1997 was a dreadful year for Japanese animation in Britain, the majority of titles released were hard to imagine anyone over 12 (age or IQ) buying. Going by the reviews on the previous pages, you’d be forgiven for thinking all the ‘good stuff’ has come out. But the problem is less the lack of decent anime, more the narrow market to which it is targetted here. Back in TC14/15, there was a list of seven excellent, unreleased titles: with the sole exception of Sol Bianca, they all remain that way four years later. So let’s take a look at a selection, available on import or through other fan sources, which all ram a tentacle up the orifice of the prevailing, erroneous opinion which says that anime is just for a 16-25, male audience. Ladies and gentlement, please welcome our first contender! At 99 lbs. dripping wet — and she usually is…
Miyuki-Chan in Wonderland – Er, perhaps prevailing opinion might have a bit of a point here, despite the lack of any male characters. Cross Alice in Wonderland with Barbarella (to which the comic explicitly pays homage) and you’ll be in the right area…sort of. For this little gem crams Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass into thirty minutes, while loading them both with a heady air of sexuality.
In terms of pheromones per minute, it’s world-class stuff; the minimal nudity and lack of any actual sex is simply evidence of the creators’ skills. The main twist is making every character female and more or less sex-crazed i.e. the White Rabbit is now a bunny-girl on a skateboard. Familiarity with the books is thus useful, though at only 15 mins each, plot development is, shall we say, somewhat limited; Wonderland comes off better.
In terms of frilly undergarments per minute, this is also world-class stuff; there’s copious lingerie. However, it’s done with such charm and humour that you can’t possibly be offended, except perhaps by the relentless techno-reggae soundtrack, that will liquefy your brain and keep you humming for weeks. Deal with the inevitable accusations of sexism by revealing that it’s based on a strip by the female artists group known as ‘Clamp’. [God knows what they were on. It probably used lots of batteries…] and it was even a woman who first dragged me to see it (Hi, Christine!). Maybe the creators should label their product “politically-correct smut”, and get Channel 4 to buy it.
Child’s Toy – While most kids’ TV is dreck, every so often, you get a show aimed at a younger audience, that also makes fine entertainment for adults: Tiswas, The Press Gang, Tiny Toon Adventures, and now Child’s Toy, a Japanese show whose target audience would seem to be pre-teen, but whose central characters include an eleven-year old schoolgirl and her pimp.
Yes, pimp. This appears to be how heroine Sana, refers to her manager — she also has a part-time job as a TV actress. And she needs looking after, since her mouth gets her into trouble constantly, notably with the class delinquent, whom we first encounter blackmailing the teachers into permitting his anarchy. Being made for television, the animation isn’t the greatest, but this is made up for by a razor-sharp script that can swing from comedy to pathos in a second without seeming strained or forced. And Sana, too, is both wise beyond her years and terminally dumb; Clueless, starring a hyperactive version of Wednesday Addams. It also benefits from truly great supporting characters: the mother, as unflappable as Sana is manic, with a squirrel living in her hair; the delinquent, not quite what he seems; and a bizarre bat/rabbit narrator that crops up sporadically.
This amphetamine-crazed remake – the original video told the story rather less energetically – resembles Dragon Half, with a willingness to throw the rule-book away and fly blind. Putting it in conventional terms, Heathers meets Saviour of the Soul is as close as I can get, for it blends the mundane and the fantastic with a pithy wit which blows away anything on British TV.
Here is Greenwood – A traditional staple of Japanese animation is the high-school comedy, in which a spectrum of kooky characters interact with humourous results. This is seen frequently, even in shows aimed at adults: it may be that in a strictly ordered and disciplined society like Japan, school is one of the few places where a (very) little individuality is tolerated. Hence shows like Urusei Yatsura have an appeal far beyond the contemporaries of the teenage characters.
Thus we have Greenwood, whose title springs from Robin Hood – a place where outlaws hang out. In the show, it’s the name of a school dorm which acts as a dumping ground for religious nuts, guys who act like girls, and hero Kazuya Hasukawa, in love with his brother’s wife. The whole show is low-key, lacking the manic chases, fight scenes or slapstick humour seen in other series, relying instead on a berserk solar system of plots and subplots (imagine Jerry Springer shows entitled My Sister is a Psychopath, or A Ghost’s got a Crush on Me), though a lot of its charm is the phlegmatic way in which the characters react even to these bizarre events.
In terms of progression, there doesn’t seem to be a lot, story- or persona-wise, probably an inevitable result of condensing a long running story into a few animated half-hours. Yet this lends it an audacious air: one episode depicts the making of an amateur movie, and the opening credits of the film become the closing credits of the show. The end result is a show that’s charming and lightweight, without ever evaporating completely.
Sailor Stars – Finally, a brief nod of unexpected appreciation to this version of infamous teen-girl merchandising machine, Sailor Moon. While still engaging in a relentless recycling of animation, it has…well, a Gothic horror feel which certainly came as a shock. In the first six episodes, the multiple heroines (tall! short! blonde! brunette! one for every taste! collect the whole set!) have to face villainess Neherenia, whom they previously sealed into another dimension. She’s great – think Cruella DeVille with a hangover – and for two hours, kicks Sailor arse. Sadly, part VI lets the side down with an (admittedly, entirely expected) “love conquers all” ending, but until then, it’s far better than I’d have predicted, assisted by a good score. Chances of this grimly fiendish series ever appearing on British television? Well, do you see this snowball, and this inferno-like region..?
So, despite the gloom and doom of the opening paragraph of this article, there are also signs of hope – maybe not quite a field of daffodils yet, but the odd green shoot. One such title achieved fame after a single late-night screening at a convention, and has since led to it becoming perhaps the most eagerly anticipated title of 1998.
It’s always a delight when something manages to surprise you, or bypass your expectations. Anyone looking at a piece of Japanese animation entitled Perfect Blue might be forgiven for thinking they were going to see something involving barely pubescent girls, demons, and places daylight doesn’t reach. You would, however, be utterly wrong. The first anime giallo owes a lot to the works of Dario Argento, with perhaps a nod to David Cronenberg, as the heroine moves through a lurid world of hallucinations and stylish murders. You wouldn’t guess it from the start, as a trio of idol singers squeak away for all their worth, though one, Mima Kirigoe, has decided to leave the group and try to make a career as an actress. Things soon start to sink into the Twilight Zone, with Mima finding herself the target of obsessive fan, ‘Mimaniac’, who documents her every move on the Internet in disturbing detail, and is clearly not chuffed by her decision to quit singing, as the parcel bomb she gets proves.
