Legend of the Overspill

Or, I’ve got half an hour to write something to go on the back of a colour picture of dubious nature, so apologies for any typos. This issue is late, tying TC9’s record at five months – it must be something to do with post-Christmas apathy, it seems. It might also have something to do with another imminent change of address – yes, ANOTHER one, but this should be the last for a while, as I’m actually BUYING the place this time. As I write this, I’m anxiously waiting for the results of the building society survey, and for obvious reasons, I’m not giving out my new address until I’m 100% certain that I’ll be staying there! All mail sent to Tummons Gardens SHOULD find it’s way to me, courtesy of the Post Office, but I would hold back on those rare items of Kinski-mabilia.

Speaking of which, once I’m settled in there, I may be able to get started on the long-planned Kinski special, having now caught up with most of her back catalogue, and covering the recent press over her split with her husband (Hurrah!), and attachment to Quincy Jones (boo!). And with the death of Marlene Dietrich, could she now be Germany’s greatest living actress? Or do we now need to carry out a hit on Hannah Schygulla?

The planned colour cover has been postponed – Per’s test versions did not survive the process, going in cute, coming out more like napalm victims. The idea has not been shelved, and further experimentation will occur.

Film to look forward to: Abel Ferrara’s latest, “Bad Lieutenant”, from a script by Ferrara and Zoe Lund (aka Zoe ‘Angel of Vengeance’ Tamerlis), and starring Harvey Keitel and Lund. It’s supposed to push the NC-17 certificate further than it’s gone before, not just in terms of flesh, and ‘Variety’ gave it rave reviews. It’s just great to see the wonderful Zoe Lund/Tamerlis back “onLhe screen, as her other performances have been electrifying, and all too rare.

Finally, two reviews which got cut from Film Blitz – curiously, both star Rutger Hauer, and I knew I had to print them somewhere, or a certain Helen McCarthy would want to know why! His latest film, ‘Split Second’ opened in the States to “mixed” reviews and tolerable box-office – word is that it’s a real mix of every genre you can think of, but Rutger is, as ever, worth watching (for whatever reason!).

Desert Law (Duccio Tessari) – Past experience of ‘PG’ films has shown they tend to be utter cop-outs, shorn of any redeeming sex or violence; I possess less ‘PG’ tapes than any other category, and more than half of those star Emmanuelle Beart or Nastassja. This film is a salutary lesson, being an Italian TVM (complete with obvious ad breaks, co-scripted by George Eastman), that runs out of ideas fast and seems twice as long as it’s 140 minute running time. Even Rutger Hauer can’t salvage it, though his character is easily the best thing in this awful cross between ‘Not Without My Daughter’ and ‘The Desert Rats’. I really can’t recommend this film, except possibly if you’re looking for unfunny racial stereotypes. E-

Wedlock (Lewis Teague) – Rutger Hauer and Mimi Roberts are criminals “married” to each other by collar which will blow their heads off if they separate by more than 100 yards. They escape, but are followed by the warden who wants to find where Rutger’s hidden the loot from his last robbery. Dumb premise, salvaged by the expected good performance from RH and an unexpected one from Joan Chen (rapidly taking over Jennifer Jason Leigh’s mantle as Hauer’s preferred subject of abuse), who wins the 1991 Anthony Perkins Rosebowl for Drug-Crazed Acting to the Max (Bitch Section). Pure fluff. C

“Bob” Told Me To Do It

The world as we know it may end on July 5th, 1998. On the other hand, it might not. But, at the very least, it will be replaced by something much worse. And the odds are that you won’t even notice.

Find that difficult to believe? Good, there’s hope for you yet. And that hope is J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, the cosmic salesman and Lord High Everything in the Church of the SubGenius. Only he can bring you Slack. Only he can let you pull the wool over your own eyes. Only he can drag your ass out of the fire when the rest of the world wakes up to find that their nightmares are merely scraps of reality, slipping through the gaps in that collective hallucination which they have induced in us!!!

At this point, you’re probably about to turn the page looking for the next semi-naked bimbo. Sorry, I get worked up about this because it’s the only way people take notice: “The extreme always makes an impression”. I’ll try and calm down, remain cool and answer a few of your questions.

Q. Explain simply and coherently, precisely what you’re jabbering on about.
A. Ok, hold onto those sanity atoms. The world currently seems to be run by the Conspiracy, a loose alliance of multi-nationals, politicians, organised crime groups, disorganized crime groups, neo-Nazi and crypto-Communist cells, multi-media moguls, religious zealots, heavy metal bands, masons, Illuminati and the CIA/MI5/KGB (delete as applicable).

Q. Oh, so that’s what’s going on.
A. No. If that WAS it, it’d be “alright” – at least they’re “human”. The problem is that it only SEEMS like that. If only you could see the Things, the shapeless, nameless, things that are pulling the strings with their slick, black tentacles. Nylarthop kr’ll ja-bhor “Bob” pnumil ‘n gharlg, as they say. And come July 5th, 1998, they’re gonna foreclose their mortgage on the Planet Earth, roll up their sleeves, take up their options and when they do, boy, you’d better have “Bob” as your loophole, or else even this pathetic sham that you call ‘life’ will seem like paradise.

Q. That bad, huh?
A. Yep. Millions will die horribly and eating those green things they put in burgers will be compulsory.

Q. So who’s this Bob guy?
A. Please, it’s “Bob”. “This “Bob” guy”, as you so quaintly put it, is in there negotiating for us, or at least the 0.1% of the population weird enough to save (the rest of the population are either running the Conspiracy and/or are dupes of it). His powers stem from a series of visions (which he’s described as “like the Book of Revelations done by a Saturday morning TV show”) and a bizarre process which changed his flesh into something alien and indescribable – much the same as what happens to mutate the Big Mac you see on the menu into the one you get in the box. These events are commemorated in a solemn church ritual where our high priests send out for pepperoni pizzas, get a few beers in and sit around watching videos. Even though “Bob” was assassinated (possibly by one marksman using one bullet or several marksmen using several bullets, but probably not several marksmen using the same bullet) in 1983, he doesn’t seem to have slowed down.

Q. Why should I join you instead of any other church promisxg salvation?
A. Well we’re more fun. We’ve a better sense of humour that just about any other religious group (except possibly the Jehovah’s Witnesses). We’re kinda flexible about our dogma and encourage, nay, require people to break away from us and form their own group with cool doctrines they can cope with. As long as you keep sending us money, we’ll happily incorporate anything you say into the eternal, inviolate, sacred word of the Church. We don’t promise salvation anyway – but if not, you’ll certainly get a front row seat for the big firework show.

Q. Who else have you got?
A. Many famous people are involved in the Church of the SubGenius, though most of them don’t know it since they are working deep undercover in the Conspiracy under hypnotic suggestion, just like ‘Total Recall’. Speaking of which, Arnie’s one of us – you may have spotted the “Bob” reference in ‘Terminator 2’. Obviously, I can’t give too much away, but let me mention a few names: George Bush (a particularly successful case – he was a Hell’s Angel from Des Moines before we saw his potential), Amanda de Cadanet (we’re not proud), Dannii Minogue (we turned down Kylie – there are limits) plus people holding key positions in the media, especially ‘The Sunday Sport’, ‘Going Live!’ and the woman who does the continuity announcements in the early hours of the morning on ITV – she’s already implanting subliminal messages in there for us. We’re negotiating for Kim Basinger, to head our ‘Bimbos 4 “Bob”‘ group, but she’s balking at the “available for use by Church members” clause.

