Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Vintage Classic That Never Existed

Dedicated to my Grindhouse Goodfellas out there, here's a little diddy that's been around awhile and well worth rediscovering again... Quoted as 'GRINDHOUSE meets SPINAL TAP', the good folks over at IDW presents Stephen Romano's SHOCK FESTIVAL, a hardcover 356 page pictorial ode to the grindhouse era and it's alternate B-movie universe of sleazy producers, heinous directors, and 'do-it-all' actors and actresses struggling to make it into the upper echelons of the Hollywood inner circle... The byline on the book's cover guarantees it's readers of 101 exploitation movies that you've NEVER seen. Trust me, you haven't, and I don't care how much of a movie enthusiast you claim to be... And that's part of the beauty of this book... As well as the gag.

The brainchild of TIM BRADSTREET, THOMAS JANE, and STEPHEN ROMANO, the group took 2 years in recreating an era of the 70's and 80's that NEVER EXISTED, yet once you begin reading it (complete with theatrical posters, italian lobby cards, prose novel covers, soundtracks, and pics), you'll actually catch yourself thinking 'these events ACTUALLY took place'! You can almost smell the lurid backalleys, reel in disgust at some of the tactics used to make these films happen, and feel for those people who thrived and suffered for their art.

"We wanted to do a book that was a complete fabrication, but remain completely true to the spirit of these films we love," says creator Stephen Romano. "Basically what you are looking at is a sort of "historical novel" that uses the period and the art styles of movie posters to tell a compelling story. That was the challenge of SHOCK FESTIVAL. It's an epic tale disgusted as a garish, over-the-top work of "psychotronic" film journalism, guaranteed to stun the most jaded people out there."

SHOCK FESTIVAL 'recounts' 20 years of exploitive filmmaking that's as shocking as it is fun (look for THOMAS JANE in the book as the wild, B-movie tough guy, Elliot Swan, as well as art by Bradstreet, Dave Hartman, Michael Broom, and 'surprises' that may catch you offguard as their styles are so radically different here.). The full gamut is run here: The greatness of Blaxploitation sensations SASSY BLACK ( 'the other Pam Grier') and LEON CURVE ('Shaft's other revenge'), the super producer of the era ROC BENSON, psycho slasher flicks, sci-fi obscurities, monster movies, and vintage exploitation classics of all genres, all highlighted with over 600+ posters designed by Romano, Bradstreet, and crew. This book pulls NO punches and is SO worthy on any movie lovers book shelf!

JOEL SILVER used parts of this book (as well as the thematic of The BLAIR WITCH PROJECT) to co-produce THE HILLS RUN RED, of a film crew in search of film footage that's been missing for over 20 years; supposedly billed as 'the scariest footage anyone could ever see'... SHOCK FESTIVAL, already a hit on the film circuit as a 3 disc DVD compilation, I personally can't wait to see what RAW ENTERTAINMENT and IDW cooks up next in this genre!

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