Thursday, May 7, 2009
The Perfect Violence
When you stop to think about the magazines that cover the horror genre today you might get stuck on the big buck ones that are full color and come out monthly or even bi-monthly. Those have their worth for getting out the news on the big films (or studio press releases as it may be in some cases) but for my money THE best magazine in the genre right now is ULTRA VIOLENT, severed hands down. You may have to wait a year for each new issue, and they don't generally cover the latest in cinematic slop that is coagulating the cinematic multiplex sewer pipe. But what they DO deliver is some of the BEST fucking writing on the genre going. UV has the most knowledgeable genre staff writers on the planet. I challenge anyone to find people who can compare brain cell for brain cell with the people writing for them when it comes to knowledge of our beloved genre. In a day and age where every hack with a blog (ha, that sounds familiar, as he looks around the room and realizes he is talking about himself in third person) thinks they are an expert because they read the IMDB and visit a few message boards, thank god for the people who write at UV because they really, honestly know what the fuck they are talking about. (Okay, it should be known that I wrote a couple of reviews for ONE issue, four years ago. But I EXCLUDE myself from all the accolade in the previous paragraph. I hardly wrote enough to be considered any kind staff writer, at all!)
With that in mind it says a lot to call Issue 10 their best issue to date. And I can say that because I have read them all, right from the beginning. The magazine has grown in leaps and bounds as writers came and went and the staff finally settled in with the group they have now, who frankly all are fantastic. But even with that there are sometimes articles that don't quite make it, either the content is only marginally interesting (really a matter of opinion of course), or maybe it comes off a bit rushed. Nothing feels that way this time. Everything clicks just right.
This issue is all highlights so it is hard to pick ones to recommend, but a stand out for me is the interview with illusive Documentarian Robert Hendrickson who directed the incredible 1973 MANSON and has continued to fight legal battles regarding the film and it's copyright ever since. He's a fascinating (and quite ornery) character who has, as far as I know, never been interviewed elsewhere. His talk is in depth and quite enlightening. Publisher Scott Gabey should be proud of his work on this interview. Also terrific is Art Ettinger's amazing, career spanning talk with Giovanni Lambardo Radice aka John Morghan aka Dirty Mike to CANNIBAL FEROX fans. This is no slobbering fan boy talk where just questions about getting his head drilled by Fulci, or getting castrated by Cannibals come up. This mother covers his family history, his commercial and stage work, his sexuality, his genre work, working with various actors and directors, going to conventions... You name it Art asks it. An in depth and groundbreaking interview that would be worth picking up the issue for alone. Mr Ettinger has developed his skills as an interviewer to an art form that mirrors the days of the old SECONDS magazine. Topping this one for him will be difficult. But I look forward for him to try. Also of immense worth is the interview with indie/cult director Eric Stanze by Ally Melling. Eric has been interviewed a lot by the underground zine press so getting info out of him that is new and fresh is not an easy feat but Ally has done so. She also manages a solid interview that covers his history without being the type of talk that degenerates into questions of "you've made some crazy disturbing movies, do you love gore?" that would belittle his intelligent work. She takes the high road showing she really gets what he is doing, thus bringing out good intelligent answers. It is a great piece that counter balances the other pieces on classic genre/exploitation by celebrating a true indie visionary. Her work as an interviewer is exemplary as well. Lest be it for me to let you believe that only the interviews are worthwhile. Heather Drain's piece on BLITZKRIEG: ESCAPE FROM STALAG 69 is an exceptionally well written piece that not only spotlights the intense dedication it takes to make an independent film in this day and age (especially one that is part of a genre that has laid dormant for 25 years!) but also explores that very genre and how it works. If you weren't interested in this movie before this article, you will be after it as she really explores the characters and their roots, the actors playing them and how they chose to perform those roles. It is an intriguing piece. (Now I just wish i had the time to sit down with the movie which is sitting on my work table right now!).
To say all of this stuff is great, even when there is an excellent interview with my favorite filmmaker of all time Alexandro Jodorowsky in this issue just goes to show the high level of excellence on display here. Plus there is a shit-ton more, and plenty of reviews to! So get on this train and pick this up. It should be hitting stands soon (if not already). Grab a copy today!
Ultra Violent Magazine