotely interested in Japanese cinema, or the director himself. FAB Press really gives genre readers books that are not only practical and informative, but double-up as excellent coffee-table books, that are wonderful to simply browse through as well. I can't recommend this - or any of their other works - enough! Tom Mew is obviously someone who really sees the greatness in Eastern cinema, and it shines through, in this book! Superb in every respect!
Review by "Pooch".
For ordering details click here
The Legend of Camp Blood
By David Grove
'Friday the 13th' - a seminal horror classic or the plagiaristic bastard american offspring of its European giallo forerunners? Either way you look at it, it's a film that you cannot ignore. Myself, I absolutely adore the film and it's many half assed sequels. Why? Because it unashamedly is what it is…an unpretentious gory teen slasher movie and simply the best of its ilk. When Warner Brothers (yeah, Warner held the UK rights) first unleashed an uncut X print of the movie onto video here in the UK I fell in love with it immediately and it's a machete strewn love that has never dissipated since (even through countless day/night long Friday the 13th video marathons at home!)
So when I heard that FAB Press were about to publish a book about my favourite horror movie series I had very mixed feelings indeed. On one hand I felt that the publication of a book on my favourite series was long long overdue…on the other hand I was somewhat cautious of what would be delivered on my beloved horror line and would it do justice to the same?
Thankfully, with David Grove at the helm we are presented with the work of a man who is obviously far more obsessive on the subject than even myself, but whilst his obsession makes for deliriously intense reading it does on occasion detract from the subject material. That aside, 'Making Friday the 13th' is without doubt essential reading for any likeminded fan of the series. Grove has taken the time to not only sit and discuss ever Friday the 13th movie (and even the TV series!) with all the producers, filmmakers and effects teams involved but has made the supreme effort to chase down even the lowliest of bit part actors for their reminisces of their involvement.
It is this level of detail that should be highly commended but it is this that at times detracts also. For me the fact of the matter with the 'Friday the 13th' series is the pleasure comes from Jason and his kills - so the key players here are the filmmakers and the effects team, the teens on the other hand are simply kill fodder (Hitchcock had the right idea about actors in relation to cattle when it came to creating fear and suspense in movies) so details of various young actors TV soap career background may have some readers skimming forward to see what the 'real' creators of the flesh and blood show have to say. And thankfully as the filmmakers and effects teams from each movie do indeed have plenty to say about their own hand in the cinematic bloody mayhem there's plenty to sate fans of the Jason legacy.
As a likeminded long time fan of the 'Friday the 13th' line another key element I hoped to have clarified with this welcome tome is the long discussed censorship of each movie and what was indeed actually filmed and edited for inclusion on the gore front? In the main 'Making Friday the 13th' delivers the goods with details and discussion of some key splatter moments of the movies (including great detail of how some effects were done) but likewise for me there wasn't the 'definitive' detail of every cut enforced in each of the movie, when considering the final segment of the book is a breakdown of ever kill victim I feel there is an opportunity missed in not including frame by frame details of footage excised as this is essentially the core of the series. That said, the confusion to this area is in itself exemplified by effects guru Tom Savini himself when he somewhat misguidedly states (in relation to the classic first 'Friday the 13th' movie) "there's nothing that's actually missing in the film" which we all know is not true as scores of fans eschew the cut US R rated print in favour of the European uncut version on DVD for the gorier footage - so clarification around such a grey area when even folk like Savini are confused is perhaps not surprising. Either way, it all makes for fascinating reading.
'Making Friday the 13th' is long overdue and wont disappoint the legions of fans the film has. David Grove's attention to detail and extensive research is exemplary and even for the reams of never before seen on set and behind the scenes pictures alone this books worth the entry price alone. Myself, I'm thrilled that at last someone has seen fit to present us with a long overdue overview of the series (more so one that will present healthy discussion amongst likeminded fans). It's also been the bane of my love for the series also as I'm now planning along overdue Friday the 13th movie marathon - one so personally obsessive that I've just bought a 3D shutter glass system and hunted down a 3D copy of the infamous part 3(D) of the movie…damn you David Grove and FAB Press (in the nicest machete welding way of course!) Friday fans - buy this one immediately!
