The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema
Published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2017. 352 pages.
By Michael Vaughn
In his introduction, author Vaughn writes, “…it’s hard to reproduce the feel of a real book in your hands, and I refuse to believe printed material is dead.” Okay…so it’s kind of hard to criticize an author when he has the same feelings on books as I do. But none the less, I started to dig into this volume with the same quizzical interest that I do every I review. Will he mention the right kind of titles here, or just rehash the same old “cult” films that are so common you’ll find t-shirts of them at your local Hot Topic. It didn’t take me long to realize that Vaughn has done something special here.
Just quickly paging through this, I was enthusiastic to see so many great little titles being covered, from some more common titles to some that I haven’t thought of in decades, as well as mentioning plenty of titles that are now written down in my Need-To-See list! That is the real beauty of this volume is that it is going to bring some that are in that deserve some much needed attention, hoping to breath a little life again to these new fans reading this book. Vaughn covers titles from around the world and in a variety of different genres. Not just the usual horror & sci-fi entries, but also dramas, comedies, crime/thrillers, and even one chapter entitled Cars, Trucks, and Choppers, but that all still fit inside the strange world of cult cineam. How cool is that?
With as many titles that I add to my library each and every year, if I don’t force myself some rules, I’ll never get through some of these. Back in 2015, I’ve set myself a goal to get through at least one book per month. That year I almost made it, getting through eleven. Then last year, I devoured fourteen titles! Then this year I did even one better and made it to fifteen titles. Trust me, I wish I had the time to double that number since when you have over a thousand titles in your library, and are constantly adding new ones, it is a never ending quest. But one I that I just love. Just like my Best Of movie lists, these are not titles that came out this last year, but ones that I finally got around to. Out of those fifteen, here are the top five that I would recommend the most:
Back in 2013, Dave Jay and Torsten Dewi, along with Nathan Shumate, wrote Empire of the B’s: The Mad Movie World of Charles Band, which was published by Hemlock Books. This covered the early days of Charles Band’s Empire Pictures, which gave us a plethora of titles, many of them still considered classics today. But that changed before the ’80s were done and Band created a new empire…Full Moon Entertainment Studio. Now, Jay and Dewi, along with William S. Wilson this time, tackle the mighty task of diving in to the history of this low budget studio that made their mark with the straight-to-video market filling the shelves at the video stores with titles like the ongoing series Subspecies, Dollman, Puppet Master, the Trancers sequels, and a ton of other titles. All of this and more will be within the pages of It Came from the Video Aisle!