Sunday, October 26, 2008

31 DAYS OF FRIGHT: It Was 22 Years Ago... To This Very Day

When a post on a horror-related blog has a title like "It Was 22 Years Ago... To This Very Day" it usually relates to a slasher flick. You know the kind, where a horrible event from twenty-odd years ago leads to some sort of massacre at a summer camp or even a youth language school.

In this case, though, the title refers to the true "birth" of Exploitation Retrospect, the zine that begat the blog you're reading. While ER got its start on – of all places – a tennis court in South Jersey, the publication received some welcome publicity back on 10/22/86 when Lou Gaul, a local film and entertainment writer, wrote an article about the zine we'd sent him.

Gaul, unlike some of the other film critics in the Philly/South Jersey area at the time, was actually a horror and sci-fi fan and never failed to give low-budget flicks a fair shake. We'd sent him a copy of the zine because we thought he'd get a kick out of it, never expecting a feature article in his paper's entertainment section the Sunday before Halloween.

But there we were, co-editor/co-founder Lou Goncey and me, posing for photos and dishing about our favorite horror and exploitation films. Though we didn't know it at the time, the area was crawling with like-minded fans and we soon had actual letters arriving wanting to know where and how people could get the zine.

Looking back on the article – and my Top 10 list – makes me laugh at the thought that I actually put together a list of personal faves for a family newspaper that included the likes of THE EXTERMINATOR, BLOODSUCKING FREAKS and THE TOOLBOX MURDERS! I can only hope that curious area film fans stopped by their local video store to rent some of these titles and got bit by the exploitation bug.

My tastes have definitely changed over the past couple decades and any list of my Top 10 now would certainly include much more Eurotrash, like Paul Naschy's HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMBS and HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE, Lucio Fulci's THE BEYOND and the stupid but brilliant zombiefest NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIES.

But one thing still hasn't changed... RE-ANIMATOR remains my favorite film. Ever.

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