Nightmares in a Damaged Brain

Dusk fell.

The hand of night swept over the city, settling like a velvet cloak thrown over a puddle. The air sighed in resignation, and a million leaves scurried for cover like frightened rodents. Neons flickered and gained the upper hand, street lamps warmed to orange and reflections danced on paintwork and glass. Electricity flowed in the city’s veins. Time to move.

I snapped up the collar on my trenchcoat and pushed open the glass panel door, noting that they didn’t take any of my credit cards, and were, in fact, closed. It looked like this lead was about as useful as a parachute that opened on impact or a boot spoiler on a Volvo, but desperation was the better part of invention. I guessed I’d think of something. An answer perhaps, but why stop there, I needed plenty.

Answers to questions like is there anyone out there with skin the same colour as sticking plaster and where do blacks get black plaster, what language do angels sing in and who writes the words and why do French supermarket trolleys have steering- wheels at the front? Then again, perhaps that explains why the French have the highest road fatality rate…

My casual entrance ran into credibility problems when the door ran out of movement and I ran into the door, but I needn’t have worried. I could have been a passing alien in a fluorescent tutu or Margaret Thatcher and attracted less attention. The walls held everyone transfixed, but if there was any Warhol in this gallery, it was on Beta or VHS.

The titles seemed to be organised on quite different lines to a newsagents. The sickest slime occupied the fifteen-year-old eye-level shelf while artistic classics languished on the top shelf, safely out of harms way. Each cover vied for attention, with the awards for grossest title, largest breasted female star and heaviest hand- held weapon all hotly contested, with more than a few combined entries. There was a common thread, they shared a healthy obsession with destroying property, poking fun at authority and filling the intervening periods with sex. I reckoned there could be more miles of sex and violence here than in Mary Whitehouse’s private collection, but without the really sticky bits.

The whole place was more than just a reinterpretation of the Victorian library, more like the most complete collection of the obsessions and fantasies lurking in the mind of man ever assembled. Yours to rent at two nuggets or less. I figured it was worth trying everything in life once, except perhaps incest, morris dancing and vespas.

But did this sleaze deprave people or reflect their depravity? It was too big a question to handle, like why people vote for politicians when it only encourages them or why no-one has invented a finger friendly supermarket carrier bag.

Perhaps after those I could have a go at working out how did ladies get the lids off jam-jars, why same-day dry-cleaners always tell you to come back tomorrow, and why people keep giving Ken Russell money to make films. I figured there must be good money in psychiatry…

I also figured that looking for something good here was like looking for a working phone-box in Peckham – out of order. But I was wrong. I scanned the shelves for a few seconds and duly found what I was looking for. I thanked her and coughed the cash. She was mine, in “Assault of the Killer Bimbos”. Mine for a night.

Damn. Another one of these awkward gaps at the bottom of a page. I suppose it’s the penalty I pay for using up the excess this issue – rather than writing articles to fit pages, I’ve got to fit the pages round the articles! Here’s some more letters :

Glyn Williams, Mickleover – “Borderline Cinema is serious stuff which makes me uneasy…because it brings up doubts again in my own mind about some of the scenes in some of the seedier tapes I’ve watched. I’m afraid that I’ve always managed to convince myself that my suspicions…are unfounded…The lid on this particular can of worms is showing signs of strain”

Alun Fairburn’s views came in for some flak.

  • Mike Kosminski, Dumfries – “If he’s a genre fan then we’re well & truly sunk.”

I have to accept a fair chunk of the blame for this one – my editing left some people thinking Alun was ADVOCATING banning magazines that reviewed illicit films, when all he was doing in his original letter was pointing out the illogicality of the current government position. That may have got lost in the translation…

Congratulations go to Wendy James, for getting another Time Out cover – she might not be TOO pleased about this one, as it’s thanks to her appearance in their Hated Hundred, under the heading ‘tits out for anti-sexism’.

Difficult to believe rumours #23. A sequel to ‘9 1/2 Weeks’, provisionally entitled ‘Four Days in February’. Basinger & Rourke return for a second helping of ice-cubes and peanut butter, and ROMAN POLANSKI of all people is supposed to direct it. Hang on, I thought Kim Basinger was twice the age of his usual, er, interests…

Forthcoming Attractions

Rumour time again. Take your pick from the following crop of sequels, follow-ups and the odd, very occasional, original idea. Starting with the biggie, “Batman II”, rumoured to be costing, wait for it, $100 million, is being planned, pitting Keaton and Basinger against Nicholson (if he accepts the ‘write your own cheque offer’) plus the Penguin (Dustin Hoffman?? I kid you not…), Catwoman (Cher) & The Riddler (Robin Williams). Michael Jackson for the soundtrack this time?