Astounding Artwork from the Video Nasty Era
By Francis Brewster, Harvey Fenton and Marc Morris
It's a strange one, twenty years on and we're still obsessing about the infamous 'video nasty' era - although most of those long taboo banned home video titles are now easily available uncut and remastered with pristine image and audio on DVD from import sources we still have an allure to those elusive hunks of video tape packaged with unashamedly lurid packaging. And it is that cornucopia of sleazy graphics that form the basis of this shamelessly gorgeous FAB Press tome.
Most SGM readers will be familiar with the work of the books contributors - FAB Publisher Harvey Fenton has long been acknowledged for his love and candour for the genre through his many publications, likewise Marc Morris is another fan come good through his work with Redemption, Anchor Bay and his own Mondo Erotica. So along with like-minded video collector/enthusiast/obsessive (whatever you want to call it, these guys fall into any of these categories - in the best sense of course) Francis Brewster bring to us a collection of the most exploitative and garish video nasty cover galleries to hit your senses to date.
Whether or not you where (like myself) old enough to remember the thrill of perusing the shelves of unrated horror delights before the authorities said 'NO!' I've no doubt that you'll find plenty to here to keep you enthralled. Each of the hundreds of garish blood breast and blood filled video covers is lovingly presented clean and blemish free looking as though it has just came from the desk of some drooling graphic designer gone mad. The quality of the artwork varies from the downright woeful (Rank's cover for 'Vampyres' looks to have been put together by Tracy the office typist with her felt tip pens one slow Friday afternoon) to the all consuming graphic design classics (like Vipco's 'Zombie Flesh Eaters' cover which is without doubt the finest piece of horror film graphics of the past twenty years).
So it goes without saying that 'Shock! Horror!' will be of great interest to genre loving readers out there - but with previous 'video nasty' collections out there (especially with notable cover collections like Allan Bryce's own series available) do we really need another video nasty tome? Well that one is always going to be one for debate for horror fans but I don't doubt that as ever we'll blindly continue to buy every book on the subject without a moments consideration. It's interesting to note though that with 'Shock! Horror!' FAB Press have taken things a step further than just a cover art collection by welcomingly including not only an extensive history of the facts behind the video nasty era (only ever previously done with any flair by John Martin in his excellent 'Seduction of the Gullible' book) but also thorough details of each video release and the prints contained therein. By doing this we get a welcome rounded experience of the whole video nasty era and hence by welcome default makes this particular tome nigh on essential reading for any interested parties.
Although pretty much faultless, there are some minor drawbacks (if nitpicking) to this fine tome. Although all the covers presented have been lovingly restored it's a shame to miss out on 'some' of the sleeve 'rears'. Part of the fun of going into video shops in the early 80's was to be initially lured to a sleeve by the gruelling cover image but the next step was always to grab it excitedly off the shelf and see what the back cover would behold. Whilst many of the sleeves from the period disappointingly only had some excitable and ill informed PR spiel some other covers continued the graphic fun with stills of blood and gore even more lurid than the front. Also some companies (notably Vampix and Vipco) would often present their covers in a full on wraparound fashion (the aforementioned Zombie Flesh Eaters cover loses some of its impact shorn of its wraparound form) - although 'Shock! Horror!' misses slightly by presenting the covers with the front image only it grabs back any ill feeling by giving us the full wraparound covers in miniature alongside the individual tape reviews.
Minor quibbles aside I wouldn't want to detract from what a damn fine book 'Shock! Horror!' actually is - not only a sumptuous hardback collection of video nasty delights but also a definitive history of the era. Essential reading for horror fans and a fascinating curio for art critics and graphic design students alike. Whether it's going on the shelve of a horror fan alongside of books like Slater and Kerekes 'See No Evil' or on the coffee table with other art design books 'Shock! Horror!' will be equally at home - recommended!
Footnote: a welcome offshoot of 'Shock! Horror!' is a companion website 'Pre Cert' covering this particular era which you can find here.
