Sunday, April 12, 2009

Phurther Phanzine Phun!

Yet more stellar issues of this fabulous 'zine.

Issue 21 starts out with checklist of zombie films in the cinema to supplement the article from the previous issue. Given the predominance of the zombie in the latter part of the 20th and early 21st Century in the pantheon of monsters, supplanting the old classics (Frankenstein's monster, the werewolf, the vampire, the ghost and the mummy) that have dominated the genre since its' inception, this piece is still topical today.
Following this comes a nice piece comparing and contrasting the film legacy and career trajectories of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, an insightful examination of the pivotal 50's SF film "Invaders from Mars" and a lengthy addendum on a previously published article on "Vampires in the Cinema". All these pieces are well researched and written, comprehensively illustrated with numerous photos.
Photon 21

As excellent an issue as 21 is, number 23 features some of the most informative and erudite treatments on the topics discussed. In pride of place, probably one of THE best retrospectives on the often misunderstood body of work of Tod Browning ("London After Midnight", "Dracula", "Freaks" et al.), as well as an insightful and informative piece on the development and making of "Freaks", a film that still continues to shock and amaze, revolt and fascinate, and have an ongoing impact on popular culture today... ("Gooble gabble, gooble gabble - we accept you, one of us!"). It should also be noted that despite the title, this is the first cinematic venture to treat the disabled as having the same feelings, emotions, wants, needs and desires as so called "normal" people. Rounding out the issue is a detailed examination of one of the best (and again over-looked) films of the Universal horror cycle of the 1930's - James Whale's "The Invisible Man". Given the recent resurgence of interest in Whale's career (and personal life), this article offers insight on the film that bridges his works between "Frankenstein" and "Bride of Frankenstein". Again profusely illustrated by many rare photos. Solid stuff.
Photon 23

Issue 24 is the ultra-nifty 10th Anniversary issue and features a retrospective on John Brahm's rarely seen werewolf film of the 1940's "The Undying Monster", a HUGE piece on "2001", a Lon Chaney Jr. obituary by Forry Ackerman, an insightful consideration on "The Auteur in Science Fiction Films" and an absolutely AMAZING article on Italian meastro Dario Argento, again illustrated by many rare behind the scenes photos - as this piece comes pre-"Suspiria", it is oddly prescient. Plus an accompanying piece by his long-time close collaborator Luigi Cozzi is to die for!
Photon 24

Wrapping it up is Number 26, which has a detailed examination on Mario Bava's body of work, interviews with Jack Arnold, Roger Corman and Herman Cohen, another great piece on "Phantom of the Paradise" including a special panel discussion by the stars of the film, and a comprehensive evaluation of Jaques Tourneur's "Curse of the Demon". Trust me, there's even more in these 4 issues - sharp and perceptive reviews (including some by John Carpenter!), some gag articles (One-Shot One-Sheets being my fave) and letters from fans and pros alike.
Photon 26

But "What's with the fanzines, Mr. Hyper?" I hear you say. Well, I have chosen to do a bunch of these for a couple of reasons, but mainly because I'm scratching around to find items that are not readily available in the torrent-verse.
Give it a week or two though, I'm pretty sure these will get grabbed, ripped and seeded by some joker..... it's no skin off my ass. I'm getting philosophical over this. Really, as long as it gets out there, I'm not to bothered. I could watermark them or something, but that seems to be like writing on the pages with a crayon, something I would not do, literally or metaphorically.
Also, I miss 'em. Reading is something I love (Ya think?), and reading one of these from cover to cover would take many, many hours. Time well spent if you ask me. Off the top of my head, all I can think of to compare in recent years is "Psychotronic", "Scarlet Street" or "Filmfax" (and the sorely missed "Outre"), which still carry (or carried) the torch, but these old 'zines had virtually no ads, and were done for love of the genre. Nothing is finer than a labor of love, whether it's an old fanzine, a garage band, a mini-comic, an indy film, or indeed this enterprise here. 'Nuff Said!

Sorry, no rant today. I'm guessing that would be a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective, but hey - at least the posts are getting a little bit more regular (and bigger too)! OK, I guess we'll return soon-ish with more 4 color fun, as it seems you folks seem to like the funny books more than my off-trail exercises into OTR, fanzines and other stuff.
Seems that I am fated to be known as "a comic-book guy" in the compu-tronic blog-o-sphere, for better or worse, despite my feeble efforts to broaden my scope into other arenas. Kind of a shame really, as I feel I'm an auto-didactic polymath (google that one up kids), and as the old song goes, "Don't Fence Me In". Can't blame a fellow for trying to re-shuffle the deck now and again, now can you? Still, I guess you have to play the cards as they're dealt to you - it's better than nuthin' I s'pose. Oh well.....

In closing, I hope you are all happy and healthy this Easter weekend, and all the ever-expanding craziness in the world hasn't got you down too much....
Just remember these 3 important rules -
1)Be yourself.
2)Don't freak out!
3)Surf that wave.

¬°Aye Caramba! Yet another late night with a hot scanner! Sheeesh!

PS. To "The Quiet Man" regarding that Bernard Bailey info and quote... i've waded through the datajunkie archive and still can't find the damn article - possibly printed in an issue of Alter Ego from the last two years is the best I can do, but I am still looking though!

PPS. For any and all requesting re-posts (mainly of Charlton stuff), I'll do what I can, but why not try seeing what google can do for you (while I'm off doing whatever it is I'm doing). There's A LOT out there on the inter-web these days if you just take the time to have a serious look! Honest!
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