Q. Ok, so how can I be saved?
A. Send us your money. I should stress that “Bob” isn’t interested in the cash itself, his wheeling and dealing with alien races is more profitable than you can possibly imagine. The cash is just a handy way to obtain the psychic imprint (the ‘Nental If’ in SubGeniusspeak) he needs to recognise you come 1998. Everything you possess absorbs a little bit of it from you, currency just happens to be easy to post. Large-denomination notes work best, no small change or personal cheques please.

Q. What do I get in exchange?
Oh, the usual: Power, wealth, happiness, sex. C’mon, look at what Jim & Tammie Bakker got, and then think what a much more attractive, intelligent and interesting person like YOU could have… Though we can’t promise that you will start seeing giant insects in the corner of your solicitor’s office, like Jim did, or that “Maximum Bob” (or perhaps it should be Maximum “Bob”?) will slap you in the slammer for 50 years. Commandments written in stone, secret rituals and sexual guilt are optional extras.

So, the “choice” is yours (the illusion of free will, doncha jus’ lurve it?). You can continue in the daily drudgery of life as a down-trodden minion of the Conspiracy, or you can join “Bob” for an eternity of laffs, yuks and (provisionally) Kim Basinger.

CHURCH OF THE SUB-GENIUS: PO BOX 140306, Dallas, TX 75214, USA.

Film Blitz

A change to the rating system from this issue. Since I only watch movies I think I’ll enjoy, this meant a lot were scoring 7 & 8, and I found myself having to give significantly different movies the same mark. So I’ve re-scaled things, and now grade A+ to F-, with a C being about equivalent to a ‘7’ on the old scale.

Angel II and III (Teresa Woo) – Ok, we cocked up. In TC9, I claimed ‘Iron Angels’ was the third in the Angel series. I was wrong, it’s the first .And the best, as neither of the other two supply the same standard of manic slaughter. ‘II’ is set in Thailand, and contains such delights as a brief documentary on the production of palm oil, wrapped round a plot where an old friend turns out to be planning to overthrow the government. There’s a massive gun-battle at the end. ‘III’ has Moon Lui going undercover in a Thai terrorist group who specialise in suicide missions (I’d just wait for them to die out…). The main entertainment value is because ‘undercover’ means beating up a lot of people. Meanwhile, the rest of the team are getting involved in tedious sub-plots about kick-boxing. Three guesses what there is at the end. A clue: it’s massive. E+ and D.

A Chinese Ghost Story III (Chung Siu Tung) – A priest and his pupil take shelter in a temple only for the latter to meet and fall in love with a ghost. Together, aided by a powerful swordsman, they struggle against the forces of evil to try and allow the spirit to rest in peace. Sound familiar? Yep, this is virtually a straight, pointless, re-make of ‘A Chinese Ghost Story’. About the only twist is that there’s more than one incredibly cute ghost but apart from one lovely scene which implies a sapphically incestuous sado-masochistic relationship (phew!), it doesn’t have anything new to offer. D-

Drop Dead Fred (Ate de Jong) – It’s something of a coincidence that Phoebe Cates has Rick Mayall as a made-up pal here, as I’ve got this imaginary friend called Phoebe Cates, who comes to my bedroom every night and… Anyway, Phoebe’s marriage falls apart and her psyche resurrects D.D.F. to wreak havoc. Feels a bit like “Beetlejuice”, especially at the end when the psychological aspects take over; apart from that, there are some flashes of genius from Mayall worth waiting for, and Cates keeps an admirably straight face. It could (and maybe should?) have gone further, however, and remains generally too tastefully schmaltz. C

Eve of Destruction (Duncan Gibbons) – The latest entry in the ‘fetish thriller’ sub-genre (check out the video cover!) has Renee Soutendijk playing both a scientist and the robot, Eve, she’s developing, loaded with her memories. After being shot in a bank robbery during testing, Eve goes AWOL and starts re-enacting her creator’s life the way it ‘should’ have been. Gregory Hines is the army man called in to track Eve, since she also happens to carry a ticking nuclear device. Lots of good touches: Eve’s shredding of any man who uses the word ‘bitch’ (fortunately, she doesn’t meet Ice T), Hines’ nicely cynical edge, and Soutendijk (as Eve) brings much the same weirdness to her role as she did in ‘The Fourth Man’. While these parts doesn’t really gel to anything more than entertainment, I’ve seen a lot worse. C+

Fists of Fury ’91 – Missed the first five minutes of this, so I’ve no idea who was involved. Perhaps this is no bad thing, as it’s one of the dumbest movies I’ve seen in a long time. Not, of course, that this stops it from being entertaining, as it sweeps majestically from sleaze to melodrama. It starts (at least, the bit I saw starts) with a snot-battle, the two heroes – yokel with megablast right hand and streetwise town rat respectively – gobbing frantically at each other. It works up to a savage beating of the yokel after he thinks he’s killed his teacher, administered by the real murderer. Predictable stuff, albeit done with a lot of style. B-

The German Chainsaw Massacre (Christoph Schlingensief) – Part not-very-subtle political satire, part splatter movie, set in the first days of a reunified Germany as a family of po’ white trash (if such a term is applicable to Europeans) use the flood of Eastern refugees as raw material for lunch. The director denies being a genre fan, but this mixes elements from both TCM & TCM2, then adds in ‘Psycho’ and some very cheesy gore to provide an experience closer in spirit to Hooper’s original than either sequel. It’s certainly got the ham acting and the screaming heroine, plus Udo Kier (briefly), drawing a CND logo on the wall in his own blood. According to some German critics, this is art – presumably, these are the same ones who thought “Nekromantik” was, too… C-

Ghostly Vixen (William Chung) – Wildly deviant film about a female ghost that needs the sperm from 100 virgins born at 10 o’clock to attain eternal life. Her score ticks up to 99 and most of the film is about her prospective 100th victim, who’s trying REALLY HARD to lose his virginity. The problem is, he’s betrothed to an ‘ugly’ girl (she didn’t look too bad to me!) whom he can’t bring himself to make love to. For example, when he attempts to rent a hooker, she punishes him with a four foot long dick. He straps this to his leg, only to find all the girls in his office wearing short skirts. You don’t want to know any more, believe me. C+

Ghostly Vixen

Jacob’s Ladder (Adrian Lyne) – This bombed in the States, and I can see why. It must have been a shock to the audience, given Lyne’s past record of wimpokinky stuff and boiling rabbits, to find their heads being fucked with quite so savagely. ‘Videodrome’ or ‘The Fourth Man’ seem influences, as a Vietnam vet suffers increasingly bizarre hallucinations and finds his world cracking at the seams. The visions are handled very well – perhaps too well, as ‘reality’ seems dull by comparison. But where is reality? The cause at first doesn’t seem to live up to the effects, then the plot twists for an n-th time and, well, I haven’t enjoyed a nose-bleed so much in ages. A.

