Saturday, 22 March 2008

The Bad Old Days

Earlier this week I got the Tony Anthony spaghetti western Comin’ At Ya! The problem was that the film is shot in 3D and thus requires red/green lenses to really be experienced properly.

Yesterday I was tidying up and found an old issue of Video World from 1992, which a friend had given me because it had an article on Lucio Fulci in it. The same issue also turned out to have a 3D Freddy’s Dead poster and glasses: Result!

I also re-read the Fulci piece, which is by Allan Bryce and was written to coincide with the UK video releases of four Fulci video nasties – Zombie Flesh Eaters, City of the Living Dead, The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery – by the notorious VIPCO.

It’s an intriguing time capsule of the bad old days, both for the heavily cut product and for showing what passed as horror film writing in the more mainstream media at the time:

“Nobody in their right mind could make the case for Fulci being a great film-maker. It’s just the opposite. His pictures are usually very poorly written, woodenly performed and clumsily directed. Their sole saving grace is the gore content, which is usually as high as Oliver Reed’s bar bill.”

I’m sure Stephen Thrower and most of us who have bothered to investigate Fulci’s wider filmography would beg to differ on this count.

Fulci may not have been a great film-maker (whatever that means) but nor was he as devoid of talent as Bryce seems to think. Indeed, in contradistinction to the “poorly written” line a few paragraphs later Bryce actually remarks on Fulci’s “sterling efforts at writing” comedy scripts in the 1960s.

What’s more amusing from a contemporary perspective is Bryce’s identification of The Psychic as Fulci’s “first brush with out-and-out gore,” in the form of the face smashing off cliff face sequence. Bryce does not, that is, recognise the origins of this in the earlier Don’t Torture a Duckling (which he refers to as The Long Night of Exorcism, as a translation of its French title) nor seem to recognise that Schizoid – i.e. Lizard in a Woman’s Skin – was originally released considerably earlier than 1979.

Thank $deity that Video Watchdog, European Trash Cinema, Giallo Pages and all the rest provided an alternative – even if, not having the backing of Richard Desmond’s Northern and Shell, they couldn’t get into newsagents in the way a Video World could.


Anonymous said...

Re: Allan Bryce --

Aaron G said...

Alan Bryce is a dirty little maggot and a useless hack...

AND, he rips of most of his DVD reviews from DVD MANAICS!