Friday, March 20, 2009

Rondo Voting Ends Tomorrow!

Still haven't voted for your favorites in the 7th Annual Rondo Awards? Better make up your mind, because tomorrow (Saturday) night, March 21, at 12:00 midnight is the deadline! Visit the Rondo Award website for the list of nominees and send your choices to and remember Donna Lucas, the designer of each and every issue of VW since the Dawn of Time, for Best Artist!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

VIDEODROME Hardcover Available Now

You may remember that my Studies in the Horror Film book on VIDEODROME was originally announced as forthcoming in both trade paperback and signed/numbered limited hardcover editions. Some of you have expressed a special interest in acquiring the hardcover, which did not materialize at the same time as the softcover, and a few of you may have even been holding out in favor of it. So I'm happy to be able to pass along the news that the hardcover edition is now in house at Millipede Press and available for purchase. Collectors should note this is the author's first-ever signed/numbered limited edition -- if you don't count a 20-copy signed/numbered edition of an illustrated prose poem called "Amelia Earhart" that I Kinko'd for a select group of friends back in the mid-1970s, and I don't think we should. Long live the VIDEODROME ordering page, which you can find here.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

846, or On Second Thought...

At Donna's suggestion, I am going to reactivate Video WatchBlog -- but not to become what it was before. Because VIDEO WATCHDOG remains our bread and butter, we need a place to make timely announcements to our readers, and this is the most convenient and sensible place to do that. So, while I will not be posting additional articles or essays here, I will pop back from time to time to advise you of special offers, personal appearances and such.

I am, I repeat, AM done with blogging.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I have no more time in my life for this blog,
Too much else that I'd rather be doing;
It's hard to have a life and do the Watchdog
And this; it seems I'm always reviewing.

This is post Eight hundred and forty five
But I need to pull the plug, I just do.
The show will go on, the mag will still thrive,
But from here, I must bid you adieu.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Birthday Love to Coralina

Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni is Italian horror's reigning Diva of Delicious Death Scenes, but she is also a dear friend, an inspiring fellow artist, and our beloved sister, so Donna joins me today in sending her our warmest regards on the anniversary of her birth. She's seen here with us at last October's Cinema Wasteland convention, embracing her own personal copy of the Bava book, while we embrace her -- as I wish we could be doing right now.

Coralina first won the hearts of horror fans as another birthday girl: the ill-fated, talon-sprouting, pus-erupting Sally of Lamberto Bava's DEMONS 2: THE NIGHTMARE BEGINS -- a legitimately great monster performance. She can currently be seen in what is surely the most outrageous of her many death scenes in Dario Argento's MOTHER OF TEARS (featured in the new issue of VIDEO WATCHDOG), and is presently engaged in many different projects we eagerly await, including an ambitious authorized biography written with Filippo Brunamonti, new paintings and music, and some original screenplay projects written in collaboration with the talented writer-director Mariano Baino (DARK WATERS).

You can see the delightfully experimental and allusive 6m trailer for Coralina's and Filippo Brunamonti's forthcoming book on her MySpace page here (which includes a Hitchcock-like cameo by... er, another book), and also sample tracks from her CD, LIMBO BALLOON -- which capture the real Coralina I know and love.

"Happy Birthday!" the dark incubus spake.
"Now tie the birthday girl down
And... cut the cake!"

Criterion's MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION reviewed

Robert Taylor chases Irene Dunne's skirt right into the path of a speeding car in the 1935 version of MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION.

My review of Douglas Sirk's -- and John M. Stahl's -- MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (Criterion DVD) appears in the March 2009 issue of SIGHT & SOUND, now on newsstands. It can be also read for free on their website, here.

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.