King of New York (Abel Ferrara) – After his brief vacation for ‘Cat Chaser’, Ferrara returns home for a study in the psychosis of power, as displayed by Christopher Walken, a drug dealer just out of jail. His old gang rapidly drag him back up the ladder, painting rooms Drug-Dealer Red on the way (if you get my drift), and making no friends on either side of the law. Vicious as ever, Ferrara remains morally neutral – Walken perceives himself as a man of honour, concerned for his city. The film doesn’t tell us anything new, but it’s great to see Walken back on top form after the depths of ‘Communion’. It’s not often the guy on the popcorn stand suggests you’ve wasted your money on a movie – fortunately,he was well wide of the mark. B

Legend of the Dragon (Danny Lee) – I’m not sure whether this is a pisstake of heroic bloodshed movies or not; it’s got all the dark glasses, slow-mo action and meaningful posing of things like ‘A Better Tomorrow’, but it’s all about…snooker???? Our hero, an accomplished player and not-so-accomplished martial artist, is lured to town by his uncle who sees a chance to make a betting fortune. Through the kind of events that only happen in this kind of movie, they end up losing the family land and our hero has to beat Jimmy White (yep, THE Jimmy White) to regain it. Let’s give the director the benefit of the doubt, since he throws in things (the hero falls asleep at midnight no matter where he is, a very clever bit where you’ll think you fell asleep and missed 20 minutes!) to suggest tongue is not far from cheek. C+

Liquid Dreams (Mark Manos) – This low-budget American movie spends 80 minutes successfully generating sleazy atmospherics, only to throw it away in the last five, with a plot twist that’s badly fumbled by all concerned. It’s a futuristic tale of a girl going undercover in a dodgy media network to find her sister’s killer and it works well enough, thanks to plenty of flashy visuals, a thumping electronic soundtrack and not an insignificant amount of female flesh. Mink Stole & Paul Bartel beef up a just about competent cast, and the cheap sets add to, rather than detract from, the film. Then you get the ending, which drags it down from C+ to D-.

The Magic Crystal

The Magic Crystal (Wong Ching) – Deep breath. An archaeologist in Greece finds a jade crystal with very odd powers, wanted both by KGB spy Richard Norton (billed in the atrociously dubbed UK version as ‘Ivan, all-Russian karate champion’!) and Interpol agent Cynthia Rothrock. The archaeologist is KGB-napped, but slips the jade into the case of a friend’s son who discovers the crystal is a telepathic creature that’s fond of ice-cream before he’s also abducted by Norton; will Interpol and his father get there in time? There’s more that I mustn’t give away, but it’s a good example of the way HK can cram humour, drama and action together to great effect, and would be fine even without the martial arts (Norton’s prowess with the sai would make a Ninja Turtle weep). Any story which combines UFO’s, school bullies and the birth of Venus must have something going for it. A-

Naked Tango (Leonard Schrader) – Schrader demonstrates much the same eye for stylish, kinky sex his brother did in ‘Cat People’, and the plot is even more ludicrous. Apparently, the way to win a girl’s heart is to force her into prostitution, slap her about a bit, have sex on the remnants of a broken windscreen and occasionally dance the tango with her, ideally in an abattoir. Still, it’s all very lush, with lots of reds, and Mathilda May (remember the space vampire in ‘Lifeforce’? Same girl) is undeniably gorgeous as the bored wife who takes over the identity of a suicidal mail-order bride from Poland. As pure sexual schlock goes, it’s far better than ‘9 1/2 Weeks’ and you get a neat, knife-through-throat scene, too. I can’t really recommend it but, boy, did I enjoy it! B-

Noce Blanche (Jean-Claude Brisseau) – Roughly translatable as ‘White Wedding’, or perhaps more accurately as ‘unconsummated relationship’, the film promises much: a French teenager (Vanessa Paradis, looking a lot better than in her puppy-fat encrusted, ‘Joe le Taxi’ days) and the lure of drugs, prostitution and teenage sex. However, the posters fail to mention that they all happened some time before the movie starts and is now engaged in a deep relationship with a married, 50-year old teacher of philosophy. So there are long scenes of them explaining very carefully how they feel, and the film only kicks into gear in the last fifteen minutes when the spurned Vanessa turns nasty. E

Once Upon a Time in China (Tsui Hark) – Hark’s latest historical epic feels like an acidic version of ‘Project A’; Master Wong (Jet Lee), a local militiaman in China, is seeing his country carved up by the super-powers, but can’t do much about it as all his actions bring him into conflict with the authorities. The Americans and their henchmen are shipping off the locals as cheap labour for the California gold-rush, but when they kidnap Jet’s true love (Rosamund Kwan, cute), it’s time for him and disciple Yuen Biao to kick gwailo ass. For any film to keep me utterly engrossed for 135 minutes is an achievement, especially when it portrays us “foreign devils” as being at best stupid and at worst evil. However, the politics doesn’t affect the entertainment value, my only quibble being the occasional fantasy element that sneaks in – Hark should go all the wayor not at all, as they detract from the “realism”. Otherwise, it’s hard to find fault – acted very well (special praise for Jackie Cheung), directed very well (as you’d expect), an ambitious attempt to combine many genres, and could win over many new fans. A

The Outlaw Brothers

The Outlaw Brothers (Frankie Chan) – Car parks rival restaurants as favourite settings for mayhem in Oriental films, since they provide much glass to smash and things to leap off, plus you have the chance to drive round at high speed, something not permitted in most takeaways. There’s ample opportunity for such scenes here, as the title characters are two car thieves, specialising in Porsches & Ferraris. They get into, and out of, trouble with girls, the cops (Yukari Oshima is on their tail) and local mobsters, but the fan is really hit when they steal a car packed with drugs belonging to Michiko Nishiwaki. Needless to say, she’s not a happy budgie when she finds out. Our heroes strike a deal with Oshima, whose character hates Nishiwaki (the rumour is that art mirrors real life – Oshima’s “close personal relationship” [Ahem!] with the director supposedly allowed her to boost her role and shrink Nishiwaki’s. The pair have been playing Bitch Wars ever since) and we’re ready for a megafight with chicken-, broom, fan- and scarf-fu. It’s slick, it’s fast and it doesn’t tax the brain in the slightest. B

Point Break (Kathryn Bigelow) – While everything I’ve seen about this film has concentrated on the surfing ‘n’ skydiving. this is only a small part of the movie: the rest revolves around FBI agent Keanu Reeves going undercover to catch surf-dude and part-time bank robber Patrick Swayze (who gets to take his shirt off again – he must have it written into all his contracts). Reeves is good, almost parodying his “Bill & Ted” persona, but the real highlights are the action sequences, notably the parachuting, an FBI assault on a house and a superbly filmed chase on foot. However,the much touted surfing may have been awe-inspiring in California in July, in London with 5 weeks to Christmas, I kept thinking of ‘Old Spice’… B+

Prison on Fire 2 (Ringo Lam) – This film falls a little bit between two stools. Part of the time, it’s almost trying to be like ‘Porridge’ with Chung Ting Ching (Chow Yun Fat) a wisecracking survivor very much like Ronnie Barker’s character. However, there are some pretty brutal scenes establishing the tensions in the prison: not just between prisoners and guards but between Hong Kong and Chinese inmates. After the wrath of an especiaily sadistic guard descends on Chung for escaping to visit his son, he finds himself forced to team up with the head of the mainlanders. Make that betweeen three stools, as the movie then slides towards “odd couple” territory. Individually, each of these work well, together, they’re less than the sum of the parts. C