Alien III, scripted by William Gibson, will have Arnold Schwarzenegger playing alongside Sigourney Weaver & Michael Biehn. It doesn’t take place on Earth or the aliens’ planet and may not be until 1992 however. Terminator II, also with big Arnie, is shelved indefinitely. Predator II doesn’t have Mr. Schwarzenegger in it and is set in New York – the preds taken on his brother instead.

Robocop II, written by comics man Frank Miller is being/has been filmed, with both Weller & Allen returning. In it, Murphy is ‘retired’ and his replacement goes wrong necessitating a swift come-back. Also on the comics front, we have ‘The Watchmen’ which is now being directed by Terry Gilliam, after a brief flirtation with James Cameron. The name of Mickey Rourke to play Rorschach has been heard.

On the ‘wise move’ front, Bruce Willis has realised that ‘Die Hard’ was the only good thing he’s done since ‘Moonlighting’ and has signed up for the sequel, which shows startling originality in being called, not ‘Die Hard 2’, but ‘Die Harder’. Renny Harlin, having parted company with ‘Aliens 3’, is down to direct. Set on a 747, the lead villain may well be Steven Berkoff.


Nominations, please, with descriptions where appropriate, for the following categories, ideally based on films you saw in 1989. Should I still have a video or two left from the competition, I’ll give them to the senders of the best suggestion.

  • a) The ‘Bambi’ Award for the film which gave the censors LEAST trouble.
  • b) ‘Manon des Sources’ Trophy for most blatant moment missed by the censors in a U/PG certificate film.
  • c) ‘Ghostbusters’ Shield: the BBFC certificated movie with the smallest chance of getting turned into a Saturday morning cartoon series.
  • d) ‘Man is the warmest place to hide’ Cup for best line used to advertise a movie…
  • e) ‘The name in laughter from the hereafter’ Dagger …for the worst!
  • f) ‘Son of the Return of the Sequel II’ Tombstone: most uninspired general cash-in.
  • g) ‘Prison Ship Star Slammer’ Bust for the most totally gratuitous piece of nudity.
  • h) The ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ Furry Dice for the best car chase.

Ho, ho, ho! The Trash City Christmas Competition

Those of you with us back in the prehistoric days of TC0 may remember me giving away some videos that I didn’t want, to encourage people to subscribe. Since then, I’ve acquired more of these, and our anniversary seems a good time to offload these on you, sorry, offer these up as superb prizes. Hence this contest, not to be taken TOO seriously…


  1. All entrants must be subscribers to Trash City, with enough money left in their sub to cover the cost of p&p – say one pound. If I’m giving these films away, I’m not paying the damn postage too!
  2. Prizes can only be sent to UK subscribers, since it’d cost too much to send tapes to America. ‘Foreigners’ get a pat on the back instead, especially if they can understand all the obscure British cultural references.
  3. 10 points for a correct answer, 1 – 10 for an interesting, apt or funny answer, regardless of truth, at the editor’s discretion.
  4. Top score gets first choice, next gets second, etc. Contestants must supply an order of preference for the prizes, otherwise I choose which one you get…
  5. The editor’s decision is final. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Fun, eh?


Original tapes of the following films. No guarantee is made as to their quality, but most have been watched once. They are thus likely to be good tapes, if not good films. Naturally, all have BBFC certificates…

Demons * Demons 2 * Friday the 13th * Surf Nazis * Creepozoids * The Hunger * Satan’s Dog * Avenging Angel * Pray T.V. * The Marriage of Maria Braun


Two sections, one factual, one to ‘use your imagination’ on.

Section 1) – Scattered throughout TC4 (look out for the “****”) you’ll find quotes taken from movies. All you have to do is identify the movies – none are especially, or even mildly, obscure.

Section 2) – The tiebreaker. Suggest appropriate film roles for the following non-actors:

  • a) Wendy James
  • b) Jim Bakker
  • c) Mikhail Gorbachev
  • d) Gabriella Sabatini
  • e) David Gower
  • f) Salman Rushdie
  • g) Edwina Currie
  • h) Kate Adie
  • i) Bob Monkhouse
  • j) Pamella Bordes

The Section With No Name

Dark Star 5 (36 A4, 1.50) – So there was SOMEONE who liked ‘Batman’! This issue is mainly devoted to said movie, and is a fair digest of all the previous hyper-hype – interviews with FX men, previous ‘Batman’ films, comics, etc. Interesting, even if like me, you thought Jack Nicholson was it’s only saving grace. Otherwise, broad ranging – Sherlock Holmes, cinema going in Greece, James Bond and a good few film reviews. Rob Dyer, Publishing House, 50 Wrotham Road, Gravesend, Kent DA11 0QF.

Death Bane 2 (22 pages A5, 1.00) – Some good ideas here; the foldout middle and (at least on my copy) a colour pic stuck to the front cover. Spoilt rather by the execution; the layout is VERY messy & unclear, and someone ought to buy the editor a dictionary! Just, 77 Crystal Palace Park Road, London, SE26 6UT.

