Welcome to the Videodrome

First rule of fanzines: “Never believe a fanzine editor”. Last issue, I said: “Overall, I wouldn’t get rid of the car now”. And here’s another quote, with respect to that double edition, “This monster is a one-off”.

I lied.

Both these statements have proven to be completely untrue. I no longer have a car: it was given away to a friend at work, after I realised I was about to get hit with the triple whammy of car tax, insurance and MoT. I cut my losses, and life has continued regardless, albeit in a slightly more public-transport oriented way. Also, as you will have noticed, this is another double issue, mostly because the last one did look rather spiffing, even if I say so myself. It is also easier to do them: single issues means an almost non-stop grind, while I can take time off to recuperate between double blasts. Which explains why we are here with another slab o’ stuff.

TC may also be heading for a change in direction. Readers with especially long memories may remember the days when it was a horror ‘zine, back when there were actually decent horror films to cover. We’ve drifted since, which I feel is a strength – we can adapt, and move to whatever areas open up, rather than being stuck in a single genre like some publications.

So due to a serious lack of worthwhile movies, Film Blitz has gone on holiday: ­in the first seven months of 1994, I went to the cinema just six times. This worst period in memory capped with ‘The Flintstones’, seemingly proof the public do want crap. But ‘95 started well (Leon, NBK, Shallow Grave), and new anime/HK labels appear with delightful frequency, though quality seems like a secondary consideration for some – or even forty-secondary! Still, others blow the socks off anything Hollywood is producing (can you name the last original American horror/SF film you saw?), thus we have an anime locum for Film Blitz, until the live-action field pulls it’s socks up…

10 reasons why 1994
was a cinematic nighmare

1. Quentin Tarantino
2. The Flintstones
3. Schindler’s List
4. Forrest Gump
5. Junior
6. Mrs. Doubtfire
7. The Lion King
8. Four Weddings & a Funeral
9. When a Man Loves a Woman
10. In the Name of the Father

But even these fields are losing their freshness. We published our first anime review back in TC6 – Summer 1990 – and our first Hong Kong review in TC7. Both genres have now become more accepted and mainstream: thus, while we will continue to cover them as appropriate (especially when unbiased and informed anime reviews remain rare commodities), it’s time to think about moving on. Where to? What will be the next target? Only time will tell: six months ago I’d have said the Internet, but when even “Loaded” has a column on the topic, we’ve clearly missed the boat! Though at least, now I can change my SIG, which has been plugging TC14/15 since time immemorial… Hopefully by next issue, enough time will have passed to mean we won’t be accused of bandwagon-jumping when we start our ‘Net coverage!

For it is an awesome creature: no censorship, governmental control, or other external restraint. Whether this freedom will last is uncertain, so get in now! Electronic mail is welcome – editor@trashcity.org for back issues and subscriptions, or jmclennan@trashcity.org with more interesting stuff. Be warned, despite the speed of transmission, snail mail may actually get a faster response. I can write replies to it in my lunch-hour while, as yet, e-mail can only be done during my leisure time, when there are a lot of alternative distractions (hello, Tomoko!).

One such is my steadily growing paranoia, fuelled by letters like this, from one TC contributor:

"Please find enclosed the remnants of your envelope that contained your last wonderful and varied package. The whole thing plopped through my door inside one of those Royal Mail "Apologies for Damage" clear plastic bags".

This might seem just like the usual PO cock-up, except…research revealed that the dubious photocopied manga arrived safely; the questionable Danish magazines arrived safely; my seditious letter arrived safely; the only thing missing from the envelope was ten pages relating to UFOs (Majestic 12, if you follow the field). That was conspicuous by it’s absence, like the blood in an dead calf. Brief pause for the hair to rise on the back of my neck.

It is also worth noting after my anti-Customs rants in the past couple of issues, that every package sent to me here from outside the EEC now gets opened, regardless of what it looks like. Not that I give a damn, of course, as I’m not so stupid as to try and import illegal material. At least, not to this address, or under my own name. It’s actually perversely enjoyable to see that “opened by Customs” sticker, as it means I’ve managed to waste some more of their time. Petty, I know, but who cares? They don’t seem to bother watching many tapes, though I was amused to see “Madam City Hunter” and “Yes, Madam ‘92” had both caught their attention. Obviously the word “madam” has certain connotations in the tortuous mind of HMC&E.

But it has been, overall, a cracking nine months (even used some of my 15 mins of fame, with an appearance on “Moviewatch”. Got paid, got famous, and got to plug TC – who could ask for more?). Possibly, rather too good, as far as this publication is concerned; something I started because I was bored, must now compete with many other pastimes for attention. Next issue will try and break the second rule of fanzines: “It is not possible for an editor to run a life and a fanzine”! For now, TC’s future is assured: its frequency, on the other hand, is uncertain… But if I get the next double out by year end, as planned, ’95 would see four issues – equalling the combined tally for 1992-1994 inclusive! But readers are reminded of the first rule of fanzines…

Thanks are due to the people at Anime Projects, Kiseki, Manga, Pioneer and Western Connection, for sending me tapes (even though last issue was a while ago), Trevor and Paul, the Good Mixer crew (previously known as the Psychotronik mob), John, Steve/Mike, the Cinema Store (when’s ‘Robocop’ due out?), Steve, Nicolas, Paul, Rob, Miles, Rudy, Rick and the entire population of alt.cult-movies and alt.asian-movies for wasting most of my evenings over the past year or so! We also bid a farewell to long-time TC artist Per Porter, who would seem to have succumbed to the seditious delights of home and family! Thanks a million, Per; there can be little doubt that we wouldn’t have got here without your efforts.