Where do you start with Rick Tremble's Motion Picture Purgatory…well, believe me, you've never read anything quite like this ever before! Like some sort of bastard genre offspring from the heady days of underground comics of the 60's and 70's Rick Tremble's Motion Picture Purgatory is simply a massive compilation of Rick's one-page comic critiques of hundreds of weird and wonderful movies. Genius or criminally insane comic geek? You decide, but rather then offer you my usual review ramblings (and in tribute to Rick Tremble's fine work) SGM are pleased to offer this exclusive comic strip review in dedication to his work. Click here for guest reviewer (and likeminded psycho comic geek) John Simpson's take on Purgatory!
The International Guide to Weird and Wonderful Films on DVD! Volume 2
edited by Nathaniel Thompson
Well where has the time gone? We're still thumbing through our copy of the mightily impressive first edition of 'DVD Delirium' when the second volume crashes its way through the door! If you're one of the few folk that haven't yet purchased the first volume (and why the hell not? You're reading this, you're a genre DVD fan, you simply must own this book!?) then basically what you get is a weighty A to Z of genre DVD releases complete with film reviews and disc quality/content comparisons. Volume two simply delivers more of the same, albeit with another slew of differing genre releases, but whilst some may go 'yeah great, more of the same, yeah right' don't be so quick to move on as like the first volume this is an assured winner!
Formulaic to the nth degree, DVD Delirium volume 2 is one of those rare occasions where you do have to agree with the old saying "if it aint broke then don't bother trying to fix it". There's nothing I love better than to dip in and out of books such as this, not only as a priceless reference guide but also as a pleasurable sojourn into our likeminded love for the genre. There's a refreshingly mature approach to the genre that sees how fans/writers have grown since the heydays of such childish fare as the charmingly naive 'Gore Score' books et al where films where graded on their gore content, 'DVD Delirium' looks at every type of movie on the fringe of the mainstream scene with a savvy and knowing critical eye. Along with the actual disc comparisons this makes for thoroughly enjoyable reading.
It's nigh on impossible to find fault with what's on offer in 'DVD Delirium' and if at a push anything could be said then it is on occasions individual regional releases are omitted from mention in some coverage. Sure it could be said that folk are only really concerned about the 'best' presentations or perhaps the western releases but we know that folk do cast their collectors eyes over the global marketplace and have often been known to pick up releases not only from the UK and the US but the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Brazil, Hong Kong, Russia, Korea and so on. But I really am nitpicking here as often global comparisons are correctly made but just not on every occasion.
That minor quibble aside it has to be said that once again with this second volume of 'DVD Delirium' FAB Press (along with Nathaniel Thompson and crew) have delivered yet another truly essential addition to any DVD fans collection. If you haven't even picked up the first volume yet then really you should go pick up both volumes immediately. These weighty tomes are the only published DVD guides worth getting and hence quite simply an essential purchase. Buy buy buy!!
edited by Harvey Fenton
Regular readers will remember my trip down to London earlier this year for the Flesh and Blood Film Festival. Now there was a reason for this event and that was the launch of the much anticipated 'Flesh and Blood Compendium' book. When I had arrived at the event the very first thing I did was plonk down some cold cash on the table for a copy, well FAB Press books are always guaranteed great reading and the magazine from which this compiled tome was made up of (the outrageously hard to find 'Flesh and Blood' magazine) had always eluded my reach. So here for the very first time FAB Press had compiled reams of the best material from the magazine and compiled them into one very weighty tome. Needless to say once I started flicking through this wonder the last thing I wanted to do was sit in a darkened cinema, I just wanted to head straight home and delve deep into this mouth watering genre fans wet dream!
Thankfully I got my opportunity to do just that later that evening in the confines of my hotel and what a pleasing experience it was too. Now the first thing you'll find when browsing through the 'Flesh and Blood Compendium' is that the basic concept of this publication should be any reader of SGM's dream publication…a dizzying mix of cult horror, the downright bizarre and the outrageously filthy…Flesh and Blood is exactly what it says on the label…sex and gore! Whether it's exploitation, blaxploitation, hardcore porn and good old gut munching - it's all here, and then some! In fact the 'Flesh and Blood Compendium' is perhaps so weighty and diverse in content I could never dream to do its content justice. Tinto Brass, Nacho Cerda, Russ Meyer, Freddie Francis, Pete Jackson, Franco, D'Amato, Van Bebber, Soavi…the list goes on… And it's not just the substantial content that make this one a winner but the list of contributors also with folk like Pete Tombs, Nigel Burrell, David Flint, Kim Newman, Brad Stevens, Adrian Luther-Smith and so on (most assuredly the cream of the UK genre scribes) that make this a thoroughly entertaining and informative read.
