Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Have Yourself a Trashy Little Christmas: Day 1/filmBRAWL

When I woke up this morning I realized that somehow, when I wasn't looking, we'd arrived at December. The twinkling lights on my neighbors' homes, trees strapped to car roofs and that festival of lights we went to a few days ago should have tipped me off but what can I say... I'm getting old.

With the holidays right around the corner I figured it was a good idea to get around to plugging some of the groovy books, movies, music and more that have brightened my days of late. If you've got a trash fan on your shopping list I'm sure they'd love any of the items we'll be writing up.

Or, maybe you're the trash fan who always ends up with comically off-base stuff people think you'll like. If that's the case, just point them here... I promise not to steer anybody wrong!

Our first item is something you'd think had gone the way of the dinosaur thanks to the internet. No, not hardcore printed smut. It's the ever-popular capsule review film book!

I used to buy a ton of these books in the 80s and early 90s, but I eventually realized that most of the people writing these things did not share the same cinematic worldview as me. In other words, they were not recommending I spend my birthday watching James Toback's LOVE & MONEY with Klaus Kinski, Ray Sharkey and Armand Assante.

Frankly, I was probably better off listening to the recommendations of friends who also had blogs or hung out on the same obscure film groups.

Luckily, one pal – Brian Harris of the excellent Wildside Cinema – has collected his opinions into filmBRAWL a bullet-stopping 648-page volume that deserves a place right next to your computer, tv or wherever you add to your Netflix queue. (The book is also available as a digital download.)

Harris keeps the capsules short and to the point, with each entry featuring a spoiler-free write-up and simple five-star rating system that will quickly tell you if you should spend your time on PULSE 3: INVASION (*) or LUCKER THE NECROPHAGOUS (****). As the author states in the intro, you'll find everything in these pages from Jess Franco to Cannon Films, but he's also not afraid to endorse a creepy classic that you might have overlooked when you were spending your days watching GATES OF HELL (****) for the 17th time.

Best of all, in reading the reviews you get the feeling that Harris – who I only know from on-line exchanges – is the kind of film fan you'd love to hang out with, shooting the shit about your favorite trash flicks while downing a few beers and watching AMERICAN NINJA (***). And that, my friends, is about the best endorsement I can give any film book!

And if you ever need a break from the cavalcade of reviews, Harris even packs the back of the book with some interviews with genre vets (and newcomers) whose names you know (FRIGHT NIGHT helmer Tom Holland) and those you may not (Mike Mendez who directed THE CONVENT and CHAINSAW SALLY actress April Burril).

filmBRAWL receives the highest Exploitation Retrospect endorsement and the Trash Xmas Seal of Approval!

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