Despite this, her first acting job is a stripper in detective series ‘Double Bind’, and she finds herself exposing rather more than she’d like. Neither this nor the nude publicity pics go down well with her stalker, and the writer has his eyes gouged out for his temerity. Mima is by now seriously losing it under the strain: her old self keeps appearing to her in visions, and the reality/fantasy/ dream/nightmare lines become perilously thin. I’ll say no more — not purely out of a desire to avoid spoiling it, but also because I’m still not confident enough to state precisely what the hell is going on; as well as Argento’s visual style, they borrow his plot coherence! [And I think Masahiro Ikumi must have listened to Goblin while writing the score…]
Regardless of this, it’s one hell of a ride. At first glance, there’s no point to Perfect Blue being animated; the style also bears more comparison to a Hitchcock movie than any anime, and the characters lack the excessively over-sized eyes often seen in the medium. It could certainly be said that the film contains little that couldn’t be done in live-action — while technically true, it is hard to envisage how they could have made the hallucinatory sequences which litter the movie, so utterly convincing in any other way. Instead, from half way through (which is only about 40 minutes — this is no bring-yer-own-sandwiches epic), it becomes incredibly easy to lose track of whether anything is going on purely in Mina’s head or in ‘reality’. [If ever those quote marks were justified, it’s here] The movie is based on a novel by Yoshikazu Takeuchi, and even before it opened in Japan, a semi-sequel was already in the pipeline — it will apparently be ‘Double Bind’, the TV show featured in the film.
Like Miyuki-Chan in Wonderland, Perfect Blue’ is animated by Madhouse, and so is typically slick. Director Satoshi Kon wrote part of Katsuhiro Otomo’s latest, Memories (see the Film Festival Blitz) and Otomo himself was an advisor here, which perhaps helps to explain the painstaking effort that has clearly gone into the project. All of these names are a fine pedigree for any piece of anime, and while Perfect Blue is not a ground-breaking pioneer like Akira, it’s adult entertainment in the best sense of the word.
[Perfect Blue is out theatrically in late ’98, with a video release to follow]
Blue Sonnet – Took significant effort to see this, first phoning up Manga to get a copy, then returning it after the Post Office trashed it. And it wasn’t worth the effort, for a tired cross between The Guyver and Project A-ko. The latter is especially drawn on: artificially enhanced, blue-haired schoolgirl, takes on red-haired schoolgirl with more natural superpowers (well, her hair turns red when she uses her abilities). Pity that this clone lacks any of the original’s wit, style or quality of animation. B-ko, sorry, Blue Sonnet, is a cyborg secret-weapon of some multinational or other, suffering the usual guilt pangs, notably about offing the school nurse who discovered her secret, in the only effective sequence. Lettuce-like limpness. E+
Detonator Orgun – Certainly impressive, in terms of volume – 150 mins for £13.99 – and actually not bad, given my dislike of the giant robot field. Self-aware enough to defuse the portentousness with humour, it skates close to moralising cant, yet never quite goes over the top. The “alien invasion” plot, #3 in the anime canon, is twisted in novel ways (are the invaders actually our future selves?) and the animation is full-scale. The origin as 50-minute episodes is too clear (half an hour of plot, then 20 minutes of action, with the predictability of the tides), yet it’s nicely self-contained in a sweeping, epic kind of way. C+
Elicia – Forgettable piracy romp with fantasy elements. Reminded me of Sol Bianca, except that one managed to have memorable characters and a plot that stuck in your head for longer than thirty minutes. This one is bright, shiny, nicely animated and possesses very little to recommend it above and beyond the hundred other titles on the shelf. The sort of thing for which the phrase ‘Mostly Harmless’ was coined, do yourself a favour and go watch Cut-throat Island instead. D-
Grappler Baki – Martial arts mayhem, albeit with a smidgeon more flair than, say, Shadow Skill. At moments, so excessive it may be a parody; though the fact that it’s not funny suggests otherwise. The storyline is irrelevant, so let’s move on to the lengthy, graphic battles: the final one alone lasts 15 minutes and features a guy who tears out his opponent’s nerves. If that’s the coolest thing you’ve ever heard, this is right up your street; otherwise, it could be of limited interest. I dozed off a bit in the middle, between fights, but suspect this did not impact my enjoyment of the show in the slightest. D+
Gunsmith Cats 3 – The final part of Kenichi Sonoda’s paean to fast cars, babes and guns ties up loose ends left after previous episodes, when the heroines took out a gun-running operation. Said ends are very loose indeed, including a Russian hit-woman and a lot of political sleaze. This is 30 minutes of cheerful shallowness, with hardly a thought in its pretty little head. Like all bimbos, it’s expensive for what you get; value for money isn’t the strong point of this series, so wait for the compilation edition instead. However, bonus points to AD Vision for putting both dubbed and subbed versions on the same tape, giving the viewer maximum flexibility. C+
The Hakkenden – An animated version of The Water Margin is a good way to sum up this sprawling series. It details the adventures of eight characters whose fates are bound together by a series of pearls, engraved with the necessary attributes of a samurai, and tied to a princess who married her dog(!). Throw in the usual venomous power struggles, and you have something where you have to admire the width at the very least. However, this isn’t enough to make it actually interesting, it was too hard to empathise with characters who never quite lift themselves out of the box marked ‘cyphers’. It also seems often to forget that it’s animation, and could easily be live-action for long periods. If you like samurai stuff, fine, otherwise this won’t convert you. D
Hanappe Bazooka – Go Nagai is famous for mixing sex, violence and humour (Kekko Kamen is also his), and this bats down a similar line. It’s like a parody of Overfiend – guy summons demons, mayhem follows – with the creatures in question more naughty than unpleasant, though just as sex-crazed. However, it’s not actually very amusing, despite obviously trying very hard. Some decent in-jokes, and a healthy sense of political incorrectness, which the BBFC will no doubt trim, can’t salvage it. In the end (and every other orifice, too), what you get is less parody than tame imitation. D
Macross Plus – Reviewing part four of this was a bit tricky, since they never sent parts 1-3. Thank heavens for the Macross Plus movie, which combines them all (with an extra twenty minutes of footage), and alleviated the vague sense of loss, since Part 4 wasn’t totally without merit, despite being full of giant robots. It’s epic, trans-galactic stuff, though the ending has dialogue so cheesy you could put it on toast and call it Welsh Rarebit. Just the sort of po-faced nonsense one expects from mecha-anime. Up until then though, it’s very impressive: the animation is top of the range, fluid and fast, and music is used to great effect too. Overall, a very pleasant surprise. B+