Prison Stories (various) – An HBO produced woman-in-prison story in three chunks, directed by Penelope “Suburbia” Spheeris, Donna “Desert Hearts” Deitch and Joan “er…” Micklin Silver. As you’d expect from female directors, it’s notably low on T&A, but despite the earnest approach, you still get drugs, catfights, a shower scene, etc. The strong cast – Rae Dawn Chong, Talisa Soto, Anabella Sciorra – helps, even if it might have been nice to have a male character who wasn’t a drug dealer or thug. It’s not exactly cheery stuff, with no real happy endings, but then again, neither is life. Sober stuff, yet perversely, still entertaining. B-

The Sect (Michelle Soavi) – One day, I hope to see an Italian horror film that doesn’t suffer from “atrocity overload” or “camera vertigo”. This one, as you might expect, takes the latter path, though for the first quarter, it’s storyline bravely fights back, aided by sterling work from Herbert Lom. Reminded me of “To the Devil a Daughter”, with a girl being chosen to bear the son of Satan by a devilish cult. The last quarter is at least intriguing, but the middle hour succumbs to the usual: woman-in-peril, kitchen knives, strange things happening for no apparent reason, dumb plot twists (“I’m a doctor, too!”) and a very familiar interest in insects. Save a psychopathic bunny, it’s all very ho-hum. D-

Valmont

Valmont (Milos Forman) – See ‘Dangerous Liasons’ for the plot; it was based on the same original source, and so ‘Valmont’ was held back for a couple of years to avoid comparisons. Not that this will stop me from comparing the two, though ‘Valmont’ does go a different route. DL was a two hour bitch war between Glenn Close and Steven Malkovich, Forman has expanded ‘Valmont’ to flesh out the other characters. Probably wise, as Peter Firth and Annette Bening aren’t Malkovich & Close, though they’re by no means bad. Their lack of years also makes them less overtly evil, suggesting youthful high spirits, instead of malicious boredom at having “done” everything. I didn’t like the ending, which seemed flat, even if on reflection it’s no less downbeat. Overall, though, while ‘Valmont’ is more ‘A Hazard of Hearts’ than ‘Dynasty’, it’s none the worse for it. C+

V.I. Warshawski (Jeff Kanew) – The subtitle, “Detective in High Heels” ,tells you more about this film, Kathleen Turner playing the title role of a P.I. who finds a babysitting job (c’mon, a girl’s gotta live!) getting very deep when the father of the child is blown up. The director seems uncertain whether this is ‘Dirty Harriet’ or ‘Brenda Starr’, which leads to some jarring moments, but mostly he treads the line between the two well. Turner is excellent, as ever, and the rest of the cast are just as solid, helped by snappy, crackling dialogue. While I wonder whether we needed QUITE so many shots of Kathleen Turner’s feet(!), the 90 minutes absolutely flew past with never a dull moment. B+

Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael (Jim Abrahams) – Based around a young girl’s fascination with the legendary title character, who left home and made good, and her conviction that she’s Roxy’s daughter, this makes most sense if viewed as a part of Winona Ryder’s career. It slots in nicely between ‘Beetlejuice’ and ‘Heathers’, and could be an explanation of how she changed from the doom-ridden Gothette of the former, to the relatively well-adjusted teenager at the start of the latter (which is also set in Ohio). Apart from that it’s probably not really satisfying – while WR is good as ever, playing yet another teenage misfit, the other characters are neither plausible enough to be real, nor weird enough to be parodies, and the ending smacks of a tack-on. Nice soundtrack, though. D-.

Big Music

It happens only occasionally.

Maybe the chemicals are right. Perhaps the two halves of your brain have buried the hatchet. Or it could be that your subconscious takes command. Whatever the cause, that fantastic, unbounded and unmapped mind of yours is freed. The obstructions placed there to protect you from an impossible, unkind and stultifying world are cleared away. The music mainlines, transports and exhilarates you. It’s a drug, and it’s free.

Don’t underestimate the power of music. How many of you have spent an hour in a darkened room absorbed, motionless. Hallucinating waves of rhythm that wash over you, harmonies that collide and chase. Understand the emotion. Music communicates.

And if you believe that, you probably also believe that cockroaches make good soup. (In fact they don’t – they can’t reach the knobs on the cooker). Most of the time we are disappointed, but it keeps us coming back for more. In the boom years of the Liquorice Pizza, when vinyl was the fix, there were over eight million titles in print in the UK alone. If there wasn’t something in the rack to interest you then you were probably dead. (On the other hand, there’s always Vivaldi’s Four Seasons arranged for sitar and maracas …)


“I have heard the Big Music
And I’ll never be the same –
Something so pure has called my name.
I climbed the Big Tree,
touched the Big Sky,
I just reached out my hand
and everything came into colour.”

Mike Scott

We were wary of CD. We didn’t celebrate at the altar of four-fold oversampling, we didn’t believe the awful hype and we didn’t build shelves for library cases. We held our breaths. What we saw was too many cities loose their last live venue, prices rise and a change in the whole complexion of the music business from the top down. And therein lies the rub, as Shakespeare would say (but only if he was paid by the word). If music has a lifeblood, then it comes from bands and artists full of things to say, few preconceptions of how to say them and the energy and optimism of stupidity. It comes from the bottom up. Our faces went purple.

It is rather easier to repackage known successes in a new form, to sign established artists for another five albums and to market videos and T-shirts than risking money and shelf space on bands unknown outside their native town of Northampton, who will probably break up or spend the advance anyway. In the past, the sheer volume of new material kept washing away the old order. “Regeneration or Death” as Paul Morley would say (witter, more likely). But vinyl was cheap. You could get your 8 track tape mastered and a thousand copies in a 2 colour sleeve for about a grand and a half. Want to hear a record company rep. lecture you on the tooling costs and return on investment required in CD manufacture? I’d rather eat sushi.

So what is the state of the ghost of music future? Last week the TC cleaner succeeded in wiping out my treasured OC9LT with a duster. This, the Insurance Company have decided, does not constitute accidental damage since it occurred whilst cleaning (eh?). Thus, with a cartridge that exhibits a permanent masonic handshake, I have resorted to reviewing a demo cassette I was sent from Birmingham (the place where they eat Fish and “Cheeps”).

If music be the food of love,
I don’t want chips again.

The Big Noise are hard, come from Tamworth and probably growl at budgies. ‘Repulsion’ starts the set with a bass line that perfectly supports a sneering lyric, all Polanski, disgust and hard knocks. Like a massive engine that carburets badly, the rollercoaster riff surges forward and then hesitates just long enough to sample your lunch before laughing at your discomfort. This track needs more production like it needs a cellphone. Pausing only to make you worry, the real success here, ‘White Room’ throbs and muscles it’s way in. A real Vee Twin of a sound, smooth when revved but wearing its edges on the outside, guitar break and all. Thoughts of Dinosaur Jr, Cardiacs and Screaming Trees (UK) are smashed on the rocks, to be replaced by a natty little stylophone reprise, an experience a bit like up-ending an empty sweet wrapper and catching a lump of chocolate in your palm.

