College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
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Recommended Readings

Re-Search 10 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.