But there would be little point to submerging yourself in such a detailed volume if it wasn't accompanied by some salacious graphics to complement the films discussed and the 'Flesh and Blood Compendium' delivers in spades. Flick to any page and you'll find some delightful eye candy, more often than not it is of the crotch bothering nature - so perhaps you may want to reconsider reading this one on the train or in front of granny (or else you'll be found out for the lecherous perv you really are!)
My trip down to London for the film festival was one of mixed feelings but undoubtedly the highlight was the book that was being launched itself. 'Flesh and Blood Compendium' took me back to the days when the horror fanzine ruled the roost, when horror video was outlawed and the fanzine was the only way for fans to read about and dream of seeing our holy grail genre movies. The difference here is that with this particular volume we have the most diverse and mouth watering collection of the best on offer from that era in one awe-inspiring tome. The 'Flesh and Blood Compendium' is everything that I would ever hope SGM could hopefully one day be and hence will be the distant benchmark that any genre publisher should aspire to. You must quite simply buy this book now!
The International Guide to Weird and Wonderful Films on DVD! Volume 1
edited by Nathaniel Thompson
I'm sure many of you will remember years back picking up great wee reference books like Chas Balun's 'Gore Score' and although what it delivered was the most basic of snippet commentaries on the top gore movies with the fun splatter ratings it was pretty much an essential purchase for the teenage horror fan.
Now what happens years later when the same genre fans have grown up and are now digitally obsessed when it comes to the horrific viewing? Well they need a more comprehensive guide to sate their needs but little has been forthcoming, that was until FAB Press published their definitive guide for the DVD obsessive with the simply stunning 'DVD Delirium'.'DVD Delirium' is without doubt one of the most essential and detailed printed guides to the genre DVD scene, over 600 pages of film/disc reviews covering literally hundreds of DVD releases from all over the globe. There's comparisons to the various regional releases of the same titles, there's coverage of not only the western horror scene but exploitation, sexploitation, nasty nuns, sci-fi, Asian action, fantasy and adventure releases from all over! Each review with its own cover image, running time, ratio/audio specs etc. It would be nigh on impossible to give this very weighty tome justice with little review space here but needless to say the only real thing you need to know is that you should all go and buy this immediately!
Of course with the burgeoning release schedule of the DVD scene some of the material included in the book will in time become somewhat out of date and it is a brave venture for going ahead with such a publication with this in mind, but DVD Delirium handles this well and is in no way hampered by this prospect. This is the DVD guide that I have dreamed of getting hold of and it doesn't disappoint, a day hasn't passed since I got hold of a copy that I haven't picked it up and perused through its pages. Simply addictive and highly gratifying reading.
Major kudos not only to FAB Press for this fine publication but to editor (and respected online reviewer) Nathaniel Thompson for what must have been a massively time consuming experience but they should be rightfully proud of what has been delivered to our grubby waiting hands. This sprawling guide not only is weighty in detail but is also exactly the right height to sit alongside your DVD collection (although it has the thickness of a triple disc set and the weight of a brick!) - a nice touch on the presentation front!
If you're reading this then you're obviously a fan of genre movies on DVD, then you should not waste a minute more in picking this lovely guide up. Just imagine getting all the best DVD reviews off the masses of genre sites on the net, piling them all into one great big reference guide and you've got DVD Delirium. The finest genre book to be released in years and the must have book for any DVD fans collection. And at the ridiculously low price of £14.99 ($19.99US) you'd be insane not to buy this NOW! Roll on volume 2!!
by Troy Howarth
FAB Press 'director series' of books at long last catches up with one of the most influential genre directors...Mario Bava. Following their definitive tomes on Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento, 'The Haunted World of Mario Bava' is yet another comprehensive and very weighty guide to the great mans work.