Makyu Senjou – My, just what the world has been crying out for: a Guyver wannabe. Bloke turns into secret weapon of mega-corporation, and has to fight all the other secret weapons in bloody battles. Yawn. A marginally better storyline than The Guyver (not hard — the appearance of a telepathic kid tips the balance there) and with a decent minimalist soundtrack, yet it has even worse animation, and dialogue that might be funny if it wasn’t serious. Deeply tedious. E
Neon Genesis Evangelion – I’m going to go against the grain here; despite uniformly good reviews elsewhere, this again is little more than The Guyver, albeit with extra teen-angst. Every twenty minutes or so, a new alien threat attacks and has its arse kicked by Earth’s giant robot corps, between which the young pilots agonise about…stuff. Not so much a story arc as a story flat-line, despite the high-quality animation you’d expect from Gainax (responsible for Wings of Honneamise). There’s no sense of forward momentum, and having sat through twenty episodes without anything significant happening, it’s not a series I ever want to see again. D-
Phantom Quest Corp – That’s “Corp” as in “Corporation”, for this refreshing take on Ghostbusters, in which an army of freelance exorcists, led by our spendthrift heroine, take on the usual supernatural suspects. It’s frothy, feisty fun, with a dub that’s a pretty good attempt at capturing the spirit of the Japanese original. With hardly any plot or character development (admittedly, the characters don’t need much development being quite fully formed as is, and they are all the more entertaining for it), this is shallow entertainment, no more and no less. Perky and frolicsome candy-floss. B
Power Dolls – ‘The Knight Sabres Go to War’ might be an appropriate title for this one. An all-girl brigade in power suits (“dolls” is actually a heavily contrived acronym for something), fighting against the invaders from Earth. Yes, “from” rather than “of”, an interesting twist, albeit one previously used in KO Century Beast Warriors. This is more tech-inclined, and needs better characterisation on the voice front, where they all sound too alike. The action is dully predictable, and by now the words “AD Vision” should also automatically trigger “value for money” warning bells; in this case, however, the brevity is almost welcome. D-
Shadow Skill – Don’t bother. This one has all the charm of a video game turned into a cartoon, even though it isn’t, being based on a comic (however, I suspect it probably has become a video game since). A thin excuse for a plot is clearly designed to do no more than link fight scenes. After 20 minutes, I had a strong urge to play Tekken 2 — I didn’t resist, and not only is the animation there superior, it’s far more entertaining. I may have blisters on my thumb as a result, but would probably have got one watching this anyway, through savage usage of the fast-forward. Also available in a “movie” which is three episodes on one tape, and is thus marginally better. E-
Tokyo Revelation – For the first ten minutes, this looks like it might do interesting things with the traditional demonic high-school setting: we get two investigators going undercover at said educational establishment, in a cross between The X-Files and cult Japanese horror film Wizard of Darkness. However, neither of these angles are explored significantly, and it descends, perhaps inevitably, into another ‘put-upon bloke summoning icky things’ show. You’ve seen it all before, and it’s neither extreme enough nor well-animated enough to be other than instantly forgettable. E
Zeoraima – While some anime has certainly been BAD, this may be the first to reach “so bad it’s good” status. It’s dreadful, kid-piloting-mecha nonsense, with a portentous, monotone voiceover and every cliché of the genre you could wish. The dubbing is so dreadful, the characters rarely pronounce the title the same way twice in a row (Zeo-RYE-mah? Zeo-RAY-mah? Zeo-RAH-mah?), and the plot is a tedious succession of battles between ever more giant robots. Even if the second episode adds nothing save another pronunciation (Zeo-REE-mah), this is certainly entertaining, albeit for all the wrong reasons — I haven’t laughed so much in ages. On that basis, and for that alone, C+.
[Those titles which didn’t quite turn up in time for the above section]
Hyper Dolls – It’s nice, once in a while, to see something that doesn’t take itself in the slightest bit seriously. And these two tapes certainly fall into this category. Heroines Mica and Mew are the protectors of Earth — it’s kinda like Men in Black with skimpier costumes. They get their orders through the medium of pizza (look, I call ’em as I see ’em) and fortunately, their opponents are just as dumb as they are: for example, a yokel giant worm with a penchant for imitating a tube train… Though hardly taxing the attention span over its thirty-minute duration, bonus points are due to Pioneer for the live-action shorts which follow each episode: part 1 is especially silly, with a ‘giant’ rubber-suited monster, straight out of some early Godzilla flick — part 2’s is disturbingly…well, competent, and thus much less fun. It’s all unremittingly silly, and deliciously frothy. B
Landlock – I tried. Not once, but twice. And singularly failed to get through more than 20 minutes of this dreck. It’s supposed to have something to do with Shirow, who did Ghost in the Shell, and it does have the same twisted technology, mystical babble, and unfeasibly large-breasted women, though I suspect that his contribution was a few drawings scrawled on a fag packet one Friday lunchtime down the pub. The translation provokes more unintended sniggers than anything else (po-faced pronouncements about being “master of the wind”, for example), and the voice acting is dreadful. Totally irredeemable, this is Manga’s worst since Odin — it may be slightly worse, but I’m damned if I’m going to make a third attempt at it to find out. E-
Psychic Wars – “Mum, my head hurts”, begins the press release, and yes, a migraine would be preferable. The odd thing is, it feels like a part 3, the first chunk smells suspiciously of story-so-far. At least that bit kept me awake: even though it was just 7pm, sleep overcame me after 26 minutes – between this and Landlock, maybe I could start rating tapes by how long I stay conscious. A swift rewind revealed I’d missed nothing; bloke with special powers/save Earth/demonic forces. Fill in the blanks yourself, you’ve seen it all a million times before, and done a thousand times better. Two words to Manga: quality control. Keep this up, and even the undemanding teenage boys market will desert you. E+
Sword for Truth – “NINJAS FACE SAMURAIS IN BLOODY SEVERED LIMB DECAPITATION SHOCKER…” shrieks the promotional blurb, in typically understated Manga Video style – there are times when reading them is more entertaining than watching the tapes. Though for once, this is only mild hyperbole — the gore, while copious, is drawn in a style bordering on the Impressionistic and, most unlike Manga, they even forgot to mention the sex, both straight and lesbian. It plays like a video game, with strong, silent hero Shuranosuke slashing his way past henchmen, then taking on their boss, before moving on to the next level, er, adventure. Despite a familiar plot and some clumsy anachronisms (why is the River Styx mentioned in a supposedly medieval Japanese setting?), Shuranosuke is an interesting, well-rounded character, and the film benefits from its solid visual sense. C+
Once again, that handy cut-out-and-keep TC anime guide!
