Monday, February 23, 2009


If this blog should be doing anything, it is helping to promote the venerable hub of this freewheeling enterprise: VIDEO WATCHDOG magazine. I've been solipsistically remiss in mentioning here that VW 147 is now en route to subscribers and newsstands, and available now from our toll free 1-800-275-8395 number.

For those of you who favor Eurohorror, this current issue features an engrossing and illuminating (if I do say so myself) round table discussion of Dario Argento's MOTHER OF TEARS, with input from Maitland McDonagh, Kim Newman, Richard Harland Smith, Brad Stevens and yours truly. And, obsessives that we are, we let the thing roll on for 21 pages illustrated in full color! Where else are you going to get that? This is also one of those proud issues that has something to offer readers of every taste, from Jean-Pierre Melville noirs to horror classics from the '30s through present day, and both Kim Newman and Audio Watchdog Douglas E. Winter have their respective says about Peter Watkins' seminal rock-oriented cautionary tale PRIVILEGE. You can get the whole rundown on the issue here, complete with four free sample pages to whet your appetite.

Those of you who have been secretly wishing to write for VW over the years, but have been deterred by our "on an invitational basis only" restriction, may find an announcement in my current editorial of especial interest.

A great issue, this one, but being a monthly gives us no time to rest on our laurels. Last week, we put the finishing touches on our next issue, VW 148, which is now at the printer. Our readers have been urging us to follow our head by covering more obscure product, which we're happy to do, but if we want to keep the folks at Diamond Comics Distribution (and, by extension, ourselves) happy, we're going to have to do everything we can to keep our covers more recognizably commercial. I think Charlie and Donna's cover for 148 is a stellar example of doing this in the prettiest and most tempting way possible.

VW 148 is not billed as such, but it's actually one of our popular "all-review" issues. We weren't planning to emphasize STARDUST to this extent, but the quality of Sheldon Inkol's writing about the film, and the wealth of beautiful images available to us from it, conspired to give this issue both a special identity and sense of direction. Charlie did a lovely job of framing the ever-photogenic Michelle Pfeiffer on the cover, and adding sprinkles of his own stardust to the framing background. I also like the diversity of Donna's choices for the supporting images on the cover stripe, ranging from the British TV miniseries DEAD SET to Al Pacino (so memorable opposite Pfeiffer in FRANKIE AND JOHNNY) in the thriller 88 MINUTES, to classic stars like Fred Williamson and Sidney "Charlie Chan" Toler. This should be shorthand to our readers that, while our cover aims to appeal to wider or at least consistent numbers, the innards of this issue delve well into our usual depths.
Aside from reviews of everything from Herschell Gordon Lewis' MOONSHINE MOUNTAIN to Hideo Nakata's thought-lost ghost story KAIDAN (a remake of a Nobuo Nakagawa classic, to which we have frame grabs comparing and contrasting both versions), the real centerpiece of this issue is Kim Newman's review of the seven features collected in Fox's CHARLIE CHAN VOLUME 5 (including the spooky and rarely seen DEAD MEN TELL), which we've chosen to present in the form of a feature called "Charlie Chan: Curtain Down at Fox." You can read more about this terrific issue here, in our current "Coming Soon" section.

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