‘Twist and Burn’ is overshadowed, dragging its feet and boxing at your knees despite technically fine lead work and some wild chords. Needs to think bigger, build grander and believe in itself a bit more. ‘Cherry Red’ sounds most derivative (and most commercial) and is carried on a growling guitar and punctuated with startling drum patterns (Chris is a gravedigger) which don’t inject enough space and light to give it the room to soar. More singable is ‘Song No. 6’ which balances ascending and descending guitars in a playful manner more reminiscent of Buzzcocks or Dead Kennedys. It doesn’t overstay its welcome (although some of the linking samples do – who the hell wants to hear someone else’s in-joke eighty-six times?) and ‘Overtaken’ perfectly demonstrates the band’s post-punk humour. The Big Noise are serious, they don’t want you to like them, so you have no choice but to do so. Hell, they even finish up with a toilet flushing to make you wince!

The Big Noise, ‘Bog’ is available on tape (£2.50) from Ben A Machin, 38 Main Road Austrey, Atherstone, Warwickshire CV9 3EH. Oh, and tell ’em TC sent ya!

Klaus Kinski: 1926-1991

Klaus Kinski
Born October 18th 1926
Died 23rd November 1991.

It is a cliche that the line between madness and genius is a thin one, but Klaus Kinski proved it’s accuracy as far as actors are concerned. He actually spent some time incarcerated in an insane asylum, and he brought a similarly dark, mad, intensity to any role he took, no matter how crass and appalling the movie. And, it has to be admitted, there were plenty of those, thanks to an attitude to work best summed up as “Fuck the script, send me the cheque”.

However, despite possessing a filmography which went into three figures as long ago as 1972, there were still many highlights. Kinski’s tempestuous (to say the least) relationship with Werner Herzog provided a lot of these: ‘Fitzcarraldo’, ‘Woyzeck’, ‘Aguirre, Wrath of God’ and perhaps most notably of all, as ‘Nosferatu’ in the remake of F.W.Murnau’s 1922 classic Dracula rip-off.

His upbringing in Germany during the war – he was 12 when it broke out – must have had an effect on his mentality. In the last days of the Third Reich he deserted the army, was caught, sentenced to death, escaped and made his way to Allied lines. After the war he was a pimp for a while before becoming an actor, first on stage, gaining notoriety for his poetry readings. His first film was ‘Morituri’ in 1948 (his second, ‘Das Kalte Herz’, was directed by Paul Verhoeven, though presumably not the Paul Verhoeven!) and his intensity brought him to the attention of people like Fellini, Visconti and Pasolini, all of whom he turned down because they weren’t offering enough money. Only Werner Herzog managed to wheedle Kinski into acting for love – or at least, some strange, symbiotic hate-hate relationship:

“Herzog is a miserable, spiteful, envious, stingy, stinking, money-hungry, malicious, sadistic, insidious, backstabbing, blackmailing, cowardly person and a liar through and through”. This quote from Klaus is only the tip of the ice-berg. Also well known is the incident where Kinski threatened to shoot Herzog, which, since they were in the Amazon at the time, would have been an interesting concept. The exact facts of the case are rather more difficult to discover – Kinski claims that he had the only gun and it was Herzog who threatened him! Despite the sparks produced by the clashing of two great creative forces, it’s probably safe to say that Klaus Kinski did not like Werner Herzog and the feeling seemed to be mutual, as after the publication of Kinski’s autobiography, Herzog sued for libel.

He wasn’t the only one to do so – our beloved Nastassja wanted to take her own father to court for libel, after certain comments that their relationship had been very close. Whether this is true or not will probably never be known. On the one hand, Klaus was a relentless womaniser, as three wives and an indeterminate number of more or less casual lays prove. On the other, his grip on reality never seemed to be too firm – overall, I’d probably be inclined to suggest, shall we say, that it would take someone with more moral control than Klaus possessed, to keep his hands off ‘Passion Flower Hotel’ era Nastassja!

His death has left the world of cinema a significantly less interesting place. Somehow, ‘Rest in Peace’ just doesn’t seem an appropriate epitaph…

[For much more on Klaus, you can now visit one of my other sites at klaus.kinski.us

The San Futuro Chronicles

Well, this time I’m aiming for a winge-free comics article… between issues, there’s been a crazy fortnight in California (see elsewhere for details) but it’s good to be back somewhere with history & plant-life. Big surprise comics-wise, was that the States isn’t that much better off that we are… okay, so there are more “dubious” comics on their shelves, but the good dubious stuff seems to find its way over here eventually, and the British small-press style comics (for suitably good examples, see Cosmorama, Over The Edge, and Behold the Hamster) don’t appear to have an American equivalent. Way up on the good side was the opportunity to pick up on issues of Liaisons Delicieuses, Butterscotch, Faust and other items that are a tad rare this side of the Atlantic.

Other comics-related blurb from States-side was the opportunity to meet Adam Warren (Dirty Pair artist); Lea Hernandez (Colourist on Silent Mobius & 3×3 Eyes, plus letterer for Appleseed, Lum & Pineapple Army); & Colleen Doren (who painted the comics version of Anne Rice’s Master Of Rampling Gate) and to see (albeit from a distance) such manga/anime luminaries as Johji Manabe (Outlanders). Ah… that’s better… a nice spot of name-dropping always boosts the ego a notch!

I suppose that it was fairly certain that I’d fail to avoid wingeing, so here’s a little whine about two titles I’ve really looked forward to this year: the collected Eddy Current; and The Master Of Rampling Gate. Why the whine ? Principally because their publishers didn’t realize just how good they were. Both these titles disappeared from shops immediately they appeared… Yup, the whine is because I missed out on them. If you spot a copy of either of these somewhere, drop TC a line and discover just how appreciative this little ‘zine can be… [Late note: I’ve now got a copy of Master Of Rampling Gate!]

Anyway, down to business… what interesting little beasties have I got copies of, of late…

Okay, I lied, I haven’t necessarily got copies of the things that I’m listing. First up is the Vampire Lestat Graphic Novel (i.e. all the issues from the comic-book series in a single bound volume)… if you liked the original novel, I’d hope you would like this… personally, as I liked this, I bought all three of the books (Interview With The Vampire, Vampire Lestat, Queen Of The Damned). Both Queen Of The Damned and Interview With The Vampire have been started as 12 (?) issue painted series and look to be following very much in the mold of Lestat. Highly recommended if you like Anne Rice’s stuff…

Griffin is another painted work… a mere six issues of it, but in the chunky square bound three-quid a pop DC mega-format. Totally different to the vamp-horror stuff, it’s the old staple of “realistic” super-heroes. Griffin himself was grabbed as a recruit for an alien army, loaded with super-powers and set against the alien’s enemies. Eventually (try 10 years later), he misses the folks back home and decides to give up fighting for the aliens. The aliens are peeved. Cue mayhem. With a “banana-headed” alien side-kick for Griffin, this is a nice combination of serious comment on how naughty it is to “piss off for multiple years and not expect anyone else to have changed when you come back” [not a real quote…] and a light-hearted “men with big weapons trying to zap each other and causing major collateral damage” super-hero blast. I like it, but it looks nice, so I would.

OMAC is not at all painted. It is however in the aforementioned DC mega-format. In fact, it isn’t even in colour (what a swizz!). Those of you who’ve bothered to plough through this rubbish before will, however, realize that I quite like black-and-whites. This isn’t an exception. Plot-wise it’s probably as close as I’ve come for… a while… to reading a straight-forward superhero comic. The author may not regard it as that, and it’s probably a nice step left-of-field but up to issue 3 (of 4) there’s been little really intriguing newness about it. Nice though.