Jim’s been telling me there’s more to life than Quake2. As if! In a desperate attempt to convince, he gave me these zines to review. So – is there life after gibs?
First up is Anime Angels, a straight fiction zine. As co-creator of Tales from the Cajun Sushi Bar, how could I resist a mag that cited CSB as its inspiration? Quite easily, actually, if it wasn’t any good. Luckily, it’s not bad at all. Written by David Trevett, what you get is two stories: The Angels of Persuasion starring the Dirty Pair, which after a shaky start settles down into a highly readable account of Kei and Yuri’s adventures retreving an emotion manipulation device from a con man and sundry terrorists. Plenty of action, and, of course, it’s not their fault! The second story, Fireball Hex File Five features a couple of his own spin-off characters, Chrissis Starz and Lissa Moon in a time travel romp also featuring two FBI agents, Mullard and Skelly (geddit?) which is somewhat less successful – the plot is quite clever, but there’s far too much of it, with the characters standing round while it’s explained, and the new characters not quite strong enough to hold my interest. Nice try though, and I look forward to his next effort.
Next up, and the worst of the bunch is British Manga, which has reached issue 8 – surpris-ing, because it’s total cack. With a pseudo Jack Kirby/Barry Smith cover (what’s this got to do with Manga?) and printing that manages to lose page edges and several stories that are amateurish, incomprehensible and in some parts, plain illegible. On the plus side, Paul Simmons shows promise, and Laura Watton surely deserves better than this.
However, it was a real pleasure to reach Jean Chamary’s Manganese (#2 and #3). With only a couple of pages of reviews, the main attractions are the two strips. Heavily influenced by Toriyama’s later Dragonball Z style, Jean has it down to a ‘T’ (!). Dragonball T is an alternate story featuring Trunks, and while I prefer the earlier Dragonball style myself (DBZ looks as if it’s been stripped down for faster drawing – not surprising considering how much of it there is), Jean’s homage works well – the panels flow well and the art is confident and assured. If there’s any criticism, it’s that Dragonball has a vast array of charac-ters – you’ve got to be a real addict to know who the hell everybody is. My favourite is his other strip, Babes and Blades, which started out as a straight adventure and has now turned into more of a parody. It features warrior princess Lea, who falls through a por-tal into our world and learns about credit cards… It’s a lot of fun, but rather too complex for a series which only has a dozen pages a year. That said, I’d love to see more, and I think Jean should go far.
Wild Side #1 is ostensibly an anthro-pomorphic ‘furry’ zine, but the pro-duction values are pro quality. The sto-ries are a cut above the norm too. The King of Han’s Bride by Paul Kidd and American artist T.A.B. is a pseudo mystic fable about a King’s search for a bride, but the artwork is terrific – not so much furry, more Deedlit from Lodoss Wars. Zen Zebras by Talis Kim-berley and Fox is also something spe-cial, about the adventures of a hip group of zebras in an interstellar rock band, with crisp artwork and a nice line in dialogue. Lark and Key is more like routine furry adventures, which didn’t appeal to me much at all, and Third Eye had such a cluttered art style that it was difficult to work out (or care) what was going on. Furry aficionados might disagree… But with two good stories, and a Steve Kyte cover, this is definitely recommended, even if you don’t like furries.
And now to a familiar male obsession, with Too Close #1 and #2. Yup, it’s weapon statistics. Written and drawn by Ian Waugh, this features the exploits of team 2 of the UN 1st Motorsuit Bat-talion on peacekeeping operations in Paris 2011. Plundering territory familiar to Shirow fans, issue 1 looks rather cramped at A5 size but issue 2 goes to A4 format (both with with colour covers) and really takes advantage of the extra space. There is also a marked art improvement and, while he still needs to work on his anatomy, there is plenty of the complexity and technobabble beloved of Shirow him-self. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.
After all those male obsessions, it’s nice to get a female point of view – and this seems to involve plenty of wallowing as the hero suffers. Enter Cyberage #1, a zine for fans of Cyber City Oedo 808, and this time it’s Benten who gets to stagger around half dead, refusing all help because a man’s godda do what a… something or other. Vanessa Wells writes and draws Open Circuit, and while the writing needs tightening up, the art-work is in a class of its own. She’s gonna go far! If any of her heroes survive long enough… The zine also contains other short fiction pieces, a take on Kawajiri’s chara designs, and mix-n-match hairstyles, plus the usual reviews and fan art.
And now, JAMM #6, one of the best of the European fanzines, with the added bonus of being in English. Published in Belgium, with Emmanuel Van Melkebeke as Editor in Chief, this is rather an old issue – like 1996 al-ready! It also puts many professional magazines to shame, with full colour cover and quality printing. Issue 6 has features on Otomo’s ‘Memories’, Ippongi Bang’s ‘Amazing Strip’, Anime toys, Urotsuki Doji IV, French translated manga, Teach yourself Japanese, and reviews of Crying Free-man live action, Tezuka’s ‘Adolf’, The Silent Service and much more. I quite liked the spoof science article on anime ‘gravity’. Well, I’m sure you’ve been wondering why anime charas all had such big hair, large breasts, and can leap tall buildings in a single bound… While the writing can be long winded, you’d be hard put to find so much (and so much obscure) information in a Brit Zine.
And finally, Cute Attack #1 from Mark Routledge. This is exactly what it says on the tin: ‘a mix of girl-art and humour’ and is actually not at all bad. Plenty of anime-style babes, in varying stages of undress as they spend an exciting day… shopping. What can I say? It’s made up of short individual scenes, each with a punch line, and while I didn’t fall over it was quite amusing and readable. The artwork is basic but adequate, the only drawback being that all the girls look the same. Like absolutely identical except for their hairstyles! A bit more variety would go down well. And there’s a ‘how to draw babes’ bit at the back too.
Reviews by John Spencer and now… Good night.
Wild Side, United Publications, 85 Croydon Road, Keston, Kent BR2 8HU
‘Brand New Cherry Flavour’ Todd Grimson, Quartet, £9.00
“Dear Jim, On a number of levels, I would think the success of Brand New Cherry Flavour might be of some interest to you. Therefore I was disappointed it wasn’t mentioned in the latest TC.
Wake up. Smell the…uh, let’s not dwell on that one, all right? Walk to your local fucking bookshop & pay the fucking 9 pounds, & PROSELYTISE, encourage your friends to BUY a copy, contribute to the sales, & so on.
