Because Ideas Matter...
The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences presents
by Stephen Romano, Idea and Design Works 2008
Reviewed by J. Rocky Colavito
Remember classic grindhouse fare like Day
of the Insects, The Undertaker and his Wife, or Chocolate Cherri on
Top? Are you a secret fan of Z-listers like Roc Benson, Gloria
Johnson, or Natalie Ustinov?
Don't worry if these titles and names don't ring bells, for they
are all figments of the beautifully demented mind of Stephen
Romano, who, along with a cast of several, celebrates the
aforementioned and others in the spectacularly over-the top and
gloriously fictional Shock Festival.
Part coffee table book, part homage to poster art, part cinema
schlock retrospective, and all made up, the book presents lavish
and glowing tribute to figments of Romano and others' fertile
imaginations, each inspired by all-nite grindhouse fare of the
sixties and seventies. It's all there: blaxploitation,
badly-dubbed, retitled Eurosleaze, mainstream blockbuster rip-offs,
red-neck road rampage; the authors don't miss a one.
The posters are eye-poppingly accurate riffs on the genre; the
profiles of the principals, though fictional, are arresting and
reflect the interview-driven reporting of cinema studies. It's a
sure conversation starter, and an inspiration to revisit some of
those real guilty pleasures of the grindhouse past.
To make things all the better, you can review Romano's artwork
at http://www.shockfestival.net, and, if this isn't enough, the end
of the book indicates the upcoming availability of a DVD collection
of trailers for many of the films that inspired the fertile minds
of Romano and his co-conspirators. You have been warned . . .
- J. Rocky Colavito is professor of English and Director of
Writing Programs at Butler University.