Now for a real goody… Billi 99. I’d looked forward to this for a while when it came out, and so far have not been disappointed. It tells of Billi & her fight against crime in the future as Toledo, a vigilante type. Toledo was originally her (foster) father’s pseudonym/alter-ego but after his murder, Billi’s out for revenge and to kick society into shape. Again b&w, Billi 99 shows (what appears to be…) wonderful use of zip-tone. Nice looking, original(ish) plot, female-lead for a change, if you haven’t tried it yet… give it a go. (P.S. Again in the mega-format, but from Dark Horse, not DC!)

Badlands is an interesting tale, black & white standard 30-odd-pages-and-two-staples-in-back format produced by Dark Horse and telling of a chap hired to assassinate Kennedy. Not the most original plot-line ever maybe, but very nicely done. A pleasantly unpleasant read, unfortunately dashing on for the sixth & final issue.

Time for a spot of manga I guess… Outlanders has now finished, so go out there and grab the collected editions as it’s essential reading (so says the TC crew!). Taking it’s place chez TC as “The whole house is buying the blighter” title is Midnight Eye. This tells of a private investigator (Goku) who gets grabbed with a mushed right eye and gets given a computerised replacement that can access the databanks of any computers worldwide (far-fetched maybe, but not that much so for manga!). Then it’s back to the PI business and lots of major baddies. Three issues in (of six I think), and well worth the mega-format pennies. Finally manga-wise, try 3×3 Eyes, a mystical tale of a “girl” with three eyes from Nepal (or was it Tibet) who links souls with a human (to save his life) while hunting for a statue of what appear to be Siamese triplets so she can become a human. Somehow it doesn’t seem as confusing in the manga, and is a lively romp with invisible demons and the usual “human” touches (even from inhuman cast members!)

A subject rarely touched on here now rears it’s head… the comic strip!! In particular, Calvin & Hobbes a marvellously, wonderfully, orgasmically brilliant strip. I’ve read it for a while in Comic Relief, a compilation of the best strips from American newspapers, and have finally splashed out on some of the books. Buy someone (preferably yourself) these books as a Christmas present. Even TC readers need a laugh now & then! [P.S. Buy Comic Relief while you’re at it. The strips are great, and it has a nice line in “weird” news articles too…]

Night Of The Living Dead can’t really need an introduction to TC readers, but it’s now coming out in a nice mega-format comic-book. Art’s decent. Story follows the original (So far! One issue down, more to follow).

Before signing off on the comics front, a brief comment regarding the lack of derogatory reviews: In brief… I like what I like and what I like gets reviewed (as Zirk would possibly say!). There are things out there in comics-land that I wouldn’t enjoy and hence don’t buy, and things that I buy and discover belatedly aren’t my thing. These I don’t review because I don’t see any reason to put people off buying any comics – all cash spent on comics helps support the companies that produce the stuff I like… the more straight stuff that gets bought, the more weird stuff will be around for me to gloat over.

Surprise! Not the usual SFC material at all here… having been to the London Film Festival lately, for various oddities that our illustrious editor didn’t see, here is the first (and probably last) selection of SFC film reviews…

Volere Volare is a movie from Maurizio Nichetti (who did The Icicle Thief). It tells the unusual tale of a man who dubs the sound onto animation; his brother who dubs porn movies; and a call-girl who doesn’t seem to do sex, but does some very weird fantasies (at one stage a chef coats her in chocolate… mmm… hmmm!). Eventually, the animation gets too much for him & he starts to turn into an animated creature himself. The animation is great, the plot is weird, and anyone who can cope with a spot of indescribable oddity should try it!

Next up… My Own Private Idaho. Directed by Gus Van Sant (Drugstore Cowboy), this is not a cheerful movie. It tells of a narcoleptic rent-boy searching for his mother, and his assorted friends. A vaguely awkward movie to watch, but TC readers after another different “different” movie may find it worth a look. (Honest! I liked this! It’s worth seeing! But expect a pretty dark movie…)

Additional down-beat stuff comes in the shape of The Violent Cop, judged by our editor as the most seriously “down” movie he’s seen in a long while. No cheer at all in this story of a hard Japanese policeman. His mentally retarded sister goes out picking up guys in discos, he beats criminals… ostensibly because they deserve it, but maybe he enjoys the punishing too much. Not light, not fun, more worth having seen than seeing.

Pure weirdness and an off the wall crime tales gives us Blood And Concrete (starring Billy Zane of Twin Peaks fame, and a seriously sexy, seedy Jennifer Beals (as the director said afterwards… we won’t mention the “F-movie”)). A not entirely (but fairly) straight forward tale with a hyper-addictive love drug, and various folks hunting for it. I liked it, not sure if Jim did though!

Delicatessen is: post-apocalypse; set in a single building, with the title’s delicatessen downstairs, and various lodgers upstairs; has a circus clown as the hero; stars the hearing-aid wearer from Diva; was directed by Jeunet & Caro (apparently of French comic fame… not that I’ve heard of them, gaping knowledge gap that this no doubt is); and is about cannibals. It plays like a cross between Brazil and God-only-knows-what. It’s being released over here in the new year. Again odd, again funny, again worth seeing, but this time French, not Italian.

That was the films… then there were the videos. Within the festival, there was a series of screenings of electronic (i.e. video/computer-generated) sequences. These varied from the abysmal to the stunning. Over Christmas (or possibly sooner), Zbigniew Rybczynski’s The Orchestra is to be screened on Channel Four (plug! plug!) – anyone interested in innovative use of video should see this. It’s generally excellent, but gets a bit weary when you spot the political message. Stunning visuals anyway – try it & see what you think. Other “highlights” included Behold, I Come Quickly: The Strange Revelations Of Reverend Swaggart… a marvellous rapid-cut sequence of scenes from before, during and after the discovery of Rev. Swaggarts belief in the hand-job-of-God. Similarly, there was Tunic, a Sonic Youth video with tacky Karen Carpenter references (bound to stir up all socially normal mundanes out there). Panspermia must rank as the best of the computer animation seen, magnificent use of computing power. I need to see more of this sort of stuff!!

Even weirder… this isn’t really TC territory at all… book reviews! However, there aren’t too many of them here and there is an excuse. After visiting the U.S. of A., I felt a need for more holiday and went hunting interesting travel books. The most interesting book on America I found was Into the Badlands by John Williams. This book is also a tour around American crime fiction, visiting authors and settings of assorted books. A flavour of the areas, the people, and their books are all provided by this (need I say highly recommended) paperback. One result of reading this was the hunting out of books by Andrew Vachss (Flood & Strega) and Carl Hiassen (Tourist Season, Double Whammy and Skin Tight). The A.V. books are good fun, but I found two in rapid succession a bit too similar – with a wider time gap between them, I would have no doubt enjoyed the second one more.

No such problems with the Carl Hiassen, three 500 page (or thereabouts) books in a couple of weeks and all enjoyed thoroughly. Very dark humour, a very sharply observed set of (weird) characters and marvellously warped story-lines. You owe it to yourself to read his books (Skin Tight is the best written (and most recent) of the three, but is unfortunately only available as an (expensive) American import at the moment, the other two have been published over here… Tourist Season is a Futura paperback at £3.50). If serious book reviews appeal (not reviews of serious books you understand, but proper reviewish bits with column-inches devoted) hassle the editor!