YOUR NAME’S on the fucking dedication page — for Kinski material, etc. This is a fucking BESTSELLER, more or less, & as well as being a free advertisment for TC, it’s a wanker’s DREAM, being an incredibly sexy sleazy teasy Alice in BloodyFuckingWonderland trip STARRING none other than NASTASSJA KINSKI, or as good as, or actually quite a bit better when you stop to consider would NK wear a thong-bikini or submit to the included tattoos, piercing, etc.
In other words, bro, check it out, and put down some of your HARD-EARNED ______ [illegible…] on the way in or out, too. Every bit helps!
All the best Todd.”
[TC: the magazine that lets authors review their own books. At least no-one can accuse us of hidden prejudice; our biases are right out there in the open. But it is great. Go buy: I did, though one could think I might have been sent a copy… To forestall another savaging from Todd, I’d better also say that his vampire novel Stainless is now also available from the same publisher.]
2021 update: In November 2019, Netflix commissioned an eight-part series based on the book, starring Rosa Salazar (Battle Angel). Things seem quiet since – I would imagine things probably got delayed due to the whole “global pandemic” thing. But there is a page for it on the Netflix site, so it presumably is still in the “coming soon” category,..
‘Slaughtermatic’ Steve Aylett, Four Walls Eight Windows, $13.95
It’s always a pleasure to see a new Steve Aylett book, even if he produces them with a regularity that TC can only wildly envy. He would appear to have cracked the American market, though his latest won’t be out here in Britain until the autumn. The good news is that he’s returned to Beerlight, scene of The Crime Studio, for more adventures in excessive violence.
The main difference is that, rather than a collection, Slaughtermatic is a single story – plots, subplots and gratuitous diversions notwithstanding – detailing the commission, execution and aftermath of a daring crime. Hero Dante Cubit robs a bank, then goes back in time and shoots himself: what better alibi than being dead? Of course, this does cause certain problems, not least that his ‘suicide’ bid fails, leaving two Dantes running from cops, enthusiastic hitman Brute Parker (a survivor from ‘The Crime Studio’) and, to be on the safe side, anyone else who knows him.
The results are occasionally tough going. Here’s a sample paragraph:
“Corey breathed deep a while. A commotion of slaying echoed from outside. That Danny guy looked a hypnotised as a Sega brat. They were surrounded by inflatable bastards. She wasn’t any virtual puppet, but this wasn’t any virtual heist, so the peril level was even stevens. She’d have to take charge. “Kid. You and me get outta here we’re happy as pups in a sidecar. Tell ya a secret.” And she drew up a pantleg on an ankle-holstered Hitachi 20-gauge, one of the countless untraceable one-off guns designed on desktop since the Crime Bill. “Life’s a geology of precaution. You pal’s knee-deep in himself. You hold up a a place without thinking? What if everyone acted that way?”
This is page 30, and the novel does drop you in at the deep end. Some sections need to be read several times to squeeze out their meaning, perhaps partly because you’ve got to squint past the high-velocity English, whose beauty threatens to cremate the unwary. The body count is huge, even if most are cybercorpses, and the plot flips through realities with facile sureness. Aylett is clearly at home in the world of future carnage, and by the end of the book, so was I. If they ever want anyone to script a Dirty Pair movie, Aylett could be the man.
I suppose it’s traditional for me to start the fanzine reviews by rambling on about what time of year it is… so without further ado… [but not without further editorial comment…]
Dateline August 1997…
Has it really been that long since the last batch of reviews? (Well judging by the age of some of the ‘zines in the bag by my feet I guess it must be…..) Bearing that in mind, you’ll have to take into account that some of the reviews below will (by the time you read this) be so out of date the ‘zines will be out of print (But being the generous soul I am, I am willing to sell the copies I have at a highly inflated price…hmmm now that’s an excellent way of making money… just say that all the fanzines reviewed are “Superb, must buys” and watch the cash come rolling in). So, don’t look at the following as a guide to what you should buy (The very thought of someone reading this and saying “Hey, that Lino really knows his stuff — I’m going to buy that fanzine” is enough to send me screaming into the night [and me into fits of laughter]), but more as a That Was The Year That Was of fanzines; a sepia tinged look back. Think of me as a Werthers Original sucking, white haired old Grandfather, pulling you up onto my lap and regaling you with stories of “How things were much harder in the old days, none of this computer doings to help me with my 4 page photocopied hand written Ingrid Pitt tribute fanzine”. In fact, to use a phrase I haven’t used since the old Creeping Unknown days: Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of Fanzines. (And if I have used that phrase since the old Creeping Unknown days, please let me know, you sad anal freak…..)
Of course, you didn’t think it’d be that easy did you? You didn’t think I’d just witter on for one paragraph (Or whatever is left after Jim, Warrior Editor has finished tinkering [getting less by the second…])… no, this is the part where I start asking for free stuff… Yes, while I know that it is futile to do so, here I go…. I want a DVD player. Me, me, me, now, now, now. I don’t expect to pay for it, and I expect it to play Region 1 & 2 discs, hell, I expect a combo DVD/Laserdisc player. If anyone can supply me with one of those (Did I mention the word FREE) I will mention them in every paragraph of the next issue’s reviews. (So, ideally, they should have a stupid name too). Of course, I shall expect other people to supply me with FREE DVD’s too: I don’t care what it is, as long as I don’t have to pay for it, and I can keep it. Pornography is very high on the list of priorities but, I can’t be too choosy, so anything. Thanks then! While I’m at it, a widescreen TV would be nice too…and erm….someone to paint my house and erm…ohhh, one of those Churchill Stair Climbers that Thora Hurd advertises too…and a Craftmatic(c) adjustable bed… If, for some insane reason, I don’t get at least one of the things mentioned above, I will have no alternative other than whining on and on and on until it happens; you have been warned. All offers of free stuff can be mailed either to the editorial e-mail address marked for my attention or direct to firstname.lastname@example.org. [I await the rush]
Where were we? [Editor restrains himself. Ducks in a barrel…] Aaahhhhhhhh yes, the reviews. Some of you might know that I’ve now started writing fanzine reviews for Harvey Fentons Flesh & Blood, but please, don’t worry, because as TC now only appears as often as a Spice Girl sings live on television I shall continue to do both (That said, Harvey hasn’t sent me any more fanzines, and when I spoke to him last he affected a German accent and went on to claim “Nein, Mister Fenton, nicht here… ist good ya?”) Also, please don’t think that I will be unbiased in any way, shape or form. I’m still very open to offers of bribery.
The problem I have is when I get the same fanzine to review for both: do I use the same review, or confuse people by slagging it off in one, and really liking it in another? Hmm, we shall see… (After all, I’m only here to fill space, I don’t for one second think that people actually pay attention to what I’m saying!). [Sorry, what was that?]