The first thing that you'll notice when perusing this exhaustive Bava guide is how diverse he was as a film maker, whilst many will always perceive Bava as a gothic horror director first and foremost he actually spread his wings through every type of cinema entertainment. From sci-fi to westerns, comedy to action adventure - Bava never shied from dipping his toes in any theme, but on every occasion leaving his own visual imprint that is unique to his own style of film making.
In honesty, the thought of writing the definitive tome on the great mans work must have been a somewhat unnerving prospect for author Troy Howarth but one that he has handled in a very admirable manner. Each of Bava's movies are lovingly reviewed in detail with lengthy detail on the films plot and commentary on Howarth's informed and incisive thoughts on each production. Accompanying each movie is a delicious selection of rare images (the colour sections will have you drooling) and along with the film images there's some great press materials, posters and so on. Many of you will be already familiar with Howarth's excellent work on the internet so you'll appreciate the calibre of written material, that said be warned that there is much spoiler material included for those movies that you may have not seen yet. But as well as being extensive review coverage there's some very welcome additional material that rounds the package off to nice effect. Italian fan favourite Luigi Cozzi (when will Starcrash get a DVD release?) puts in an appearance to introduce the book and reminisce about Bava and one of his old interviews with the 'maestro' is reprinted here too alongside a great selection of Bava interviews reproduced for the first time in English.
Of course many of you will now of Bava expert (and Video Watchdog guru) Tim Lucas's plans to publish the definitive Bava guide, but early word is that the Lucas book will so extensive that it's page count will be stellar and will have a whopping price tag to match and in all honesty for most readers a comprehensive edition like this one from FAB Press will be all you'll ever need to sate your Bava interest. Howarth's tome is a massively in depth and entertaining read and as ever with this 'director series' the mouth watering image collection throughout really is worth the price of admission alone.
If you're new to the haunted world of Mario Bava and have been discovering such delights as undeniably influential films like 'Bay of Blood' (the template for the Friday the 13th series kill scenes), 'Blood and Black Lace' (the definitive giallo) or the gothic delights of 'Black Sunday' and 'Baron Blood' then go seek this book out now to find out the other delights Bava has to offer. Old school fans will have a great time revisiting his work and delighting at the stunning selection of stills and images.
Another winner for FAB Press in their 'directors series' line (perhaps the best yet) and a work that Troy Howarth can be rightly proud of. Excellent value at only £24.99 ($34.99), add this to your collection now!
British Horror Films of the 1970's
edited by Harvey Fenton and David Flint
First off I have to confess, when 'Ten Years of Terror' arrived here at SGM the only words that came out of my mouth where "fuck me, what an absolute cracker!" And to honest I'd be hard pushed to describe this fine tome in any other way.
What we have here is an enthralling overview of the UK genre movie scene right throughout the 1970's, broken down year by year with detailed reviews and insights into all the key horror films from that glorious decade of British horror cinema. Not only are all the expected suspects here (in the forms of Hammer, Amicus and big players like Alien, Straw Dogs and Wicker Man) but there's a fascinating multitude of lesser known cinematic evils which should trigger wildly fond memories of the old days for many of our older readers (and act as an excellent pointer for fans to the eras output).
The great thing that I enjoyed heartily about this book is that none of the authors involved view these old films through rose tinted glasses, giving a refreshingly honest overview to titles that many others would likely pander to long lost fond memory (that said I still love 'Assault' no matter what anyone has to say about it!) In fact, for me the book itself harked back to the halcyon days of the weighty horror encyclopaedia that I miss so much - except here Fab Press have taken the old concept and fired it into the 21st century with their own inimitable style. As well as plot breakdowns and reviews, there's a multitude of fascinating titbits of information to add further to your reading enjoyment (on distribution, BBFC cuts, crew credits and all sorts of trivia fun!)
At over 300 pages, the book is exhaustive and heavily illustrated with stills, posters and some excellent exploitative promo shots that will please fans of the era no end. I loved this book; it's definitely one of the best horror film books that's hit the shelves in quite some time. (It scarred me so nicely that I've already been digging out my old 70's horror tapes and orders have been placed for retro DVD fun like the Vincent Price classic 'Theatre of Blood') You'll be picking it up to peruse again and again, that's a guarantee. An essential purchase, waste no time - buy it now!