Ta ta for now…

Heavy Metal: A Retrospective

Nothing could go wrong!

And for once, nothing did, as the greatest fantasy writers and artists met head-on with the Canadian born film-making magic of Ivan Reitman (whom – presumably in another life – had produced ‘Shivers’ & ‘Rabid’ and directed ‘Ghostbusters’).

As early as 1979, Len Mogel (founder of ‘Heavy Metal’ and ‘National Lampoon’ magazines) had begun making enquiries into the possibility of bringing his massive project to the screen. And by the summer of that same year, director Gerald Potterton was at work on budgeting and scheduling the ‘Heavy Metal’ film project.

In the early stages, several talents were called upon to write a marketable film script, including Harry Harrison, Richard Corben, Berni Wrightson, Angus McKie and Dan O’Bannon. Many of these names were successful artists and designers responsible for the original magazine material, and so this new project must have provided a pleasant dose of deja-vu.

As things progressed into a linear production running from eight individual stories, the following emerged from the plethora of rewrites and eliminations: Corben’s “Den”, Wrightson’s “Captain Sternn”, O’Bannon’s “Soft Landing” and McKie “So Beautiful and So Dangerous”, together with original concepts for “Gremlins”, “Harry Canyon”, “Legend of Taarna” and the link – “Grimaldi”.

Phew! Let’s look at each one separately…

Soft Landing – A 1959 Corvette makes it’s way to Earth to the grinding tones of “Radar Rider” by Riggs. Call it surreal, or call it psychedelic, it is certainly an impressive start, and so we are led into the link story… Grimaldi. A house, a girl and a glowing green ball – the ball threatens, but does no harm, and slowly unravels it’s purpose, granting wishes and dreams, or nightmares (depending on the worthiness of the person). The green fades to a brilliantly lit neon city, and…

…the next segment. Meet Harry Canyon – A New York cab-driver of the 21st century. The New York of tomorrow is degenerate, filled with poverty and violence. This was the look that Juan Gimenez (the Argentinian illustrator) used, so as not to contrast with the New York of today – a statement maybe? And, as I make a habit of not talking about the plot too much when reviewing, I will leave it at that…

Next, an amusing reconstruction of the hero legend. Corben’s Den character comes to life in the shape of Dan, a small boy who is transformed into the title character by the Lochnar (the green ball from Grimaldi). What follows is a hilarious take on the sword-and-sorcery cliché, as Den is almost killed a number of times, throughout which events the boy narrates with the voice of the warrior.

As we leave Den to save the world, a courtroom scene opens and a certain Captain Sternn is on trial for a number of hideously obscene crimes. Until, that is, his defense shows up in the form of a feeble little twerp called Hanover Fiste. This ‘saving grace’ turns against the captain as the Lochnar once again goes about it’s work… Fiste metamorphoses into an outrageously powerful caricature of muscle, and wreaks havoc throughout the ship! Berni Wrightson’s comic strip was used as a model sheet for the directors as they refined the storyboard into the allotted time. What emerges is a surprisingly violent but ultimately hollow experience that should have been a lot funnier than it was.

Gremlins (official title B-17) was a rather strange and unsettling addition, as you aren’t really that sure what’s going on, other than that the Lochnar (yet again) is possessing the dead pilots of a battle torn B-17 bomber. After this, O’Bannon’s story gets a little bit confused, but the design (by Mike Ploog) is nothing short of inspired.

So Beautiful And So Dangerous begins in a conference room filled with the world’s press and politicians, all trying to allay their fears of alien world domination. A Pentagon secretary is possessed and jumps on a lady stenographer. Both are then unceremoniously sucked into a giant ‘globe’ ship. Only the woman survives and is then bedded by an amoral robot, as the ship spirals through space piloted by a duo of coke-sniffing aliens?!!? A brilliant premise that is the funniest segment so far: “Good landing, man…”. But the best is yet to come.

And come it does (sic), in the luscious shape of Taarna, a female barbarian warrior who is called upon to save a race from the murderous machinations of a band of cut-throats and their barbaric leader. Soon we are led into a desolate but fantastic world of stark temples and endless skeletal vistas, and of course Taarna, as she glides gracefully across this barbaric landscape.

It took no less than three artists to finish the designs for Taarna (J.S.Goert, Chris Achilleos and Howard Chaykin). The sets and monuments are superbly majestic, my personal favourite being Taarna’s temple where she dresses – can it be possible to be in love with a cartoon character?

What this amounts to is a sword-and-sorcery fantasy with more than it’s fair share of heroic bloodshed, as Taarna decapitates the clientele of a rather rough bar and is subjected to torture and humiliation at the hands of the blood-crazed Barbarian. One of the techniques used was rotoscoping (using a live actress to mimic the movements the character would use) – I found this slowed down the movements considerably, in turn giving them a more dream-like, fantastic quality than is found in the other stories.

So, in conclusion, there’s got to be something here to grasp the imagination of even the most boring and braindead members of the human race. ‘Heavy Metal’ got an “AA” certificate on it’s original cinema release, but was never – to my knowledge – released on video in the UK. This is sacrilege – it’s such a mind-blowing piece of artistry that I can’t imagine it losing money on either rental or sell-through. If you do manage to get hold of a foreign release, spread the word!

Sadly, there is not the much merchandise presently available, but any collector should be able to hunt down at least a few of the following:

  • The Art of the Movie Heavy Metal:Animation for the 80’s published by New York Zoetrope, 80 E.11th Street, N.Y.
  • Heavy Metal Music from the motion picture – CBS Records.
  • Starburst #41: ‘Heavy Metal’ movie review and centrespread.

Three-pin Plugs

This particular article sees your editor in a fairly pissed-off mood as the TV is broken. I am attempting to stave off the withdrawal symptoms by writing TC11. It isn’t working. You might be able to tell…

Killing Moon 1 (32 A4, £1.50) combines glossy production values with occasionally amateurish layout (but hey, look at our first issue. No, on second thoughts, don’t…). You get a look at the video nasties, great eye violence scenes (stop me if this sounds familiar!) and a Sam Raimi interview. Oddo (22 A4, ???) is even more unstructured, but it’s cut-ups of text and pictures feel like wandering through someone’s unconscious. At the other end of the spectrum is Mkultra Vol 2 No 1 (44 A4, £1.50), back under a new captain after a long break and worth investigating for an intelligent mix of reviews & articles.

Strange Adventures is also back, with a summer special on ‘Women in Films’, (28 A4, £1.50) covering vampires, prisoners, superheroines and, gosh, an article on ‘Angel of Vengeance’ by yours truly. Issue 32 (24 A4, £1.20) has an investigation into sword and sorcery films. The publishing empire of Tony Lee also takes in Fax 21 (44 A5, £2.50), news reports from 50 years into the future, where a member of the Two Live Crew is the President of America. If you liked the news bulletins in “Robocop”, you might well enjoy this.