You know, mentioning Creeping Unknown” has made me come [gratuitous editorial intervention for the sake of a cheap double entendre] over all nostalgic. If anyone remembers those heady patched together and photocopied days, you’ll remember one issue that contained an article called “Lino on the buses” and in that article I spent what seemed like hours bitching about buses (like, duh!)… well since then, I’ve gone up in the world and now travel everywhere by minicab….. and you know, those minicab drivers are scary people. This is where Jim gets VERY paranoid and starts snipping company names. I always use a Wembley minicab company called “Global Cars” (Phone them for a quotation on +44 (0)181 903 4444). Bit of an odd name for a minicab company that takes a good two hours to arrive in Forest Hill from Wembley. God only knows how long it’d take a cab to turn up in Atlanta.
Anyway, one particular driver there, whom we’ll call Danny, is quite insane.. and without doubt the biggest and best bullshit artist I’ve ever come across. [From Lino, high praise indeed…] The first time he picked me up, things were progressing quite nicely, then about 5 minutes into the trip, I made the mistake in indulging in some small talk (always a bad move) and asked him how business was doing. “Oh, not bad” he replied. “But, I only do this part time, the rest of the time I’m a British Airways engineer”. At that point, I should have said “Great” and stared out of the window ignoring him. But I didn’t. I said, “Really? Wow, that sounds like an interesting job.” It was at that point that his eyes lit up and he began to explain what it was he did. “Yes, I design and test engines for British Airways. Do you know that I can strip and rebuild a Concorde engine in 25 minutes?” Alarm bells started ringing in my head. “Ignore him, light a cigarette and stare out of the window” was the mantra I was chanting to myself, but by then it was too late, he was in full swing, regaling me with tales of daring engine adventures, punctuated with the occasional cry of “Did you know that the average Concorde engine contains over 300 screws” (Please note that I’m *not* making any of this up!). I don’t think I was ever happier leaving a cab as I was that night. He’s picked me up since then, and has told me that he was a professional gambler (“Two thousand pounds last night mate”), raced cars for MG, and was seriously considering “jacking in cabbing to become a priest”. What’s my point? [Good question!] Well, I’ll be damned if I know, but it filled some space on the page, and it means that I’ll have to spend less time actually reviewing the fanzines. [No bad thing] So, that’s one job done.
Right, now, what else can I talk about, let me see, let me see… Err, nope, you know I don’t think I can think of anything else. So, without any more beating around the bush I’m proud to present: the ‘Zine Reviews. (Please note that normal review coverage might be halted at any time for me to tell you something I might have remembered) And one more thing, if the tragic death of Princess Diana has taught us anything, it is that the woman had bloody bad timing, I mean, I ask you… getting buried on a Saturday? I’m missing Gladiators and Blind Date. Chances are if they’d held off till the Monday I would have had the day off! BAH!
OK, OK, don’t panic, it’s now 6th October, and as of yet, I’ve not actually written anything constructive [A rare moment of lucidity]. Jim has been on holiday and come back (please read boring holiday article somewhere else in this issue), and I’ve done nothing, nothing do you hear me! NOTHING!! Ok, good, I need an excuse, let me see, writers block…hmm it’s crazy, but it might just… A combination of writer’s block and pressure of work (This is starting to sound more and more incredible as it goes…).
You’ll be pleased to know that my writer’s block has lifted and my work pressures have eased too, so it’s back to the bubbly, wacky, funny yet loveable Lino you all know and love….. Or is it!?!
[While you are eagerly anticipating the answer to that question, I’d like to take the opportunity to rail, in a particularly pointless fashion, against the obscurity of printers. Like every other article in TC, this was laid-out using a font known as ‘Souvenir Lt BT’, which worked perfectly, right up to the point where it came to print the masters out. Then, inexplicably, the bold bits came out as normal. Everything else worked fine. Every other font worked fine; just not the one I needed. Hence the need to re-lay this piece out, using Times New Roman, which has in turn led to me having to space-fill rampantly at the bottom… Thank you. We now return to your (ab)normal programme.]
Dear diary, Friday 14th November: still nothing written [you expected perhaps…?], and I’m sure people are talking about me at bus-stops. I will get around to writing the reviews today, I will. (The fact that Jim is now forever telling me that the new issue is ready to go, all he needs are the finished reviews, is probably the best reason I know to get them done [The only way to get work out of Lino is to lie. Repeatedly]). OK! That’s it, READ THEM NOW!
REVOLUTIONS Issue 1 (Summer ’97) — A new UK fanzine looking at both PAL and NTSC video disc releases. The first issue has an interview with Alex Cox, well-written reviews of disc releases and more…. I was taken with the “DVD Nightmare” article, where a typical laserdisc owner rambles on at length about the “Horrors of DVD”, oh, no, a new format, whatever are we going to do… Admittedly the feature was probably written before we all found out exactly how easy it is to get a DVD machine that has been “tweaked” to allow play of discs from any region, but the feeling of paranoia is still cranked a little too high… Other than that, Revolutions is well written and highly recommended.
BOMBA MOVIES (erm, no issue number). Now you see, these days everyone and their mother has got themselves a computer and are putting together easy to read fanzines…well, everyone, it seems, apart from the lunatics at Bomba Movies. But that’s no bad thing, in fact Bomba Movies does stand head and shoulders over most of the other things I’ve looked at for this issue…totally review based, cut and pasted (literally) together before being photocopied. Mix in a bucketload of comic strip panels and pictures of “ladies” licking giant phallus’s, and Bob’s your uncle. The issue reviews films ranging from Traci Lords is Aroused down to everyone’s favourite tubby, wig wearing Spanish uncle Paul Naschy…Excellent! (It scared me a little how I scattered the last review with phrases like “well written and highly recommended”, so I’ll add this, “Shitting great mate…”)
KILL EVERYONE NOW! Fine, ok, give me a music ‘zine to review…. because as anyone who knows me will tell you, my knowledge of the music scene is dictated purely on the basis of whom I’d sleep with. Consequently Kylie, Dannii and Alanis Morrisette (spaccy [spacey? spicy? speccy? You decide…] hand waving not withstanding) are always at the top of my personal hit parade… Anyway…oh, and Sheryl Crow, although that bird wants to eat some food and put some more meat on her bones… So…oh, and Simone Angel from MTV, yeah, I know she’s a VJ but she did have a couple of terrible records out a couple of years ago so that counts in my book. Right, back to Kill Everyone Now! Erm, well I did spend a good 30 minutes leafing through it, but I was still none the wiser at the end of it, so I’ll tell you that it features interviews with guitarist Mitch Mitchell of Guided By Voices fame (ok?), pages of reviews and bizarrely not one instruction to kill anyone. So, while it made the spot between my eyes go numb, you wacky student types will probably love it, and it’s got nothing by Jimbo so it earns extra points there.
