Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Some VIDEO WATCHDOG (P)updates

I neglected to mention that, on June 15, VIDEO WATCHDOG marked the 24th anniversary of the printing and delivery of its very first issue. So VW is now officially in its 25th year of publication. It's hard to believe that we're not only still doing this after all these years, but still evolving it.

You're surely wondering what has happened to the Digital Edition of VW 176, especially since 177 is already in the hands of our first-class subscribers. It is coming, but Donna has been very tied up with other duties - sending out the new issue, prepping the next one (which I'm programming and editing now) and also working with associates to get our back issue inventory digitized and digitally restored so that we can keep our Indiegogo promise to deliver that Digital Archive before the end of the year. But all the digital bells and whistles are in place for 176 - she just has to find the time to drop everything into its proper place and upload it.

For those of you who keep track of my audio commentaries, we're now in the midst of a virtual epidemic of them. Since last fall, I've recorded an even dozen commentaries for various companies, most of them in the UK. My most recent ones for Kino Lorber/Redemption have been out for awhile now, the three Jess Franco titles (A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD, NIGHTMARES COME AT NIGHT and THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF) and Bava's 5 DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON. Available now, or in the immediate future, are two from Arrow Films: Roger Corman's PIT AND THE PENDULUM (also available as a steelbook) and Robert Fuest's DR PHIBES RISES AGAIN in their box set THE COMPLETE DR PHIBES. The cherry on top of the cake (or is it the cake on top of the cherry) will be the release of the BFI's ALAIN ROBBE-GRILLET 1963-1974 box set which includes a new commentary from me on each of the five main features; as audio commentaries go, I have to say this is my proudest accomplishment. I've also delivered a commentary for one of my favorite movies, Georges Franju's EYES WITHOUT A FACE, for the BFI's upcoming release of that title. I've agreed to do another commentary for an upcoming US release which hasn't yet been announced, and still another is being discussed.

Donna and I also intend to be adding some material to our digital edition of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK in acknowledgement of Mario's centenary on July 30 of this year. If you've already bought and downloaded the book's digital edition, your copy will be automatically updated. And if you haven't, what are you waiting for?

Donna tells me that we are now officially down to our last 100 copies of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK. The book will never again be published in this same deluxe, unexpurgated format and there are no plans for us to reprint it in any form at present. Remember, this is not just a critical biography of Mario Bava; it also tells the entire story of Italian cult cinema from its silent origins till its climactic crisis in the 1980s. It also encompasses the careers of many other important players in Bava's filmography, notably those of Aldo Fabrizi, Gina Lollobrigida and Steve Reeves. If you want to own a copy, I'll tell you, in all seriousness, that this would be the time to start seriously pooling your resources to do so. We're not going to do a countdown or anything; we'll  just be suddenly announcing one day that it's no longer available from us. And then -- as you and I will both sadly see -- the going price will shoot up even higher as it falls under the control of secondary sellers. But the digital edition will remain available - with all the advantages of the tangible edition (save tangibility!) and none of the disadvantages. It's even easy to read in bed!

I've got some other projects in progress as well. I've been editing and revising an unpublished novel of mine, THE ONLY CRIMINAL, which I've mentioned here before, in the hope that it might soon see the light of day. My BOOK OF RENFIELD appeared some ten years after THROAT SPROCKETS, and it's now going on ten years since BOOK OF RENFIELD appeared, so I'm due to return as a novelist. I also completed a novelette last year that we expected to bring out this year, but which got pushed aside by the imperatives of the Digital Edition project... I got some fabulous advance blurbs on it and am looking forward to its release sometime next year as well.

What else? Oh yes, don't forget that I'm writing a column for GOREZONE called "Tales From the Attic." In their next issue, I offer my own personal list of the Ten Best horror cinema-related books I've read, along with another ten back-up recommendations. Till now, GOREZONE has been available by subscription only, but I understand this is now changing and the next issue will receive some limited newsstand circulation. Check it out!

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