Here's a kind of funny video: a local news report about Mogadore, Ohio-based filmmaker J.R. Bookwalter from 1990. J.R. posted it on his blog a while back.
I lifted my blog name/book title from J.R.'s first film (the Akron-lensed The Dead Next Door), and back in the 1990s I spent a LOT of time sitting around his "corporate offices," where I always felt I was in imminent danger of being crushed by a teetering stack of Tempe Video's latest releases.
We thought we'd had the last word on lost shot-on-video horror films with the discovery of the Spanish VHS release of Southern Shockers, but the folks over at new label Warlock Home Video have us beat -- they're releasing a whole horde of brand new SOV fright flicks, but in a postmodern, time-bending twist, they have made them all look as if they are lost 1980s backyard monster movies.
So it's kind of like what Camp Motion Pictures does, except it's all like, meta or something.
Warlock was founded by New York filmmaker Chris Seaver and actor/writer Andrew Baltes, and you can read an interview with them here. I don't know what the movies are like, but they have fantastic covers.
Seaver, by the way, was the brains behind Low Budget Pictures, who gave us the likes of Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker! (2001) and Teenape Goes to Camp (2008).
Those of you who've seen Psycho From Texas may have often wondered: who the heck made this gonzo flick? Now the story can be told -- director Jim Feazell has written an autobiography.
Psycho From Texas is a video oddity that has appeared under a number of different titles. Anticipating Fargo by several years, it concerns the botched kidnapping of an oilman by his daughter's scheming boyfriend. It not only features what may be one of the longest foot chases in cinema history, but also includes an early appearance by scream queen Linnea Quigley, and a psychotic killer (John King III) who obviously served as the inspiration for Javier Bardem's hairstyle in No Country for Old Men.
Unlike many one-shot regional film producers of the era, Feazell was already a showbiz vet by the time he made his signature fright flick, and his new autobiography Feathers lays out his fascinating life story -- from his childhood in Arkansas, to his work as a singer, stuntman, actor, director, producer, and author. Now in his 80s, Feazell may also be the most badass Wal-Mart greeter West of the Mississippi.
But back to Psycho From Texas. Thankfully, Feazell lays out the movie's confusing production history over several chapters late in the book, explaining its evolution from the crime film Wheeler (which Feazell four-walled in Arkansas) to its retitling as The Hurting. New footage was shot several years later to turn it into an R-rated thriller (this is where the footage of young Linnea Quigley having beer poured over head came from). The re-edited version was sold to distributor C.L. McLaughlin of Showcase Entertainment. He then re-edited the film again (mucking up the continuity), and came up with the Psycho title.
Feazell also includes several images of the original Wheeler and Hurting posters.
Feazell has his own website, where you can learn more about the whopping nine books he's self published over the last few years.
UPDATE: As it turns out, Fred is not actually dead. See the comments below for an update, or visit this interesting discussion thread over at AV Maniacs.
It's taken me a while to get back to updating this blog, but I didn't want to let any more time pass without noting that Fred Adelman, a friend of the site and longtime editor of the 'zine Critical Condition and its Web incarnation, died back in December.
I never met Fred personally, but I spoke to him online several time, bought the digital version of his jaw-dropping collection of VHS cover and newspaper admat scans, and he graciously gave me permission to use the images here and in the upcoming regional horror films book.
He was an opinionated and often cranky contributor to a number of message boards, but his informed opinions and bottomless knowledge of obscure cinematic trivia were always a welcome part of the discussion.
According to a close friend of Fred's, who has taken over his Facebook page, the Critical Condition site will remain active, and Fred's massive collection of videotapes and memorabilia should hopefully find a good home soon.
In the meantime, click on over and enjoy one of my favorite parts of Fred's site -- the visual history of 1980s video companies. It's exactly the type of "is it genius or is it madness" compulsive documentation that made Fred such an important figure in this small but fervent corner of fandom.
The Dead Next Door is a blog about regional or "backyard" horror and science fiction films made from the late 1950s to the earlyl 1990s (and beyond). These films were released during the peak years of independent film production, created by a motley crew of seasoned pros, gifted amateurs, and enthusiastic genre fans, along with dozens of eccentric dreamers -- doctors, lawyers, insurance salesmen, publishers, commercial filmmakers, TV production crews and moonlighting pornographers -- all looking for their big break or a fast buck or both.