Headcheese & Chainsaws 7 (12 A5, 35p) has been on a diet, but still crams in book, comic and film reviews. Another thin-zine, though less anorexic, more “slimly built” is Scareaphanalia 101-106 (10 A5, $1), maybe the most reliable and consistent American ‘zine, when Michael isn’t getting sucked into his work for ‘Fangoria’. Another American ‘zine worth reading is Monster 63-68 (26 A4, $1 or so), where Tim Paxton keeps the spirit of Godzilla et al alive. Pretty Poison 4-6 (20 A4, £1.50) is developing a fine laid back style, covering lowbrow entertainment, chemical abuse and…sign-language??? Gary also stands up for Pee-Wee Herman, for which he deserves praise. Subterrene 7 (30 A4, 50p) is good value for your money, and like many ‘zines is branching into the Eastern genre, but still provides useful stuff like details of the cuts in ‘Toxic Avenger’.

Midnight in Hell 6 (20 A4, £1) has a weird-but-good cover, draped around weird-but-good fiction, relatively normal reviews and a rather odd column that seems to come from Belgium. Trash Compactor Vol.2 No.5 (44 A4, $3.50) will tell you everything you wanted to know about John Ashley. I didn’t want to know much anyway, but still enjoyed it. Anti Clock Wise 14 (12 A4, 40p) rants about Reading, prison, time and the exploitation of beauty. Thought-provoking extreme liberal (??) drivel. Meanwhile, at the “thought-provoking conservative drivel” end of the spectrum is Parachute Limit Vol 1, No 1-3 (10 A4, an IRC or ‘something interesting’). Produced by a bunch of guys with nothing better to do, it’s the sort of stuff P.J. O’Rourke might have written at college. Some great pseudo-philosophical ramblings: “it intrigues me that women who have no qualms about oral sex have screaming heebie jeebies about letting you borrow their toothbrush”, which may well be THE best line from ANY ‘zine this quarter.

Most cunning ploy to get a longer review is from Anthony North, whose Rattler’s Tale (24 A5, 75p) has now spawned Gaia News (12 A4, £3/year) and Read With Mummy (24 A5, £3/year), among others. Nice try, Anthony, it didn’t work… Orient Express is another new ‘zine (20 A4, £1.50), devoted to covering anime, Hong Kong movies, etc. More enthusiasm than knowledge, I fear, but not without promise. Imaginator 7 (36 A4, £1.95) shows how to do it and is bound to win any awards going for ‘zine of the year. Some day, maybe, TC might be as good. Still on the Oriental front, Anime UK is into its second year. Impossible to give a page count, thanks to the many freebies and supplements i.e. how to read the script the Japanese use for western words! Call it “an A4 envelope full”, well worth the £7.50/year.

Nora K 5 (32 A5, £1) also has a freebie, in the shape of a complete, definitive Traci Lords filmography, purely, of course, so you can avoid seeing any by accident… There’s also news on TL’s present activities and some more droolworthy pictures. I was going to slag off Gore Gazette 105 (10 A4, $1) for describing TC as a “johnny-come-lately” ‘zine, but the Rev.Sullivan later describes us as “excellent” so we’ll let him off, but suggest he gets that schizophrenia seen to! This ‘zine may not last longer, as the wrath of Carolco (makers of T2) is sure to descend if they see the back cover.Get it while it lasts.

The same might be said of Creeping Unknown 19 (40 A5, 85p), as it tells how Nick has drawn the mighty anger of Customs & Excise. You can also find out about ‘The Borrower’ and Lino rants about old people and buses – or is it people and old buses? Mortal Remains 4 (32 A4, $3.25) is a fanzine in the true sense of the word, and Kevin Lewis conveys his enthusiasm for the genre well. As does Spence, in Psychotic Reaction, Vol 2, Issue 1 (22 A4, £1) – he may have a posh glossy cover, but the sleaze and trash quotient is as high as ever (yeah!). Factsheet Five continues to amaze. Listing more ‘zines than you’d have thought possible, if you want REAL high weirdness by mail, this is a great place to start!

And the long awaited (and not just ‘cos I’ve got an article in it!) appearance of Attack of the Sad Man-Eating Mushrooms 1 (36 A4, £1.25??), which gets the prize for title of the quarter, no competition. There’s a selection of great death lines, an article on Albert Fish, some nifty artwork and a Giant Movie Monster filmography, all of which is interesting and varied reading.

Got a note from a company called ‘Destroyers‘, who sell kung fu, Chinese & Hong Kong movies – for more details, write to Destroyers, PO Box 13, London SE15 6BS. Finally, the non-zine area. Anime-day 0092 is going to take place in Sheffield on the 7th and 8th of March 1992. Book now, if for no other reason than I’ll be there so you get the chance to buy me vast quantities of alcohol… More details from Animeday 0092, c/o Sheffield Space Centre, 33 The Wicker, Sheffield S3 8HS.

  • Anime UK: Helen McCarthy, 147 Francis Road, Leyton, London E10 6NT.
  • Anti Clock Wise: PO Box 175, Liverpool, L69 8DX.
  • Creeping Unknown: Nick Cairns, c/o 33 Maltby Road, Mansfield, Notts, NG18 3BN.
  • Factsheet Five: Mike Gunderloy, 6 Arizona Ave, Rensellaer, NY 12144-4502, USA.
  • Gore Gazette: c/o Sullivan, 49 Hazel St. Clifton, NJ 07011, USA.
  • H’cheese & C’saws: Rob Bewick, 33 Ernwill Ave, Castletown, Sunderland, SR5 3EB.
  • Imaginator: Unit 1, Hawk House, Peregrine Park, Gomm Road, High Wycombe.
  • Invasion of the Sad Man-Eating Mushrooms:
  • PO Box 7, Upminster, Essex. RM14 2RH.
  • Killing Moon: Alex J.Low, 17 Stewartville St, Flat 2/7, Partick, Glasgow G11 5HR.
  • Midnight in Hell: The Cottage, Smithy Brae, Kilmalcolm, Renfrewshire, PA13 4EN.
  • Mkultra: Andrej Karczewski, Top Flat, 24 Lordship Lane, London N17 8NS.
  • Monster: Kronos Productions, MPO Box 67, Oberlin, Ohio 44074-0067, USA.
  • Mortal Remains: Kevin V. Lewis, 1835a S.Centre City Pkwy,#145, Escondido, CA 92025 USA
  • Nora K: Steve Rag, 118 High Street, Eastleigh, Hants, S05 5LR.
  • Oddo: Oddone Ricci, C.P. 1045, Bologna Centro, ITALY.
  • Orient Express: c/o Astounding Comics, 61 Pyle Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1UL.
  • Parachute Limit: c/o Max, 4122 Mt.Alifan Place #E, San Diego, CA 92111, USA.
  • Pretty Poison: Gary Gittings, c/o 307 Bloxwich Rd, Leamore, Walsall, WS2 7BD.
  • Psychotic Reaction: 50 Wingfiled Rd, Great Barr, Birmingham, B42 2QO.
  • Rattler’s Tale, Read With Mummy & Gaia News:
  • Anthony North Enterprises, BCM Keyhole, London, WC1N 3XX.
  • Scareaphanalia: Michael Gingold, PO Box 489, Murray Hill Station, New York, NY10156-0489, USA.
  • Strange Adventures & Fax 21: Tony Lee, 13 Hazely Combe, Arreton, Isle of Wight, PO30 3AJ.
  • Subterrene: Anthony Cawood, 6 Daleside Avenue, Pudsey, Leeds, LS28 8HD.
  • Trash Compactor: 253 College St, Suite #108, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5T 1R5.