BOMBA MOVIES Ohhhh, bugger, look, I’ve just pulled another issue of Bomba Movies out of the bag, and you know what I was saying earlier about being all nice and stuck together and not generated by computer? (Pay attention it was only a few lines ago…) Well they’ve rasing [rising? rasping? racing? You (sigh) decide…] well gone out and bought a computer haven’t they… hmmm will this change my opinion… I’ll read it and be right back….. OK, don’t anyone panic, while it’s now totally legible, it’s still as sleazy as you like, so that’s one panic over… and anybody that devotes half the issue to WIP movies is alright with me… all that and the sordid little pictures are easier on the eye too! Excellent…. More please!
TOO CLOSE Chapter Two. Ohhh LOOK! I was promised I wouldn’t have any more of these arsing home made drawn in the back bedroom anime “epics”… this is obviously some sort of joke… [no, just an administrative error. Giving Lino anime comics to read is like getting David Alton to review splatter movies. I thus handed most of these over to a slightly less prejudiced contributor – see later – but this one escaped the net. Sorry…]
HEADPRESS 13. Too Close = bad. Headpress = good. Now I don’t know if this has got anything to do with the fact that I’m looking at Headpress 13 directly after leafing through the anime antics of Too Close, but if it is, then well done animeboy… Issue 13 comes in the form of a book, ohhh, nice, and it’s priced at a mere £4.95, ohhh, nice… (Some people would have taken the new look as an excuse to push the cover price way up). Inside you’ll find an 8 page article on Gregory Dark’s Snake Pit, filthy pornography that it is, alongside the usual reviews (Hey, look, they like Bomba Movies too! See, I do know what I’m talking about). Look out for Phil Tonge’s Cak-watch, a genuinely laugh out loud review of Traces of Death 3. Go buy a copy.
Since when, I’ve also got Headpress 15, and tend to agree with Lino…which may be something of a first. Everything from gang-bang queen Annabel Chong to Jerry Springer, through animal sex films and Gerry Anderson. Sublime.
VEX 3. Marvel at the all animal (Well virtually) issue…. Chuckle as you read the interview with Kaylan “Suburbanite Zoophile/bisexual”, GIFgle as you read the first part of Vex’s history of gorilla movies, guffaw as you read a novice’s guide to Zoophile porn movies (Page 36…). All that and a profile of G. Gordon Liddy (Sort of like Rush Limbaugh, without the weight), a man so right wing, his face is squashed up against the wall (Please fill in your own jokes here….). I also make no apologies for quoting several lines from the HILARIOUS “Gorehound Gone Good” article…. Wherein a former New York gorehound extols the virtues of God… in a pamphlet entitled “I Was a Gorehound” our lapsed gorehound goes into some of the reasons why “Gore is bad!”… “During the middle of this 12 year period in my life, a cab driver told me about Jesus Christ on the way home from a screening of Rocky Horror (which I saw 60 times!)”, “We are only alive (compared to eternity) for a few seconds. Is living your life for sleaze and gore worth risking a Godless eternity” and so on and so forth (In answer to Nicks last question… Erm, YES!!)…. As usual, Vex is top notch entertainment, even taking in the fact it’s American! Please buy it, you’ll make yourself happy without the messy task of touching yourself.
FLESH & BLOOD 9. Marvellous, excellent, a smashing read from cover to cover, unputdownable, it changed my life, enjoyed everything from the Eurofest report to the incredibly in-depth fanzine reviews by Lino… No, it’s no good, I can’t review myself reviewing other people, it’s too weird. It’s like going to the doctors, being asked to cough, then being asked to bounce up and down for a while…. Unnatural… so with this in mind, I’ll turn the issue of FAB over to Mr James McLennan for review!
[Thank you, Lino. I’d just like to start by saying that I hate Flesh & Blood. To start with, it’s irritatingly well-produced. Not just disturbingly glossy, colourful and shiny enough to slip off your coffee table, but annoyingly thick too. This’d be unacceptable on its own, but Harvey also insists on content that rarely falls into the “anal obsessive” school of writing. #10 definitely heads out towards more general cult movie coverage, bad news for all other editors. This man must be stopped. Now. But what has happened to Lino’s reviews? Enquiring minds want to know…]
MACHO PARANOIA You won’t find this anymore… how do I know? Well, the phone number on the editorial page starts 071, there’s an advertisement for Psychotronic Video when they were still in Hanway Street, and I don’t believe the editor has any issues left… What did you miss out on? Excellent cut and paste antics, pictures of testicles, and a brown paper cover are the first three things that spring to mind…. I could of course be wrong, and there could be a huge stockpile of these things hidden away somewhere… if there is, and you find it, buy a copy…. And sell the rest for a tidy profit!
MINDS EYE PRESENTS #7 “Vincent”. Just to prove that I don’t have an axe to grind about comics (See above for my gentle taking apart of Too Close), comes yet another excellent Minds Eye comic from Canada. Everything I’ve seen from Robin Bougie and Rebecca Dart I have loved, and this is no exception. Telling the story of happy couple Vincent D Panda (a panda), his girlfriend Ashley Sorayama (not a panda), and their trip to the cinema to see Vincent’s latest starring role (Did I mention he was an actor?) in hit movie “Bring Me The Ass of Alfredo Garcia”. Brilliantly drawn, hilariously funny to read, and just, well, let’s not beat about the bush here, fucking blinding mate… Send off some money to Canada, buy everything they’ve got and enjoy… you will not be disappointed… (Just the thing to brighten up a thoroughly depressing Wednesday at work waiting for an arsing client to turn up after 5pm… Why after 5pm? Well because he’s a arsing piss head, obviously too busy getting even more drunk in the pub to consider the feelings of people waiting around for him… Ohhh, it’s good to get that out of my system).
LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS 13. Always entertaining, always informative, always packed full of interviews with actors who appeared in Hammer movies… LSOH really is jam packed with information and interesting background on films which, by now, you would have thought everybody knew inside out. Issue 13 is a whopping 130 pages and yes, I read every one, and was spellbound throughout… More than half the issue looks at Hammers “Gothic Trilogy” Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, Taste The Blood Of Dracula and Scars of Dracula. Elsewhere you’ll find articles on James Carreras (Including his part in the “Palladium Cellars”.. Wow, I’d almost forgotten about those… I remember vividly going there as a bratty little 14yr old with some friends and finding the whole thing incredible at the time…) and lots more, so much more in fact that I could quite easily take up another 10 pages gushing on about how incredible the whole undertaking is (Including a mention of Ingrid Pitt…yuck…) Not much more to add. Very, very highly recommended, if you can still find a copy, snap it up…. Excellent.