Fantasynopsis 2 (80 A5, 1.70) – After a lengthy wait, another issue rises from the grave. An appropriate simile, for this ‘Zombie Special’ features pieces on ‘Dawn of the Dead’ and ‘Plague of the Zombies’, a history of undead cinema and a prize cross- word. Dear, but well-produced with good photographs and a ‘classy’ feel make this just about a coffee-table fanzine! Paul J. Brown, 1 Bascraft Way, Godmanchester, Cambs. PE18 8EG.

Gore Gazette 100 (4 pages tabloid, Special freebie, send an IRC?) – Now been going for nine years and it’s general couldn’t-give-a-toss attitude is getting endearing. This special freebie has a list of all horror(ish) films issued theatrically in New York this decade; 641 in all, ranging from the known to the totally obscure. And any ‘zine has class that reviews de Palma’s ‘Casualties of War’ with “If you ever got your kicks out of torturing some nerd in gym class, should be pleasantly nostalgic”! c/o Rick Sullivan, 469 Hazel St, Clifton, New Jersey, NJ 07011 U.S.A.

Samhain: An index to Issues 1-17 (39 pages A4, 1.00 including p&p) – One of those “now, why didn’t I think of that?” ideas, essential for anyone who reads Samhain. It lists all the films, books, soundtracks, authors and people that have been written about in Britain’s premier ‘zine, and will save endless hours trying to track down that bit on Jess Franco. Only minor complaint – the ‘authors’ section sends you to ‘books’ rather than to the piece direct, which’d have been as easy. Otherwise, invaluable. Glyn Williams, 219 Ladybank Road, Mickleover, Derby, DE3 5RR.

Strange Adventures 10 (12 A4, 50p) – From the Isle of Wight we have this varied selection of reviews – videos, films, comics & books are all covered, concentrating on mainstream product with a fantasy content. A bit too ‘normal’ for me perhaps, though I enjoyed Tony Lee’s list of “Horrible Things”, ranging from grouting tiles to Russell Grant! Stephen & Tony Lee, 13 Hazely Combe, Arreton, Isle of Wight, PO30 3AJ.

Trash TV

Well, the BBC did it again. The Saturday before Halloween, they showed David Cronenberg’s ‘The Dead Zone’ and the Tommy Lee Wallace directed ‘Halloween III: Season of the Witch’ (oddly, both produced by Debra Hill). In a startling display of idiosyncracy, they censored the former, removing the scene where the murderer commits suicide, probably leaving those who hadn’t seen it before wondering what the hell happened. Then, two hours later, “Halloween III” was shown in full, including a man having his head pulled clean, or rather, pulled messily, off. Not bad, given it’s cut on video. I can just about bear TV censorship, as long as it’s consistent – this semi-random approach is getting more and more annoying.

Advertisement time. Don’t know whether other regions have it, but down in London, we’ve been getting an advert for Cadbury’s Crunchies. I assume it’s supposed to be a parody of a 50’s musical – it consists of little more than a big-bosomed bimbo waving her cleavage at the camera while singing lines like “I’d rather have a Crunchie, than play a round with Sam”. How this sexual innuendo got past the IBA and what it’s all got to do with honeycomb choc-bars remains a mystery to me, but I can foresee trouble. If the looney feminist lobby can claim on ‘Right to Reply’ that an advert for the Peugeot 209 (I think it was) was a rape fantasy, they’ll be having an apoplectic fit about this one.

Assuming this gets out before Chrissie-mas, you might care to keep an eye out for the following. “Hazard of Hearts” (31st, BBC1, 2015) – it’ll be interesting to see the result when an irresistible force, in the shape of Helena Bonham-Carter, probably the best young actress in Britain today, meets the immovable, leaden prose of Barbara Cartland. “The Prince and the Pauper” (25th, BBC2, 1100), if only ‘cos Sybil Danning’s in it (I think!) and Jan Svankmajer’s “Alice” (2nd, Ch4, 0050); see TC3 for it. Overall the BBC wins, on the film front anyway: “Legend”, “Krull”, “My Fair Lady” (in English!), “The Name of the Rose” & “Clockwise” will do nicely; all I’ll be slapping on tape from ITV is “Escape From New York”.

Saw an interesting piece about Wendy James on ‘Hard News’. She was whining about the tabloid press telling lies and making up stories saying how she called Kylie Minogue ‘that Aussie bimbo’. “Bimbo is such a sexist term” said Miss James, as she sprawled on… Well, where do YOU think would be the most appropriate place to hold an interview, for a girl supposedly trying desperately to lose her bimbo image? A king-size bed? Right first time…

“After half an hour we saw a hooker on the street of a small town. In the DDR there are no prostitutes, peepshows or porn mags, but we knew what she was from Western TV programmes that we’d seen.”

—— East German refugee describing his first impressions of the West.