Thursday, February 19, 2009

Before or After VW?

While perusing the Mario Bava items currently being hawked on eBay, I was startled to find this strangely familiar box art for a Greek VHS release of BLOOD AND BLACK LACE [Sei donne per l'assassino, 1964]. This Video Cronos release isn't dated anywhere on the auction page, but it's possible this box art design actually predates the debut of VIDEO WATCHDOG, since VHS has been around since 1979 or thereabouts. If this release came after 1990, it would offer compelling proof of VW's influence. If it dates from before 1990, it's an impressive bit of foreshadowing, linking Bava with the magazine that would later publish his biography.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Recent Activities

Donna and I spent the Valentine's Day weekend in Nashville, Tennessee -- our first-ever visit there -- where we visited with friends, had some delicious sushi at a Sapporo in Rivergate, and spent some time at a full-scale replica of the Parthenon, constructed there over 100 years ago for the city's centenary celebration.

While there, I also went inside to pledge eternal fealty to the goddess Athena.
The timing of this trip was cosmically fortuitous. During the four-hour drive from Cincinnati to Nashville, we drove past the Kentucky birthplace of Abraham Lincoln -- on his 200th birthday. Two days later -- in the early hours of St. Valentine's Day (when the above pictures were taken), for a total of 18 minutes -- the Moon was reportedly in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars, signalling the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, as described in the popular song from the 1960s musical HAIR.
I've also been...
... celebrating my and VW's various Rondo nominations, and the recent optioning of my original horror script SCARS & STRIPES by the British production company Livestock Entertainment.
... polishing an unpublished science fiction novel, THE ART WORLD, for another crack at publication.
... planning a four-issue graphic novel story arc for a leading comics company.
... enjoying some particularly wonderful, rewarding correspondences. One of these inspired me to revisit Bergman's FANNY AND ALEXANDER, which was time very well spent.
... looking forward to returning to the pool with my new Finis SwiMP3 player. I imagine Scott Walker and Echo and the Bunnymen will sound especially good underwater.
... reading Frank Harris' legendary MY LIFE AND LOVES (Grove Press). I can remember a time when this book looked too long to read. Very educational; should have read this in my 20s.
... listening a lot to Marianne Faithfull's BEFORE THE POISON, which I find superior to her celebrated '70s album BROKEN ENGLISH.
... thinking seriously about selling off large chunks of my poster, lobby card, book and magazine collections. Now that my body has lost 40+ pounds, I'm finding that my acquisitions weigh too much.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

VW Sweeps Rondo 7 with 10 Nominations!

The nominations for the 7th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards were posted over the weekend at the Rondo Award website, and I'm pleased to report that VIDEO WATCHDOG earned no fewer than ten (10) nominations, while my own outside projects, including this blog, earned another three (3)! They are as follows...

BEST BOOK
THE BOOK OF LISTS: HORROR edited by Amy Wallace, Del Howison and Scott Bradley (to which I contributed)


Also nominated: VW's own Tom Weaver and Anthony Ambrogio for, respectively, I TALKED WITH A ZOMBIE and YOU'RE NEXT! LOSS OF IDENTITY IN THE HORROR FILM.

BEST MAGAZINE OF 2008
VIDEO WATCHDOG

BEST ARTICLE (8 nominations! More than any other magazine!)
'Amy and Her Friends: The Ann Carter Interview,' by Tom Weaver, VIDEO WATCHDOG #137. A career retrospective with the young star of a Val Lewton classic.

'Bewitching Hazel,' by David Del Valle, VIDEO WATCHDOG #140. Remembrance of late Hammer star Hazel Court.

'California Gothic: The Corman/Haller Collaboration,' roundtable with Roger Corman, Daniel Haller and Joe Dante, moderated by Lawrence French, VIDEO WATCHDOG #138. Tales from the sets of the Poe films and more.

'A Eulogy for Charles B. Griffith,' by Justin Humphreys, VIDEO WATCHDOG #141. A friend remembers the touching final days of the eccentric writer behind AIP classics.

'Harry Redmond Jr.: Last Survivor of Skull Island,' by Mark F. Berry, VIDEO WATCHDOG #146. Interview and revelations from last production veteran of King Kong and other RKO Cooper-Schoedsack-O'Brien classics.

'The Prisoner: A New Order,' by Tim Lucas, VIDEO WATCHDOG #142. Making new sense of the village by reshuffling the episodes.

'Suspense: The Lost Episodes,' reviewed by Kim Newman, VIDEO WATCHDOG #140. Episodes from dawn of TV described in kinoscopic detail.

'The Ubiquitous Dabbs Greer,' by M.J. Simpson, VIDEO WATCHDOG #144. The character actor interviewed about HOUSE OF WAX, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and more.

An incredibly tough competition!

BEST MAGAZINE COVER
VIDEO WATCHDOG #137 - Ann Carter and Simone Simon cover by Charlie Largent

BEST HORROR BLOG
Video WatchBlog by Tim Lucas

I was also surprised and interested to see that a new "write-in" category has been introduced this year: Best DVD Reviewer.

I sincerely hope you'll all take the time to vote for your favorites in the various categories. As I've said here before, I'm not asking you to vote for VW or for me, necessarily (of course, I'd be the last to discourage you from doing so!); the important thing is to do your part to see excellence in the field of fantastic film journalism and pop culture acknowledged and rewarded. The ballot page tells you everything you need to know about voting; it's easy, and you needn't vote in every category. Voting ends on March 21.
My congratulations and best wishes to all of this year's nominees!