MANSPLAT Issues 6, 7 & 8. Three issues, one review, no waiting. It’s quite apt that I’m finishing with Mansplat, as it’s an amalgam of most of the ‘zine’s I’ve already looked at (With the exception of Too Much).. it’s got the cut and paste (in places) look of Bomba Movies, the laugh out loud funny pieces of Headpress and Minds Eye Comics, and it’s got regular articles and reviews by Joe Bob Briggs (who in my opinion is very underrated… and yes, I know he isn’t a real person, thank you very much!).
Scanning quickly through the issues, #6 contains a do it yourself guide to getting women the James Bond way, an anagram article (funnier when you’re reading it, honest!), and more (Including a healthy mention of beer on almost every page!). #7 headlines with the stripping down and dissecting of Bewitched husbands Dick York & Dick Sargent (who swapped mysteriously between seasons…). I actually hated Bewitched, a one joke show that for some bizarre reason managed to run for years… Oh well, God Bless America. Also in issue 7 an article praising 7-11 food (eww), a useful insight on how to send a fax to Batman (Like, really dude!), the official “Mansplat Guide to Toilet Paper” (a little blinkered as it only covers US brands of toilet paper) and a HUGE article on American ghost movies (and I thought Ghosts of the Civil Dead was Australian? Oh, well…).
#8 headlines with the second Annual Barbarella Awards (Or translated, Tits out for the lads, rewarded), a cover story about UFO sightings that at times seems so rabid, you can almost see the writer’s veins stick out as he typed it, a totally gratuitous picture of Ron Jeremy (OK, not really, there is an article too), a slagging off of American “Lite Beer” (and not before time!) and a useful list of “Super Heroes Whose Asses You Could Easily Kick!” mentioning Flash Gordon, Green Arrow and Wonderwoman (Hmmmm, great thighs that Wonderwoman.. Ohhh, imagine those wrapped around your neck.. am I getting off the point?). All that and lots more. If I was going to say anything negative about Mansplat, it’d be that there was a little too much in the way of wrestling talk, and a few too many advertisements, mainly there to fund the ‘zine as it costs nothing to buy!! So, my last review and look, another thumbs up, you can’t really ask for any more now can you?
And that’s about it, not bad going what with one thing and another. It’s now 10pm on Friday 28th November, it’s only taken me three months to finish, not bad going for me… How long before the next issue? Who can say… All I know is that I’m going to Atlanta for a well deserved holiday in January (Watch out Jaime, if you’re going to move, do it now!!), and that nasty Christmas thing is on it’s way too, the only thing there to look forward to is Jim coming back from a holiday with his family in Scotland laden down with his Mother’s home made cakes.. hmmm, them’s good eating.
So, before I depart, as usual, I’d like to thank nobody for their help in this issue. No that’s not strictly true, I’d like to thank Shane at work, for doing all my work for me while I toiled away getting these things finished, and also I’d like to give no thanks at all to Jim for putting two issues of Too Much into the batch of fanzines to be reviewed… I’ve not been quite this angry in a long time!!! Any comments, praise, love, hatemail or even dirty jpegs can be sent to email@example.com Also, while you’re online, do go visit www.bondage.org a fine example of the Net smashing UK censorship. Ok, it’s a pay site, and ok, it’s in the States, but they do offer some excellent Realvideo footage… in a couple of years time, the quality will be broadcast, what on earth are the wonderful HM Customs and Excise going to do then? Think about it…I know I will…
Repeatedly, no doubt. While the above was “in preparation” — roughly translated, “lying in a bag at Lino’s work” — a bunch of other stuff turned up. And there were also the ‘zines which arrived with “please do not give to Lino” written on them… So let’s have a trawl through the other things that have popped through the letterbox.
Starting with www.fetish-fantasy.com, who sent me a press release and photo of the most incredibly shiny pair of boots I think I have ever seen. $9.95 will get you in for a month; they describe it as being “for the intensely curious, to the curiously intense”, and the site looks to have all the things you imagine it would…and a few others besides.
Mansplat 9 has…but we’ve given them enough publicity already. Oh, alright — their second anniversary issue (yep, nine issues in two years — rather than two in nine years…) has Xena drinking games, Edward Swiss-Army-Knife and La Femme Nikita (a series better in concept than execution, I reckon). Warning: few things suck more than spraying beer down your nose ‘cos you tried to laugh and swallow simultaneously. In Cinema Sewer, Robin Bougie of Mind’s Eye Comics (see above) turns his hand to movie stuff, with the same insane freshness that pervades his graphic works. Kekko Kamen, the GoGos video, Deranged, eye violence and the lamest 50’s monsters. Let’s face it, since you are going to send him money for his comics, you’d do well to get this too! And, hey, if it ain’t Cashiers du Cinemart, in which Mike White eases back on his anti-Tarantino jihad (QT is self-destructing nicely on his own, it seems), and yaks about life working in a cinema, Jackie Chan, Andre the Giant and his posse, plus Abba. Scooby Doo, and so on. Random plug time: Otaku Publishing, an excellent source for all your Japanese animation needs: videos, CDs, strange plastic laminated things, morally suspect PC games with titles like Time Stripper, and layout cards, such as the one shown below. Midian Books are similarly comprehensive with regard to what you might call “weird shit” – surrealism, sex and violence – and Dark Carnival will satisfy all your needs on the film ‘zine front. Those three should be enough to keep any well-adjusted TC reader happy for hours…
Caress 18 continues to document the sound of things falling apart as our new government heads down the road to further oppression, but has its optimistic moments as well, and reviews books, videos, CD ROMs and other pieces of “adult erotica” (as opposed to juvenile erotica, I suppose!). Looking round the somewhat untidy room (there’s a floor here somewhere, beneath all the discarded ‘zines), I think we have finally reached the last item: Scattered Remains, a collection of short stories from the realm of the disordered mind, by Paul Pinn. Think Hieronymus Bosch meets William Burroughs for a pint or six; any book “in celebration of 750 years of Bedlam” is alright by me!
Bomba Movies – (an SAE) Damned if I can find an address… Try Dark Carnival, I think!
Caress – (£2.50) Polly Publications, PO Box 2225, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 1QW
Cashiers du Cinemart – ($2) PO Box 2401, Riverview, MI 48192, USA