Edited by Chris Gallant
Jeez, hold me back! When books like this one land on your lap it tends to take a while before you stop drooling! 'Art of Darkness' really is one of those books.
A massive collaboration of work by various critics and fans alike, 'Art of Darkness' takes an informed look at the work of everyone's favourite genre director Dario Argento. Each film is covered in varying detail with a chapter of its own and its all sumptiously accompanied by a stunning collection of images from the directors works.
There's no denying it, the book looks bloody fantastic. Never before have I came across such a lovely collection of Argento images in the one publication and strangely also good enough reason alone to buy this wieghty tome. (Hey, I'd have got it just for the lovely pics of my dream woman Ania Pieroni - oh those eyes!)
Editor Chris Gallant has done a fine job piecing this one together, an exhaustive review of the directors career and a very diverse collection of writers looking at it. But that would probably be my only complaint about it also, if you're looking for a historical reference (behind the scenes/biography) type book then it's not really wholly whats on offer. Whilst I found the section on Argento's TV work and the appendixes greatly informative, the reviews of Argento's work can sometimes be a real mixed bag on the enjoyment front. Whilst most of the critics take an enjoyable look at the films, I always tend to go cross eyed with lethargy when writers start going on about 'philosophies of composition' and such likes areas ('Broken Mirrors' anyone?). Ok, surely fascinating to a film student going through their degree course, but a tad much for this common back yard horror fan.
That said though, I'd waste no time at all recommending you go pick this one up straight away. Though a bit hit and miss on the reading front, the bulk of the written work and the fantastic collection of images make this an essential and great value purchase that any fan of Argento's work really should have in their collection. What are you waiting for ?!! Go buy it now!
by David A Szulkin
The timing couldn't have been better, on the same week that the long awaited DVD debut of 'Last House on the Left' arrived along came this exhaustive and enthralling book on the films production.
No stone is left unturned in this excellent film book that all fans of not only 'Last House' but low budget film making should pick up promptly. Covering all aspects of the films production, from the concept stage right through to its distribution and the legacy that followed.
Having been a fan of the film for about twenty years now, I was amazed at the wealth of knowledge that the book contained I never had a clue about ! Many of the cast and crew revisit the 'Last House' experience and have many interesting tales to tell that will keep you hooked throughout the book. Fascinating (and entertainingly frustrating) also is the detailed coverage given of all the various versions of the film that have circulated over the years, which will no doubt lead to high blood pressure problems for print fetishists the world over.
Recently revised and expanded, the 'Last House' book is a veritable gold mine for fans of the movie. Not only is it a great read but is packed full of stunning images, including many rare stills and promo shots (they had me salivating!) that you wont have seen before.
One of the most comprehensive film books on the market - a highly recommended addition to anyones collection. Buy it !!
edited by Graeme Harper and Xavier Mendik
Fab Press have just released their new book Unruly Pleasures. This hefty tome answers the question - what exactly is a cult movie? Fifteen chapters of extreme sex and violence looking at all the cult fan favorites with lots of rare pics and rarely seen posters!
Fab Press main man Harvey Fenton says of the book "I predict gasps of amazement when people scan through the chapter on female ejaculation, in particular (no further comment necessary really!...)"
256 pages - £14.99/US$19.95 - Out Soon
by Steve Fentone
Following on after Unruly Pleasures is Anticristo, the controversial Exploitation/Nuns book that's already been knocked back by two god-fearing printers. This sensual cutting edge classic is available in a limited hard back version (only 666 copies available!) and standard paperback too.
Hardback Limited Edition - only 666 copies - £29.99/US$50.00
Paperback Edition - £19.99/US$29.95
by Stephen Thrower
THE book for fans of Lucio Fulci. Massive fully illustrated book covering the late great masters work. A gorgeous piece of work that belongs in every Horror fans collection!
Fab Press though have warned that the paperback version of the book is virtually sold out, so anyone wanting to save a tenner by getting this version in preference to the hardback had better get their order in very, very soon!
Signed, numbered, limited edition Hardback £35.00/US$60.00
Standard Hardback £29.99/US$50.00
Also, still available from Fab Press are the excellent Cannibal Holocaust and Come Play With Me books, both highly recomended.
To find out more about the Fab Press line click hereBack