Friday, January 02, 2009

Farewell to a THG Contributor & Influential Zinester

A week or so ago I heard some sad news and hoped it wasn't true. Unfortunately, it was. Frequent THG contributor and influential zine creator and writer Bill Landis passed away in December.

Bill's gritty Times Square trash film and street-level sociology zine Sleazoid Express was hugely influential on a number of the junk cinema zines that appeared in the 1980s as horror and sleaze cinema had its last gasp in the theaters and exploded on VHS. It would be years before I got my hands on copies of those original cut and pasted, photocopied zines and for a long time I was only familiar with Landis and his zine through articles he occasionally wrote for the pages of Film Comment.

By the time I started Exploitation Retrospect in 1986 Landis was gone from the scene but I finally had the chance to get to know him a little when I interviewed him and Michelle Clifford, co-author of the Sleazoid Express book and his partner in reviving the zine back in the late 1990s when we needed it more than ever.

After the interview Landis, Clifford and I exchanged e-mails on occasion and the pair wrote a great piece entitled 'Eating Out the Deuce: Remembrances of Meals Past' for the pages of THG, one of the most popular pieces to appear in the print edition or on-line. Landis and I continued to chat via e-mail over the years, discussing everything from articles he'd written for the pages of Carbon 14 to topics I was exploring for freelance pieces.

The world of sleaze cinema and junk culture will miss his insights and observations into a world most will never know.

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