Because Ideas Matter...
The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences presents
Re/Search #10: Incredibly Strange Films
by Vivian Vale and Andrea Juno, Re/Search Publications, 1988
Reviewed by J. Rocky Colavito
The tenth volume in this seminal series for
consumers of fringe culture is a must-get-and- devour-repeatedly
offering. The book highlights, through masterfully constructed
interviews and briefer essays and notes, the vital and vibrant
landscape of non-mainstream films and filmmakers dating from the
early sixties through the eighties.
If you aren't familiar with the body of work produced by auteurs
such as Ted V. Mikels (whose film The Doll Squad purportedly serves
as a template for Charlie's Angels), Russ Meyer (who quite
ostentatiously put the T in T and A), Herschell Gordon Lewis (a
Humanities professor at Mississippi State University who became a
pioneer in the use of graphic gore in films) and others you will be
upon reading this book. The interviewers effectively distance
themselves in the Q and A sessions, and allow the interviewees to
spin yarns, tell tales, and set the record straight, offering
prescient insight into their body of work and their experiences
producing it. Their answers expose on-set happenings in films so
"incredibly strange" that they often confound the imagination
resulting in an exhaustive look at the work of these "icons"
heretofore only known to rabid fans of the genres.
Supplemented with short essays on a variety of film genres
(Beach Party films, Mondo films, and Women in Prison films, among
others), well-illustrated with movie stills, and helpfully
buttressed with original ad mats and press book synopses, this text
deserves a space on the shelf of anyone with an interest in film,
mainstream or otherwise.
-J. Rocky Colavito is professor of English and Director of
Writing Programs at Butler University.