Monday, June 6, 2011

Gorgon Video Magazine: Volume 2 (1989)

... aka: Stuart S. Shapiro's Gorgon Video Magazine: Volume 2

Directed by:
Paul Bacca
Adam Cohen
Joe Horne
Todd Edan Miller
Evan Pendell
Rob Polich
Alexander Poppas
Charles Schneider
Stuart S. Shapiro
Garth Van Spruiell
Patricia Wadsley

Both this and the original GORGON VIDEO MAGAZINE provide a great look at what was going on in late 80s horror. I learned a lot of things I didn't know from watching both. Unfortunately, this second and final video magazine (a special Halloween edition again hosted by Michael Berryman and running 90 minutes) was never officially released to video stores. A series of screener copies however were sent out to a few places, which is how I was able to obtain a copy (which had "Screening Copy" on the bottom the entire time).

.....................................Starring your host... Michael Berryman!

Director Stuart Gordon says he wants to make movies that "amaze, astound and make you lose your cookies." He discusses the fall of Empire Pictures ("I felt lost..."), his background in live theater and with the successful Organic Theater Company, problems with the rating's board and how horror films help one deal with their own mortality. We get to see clips from RE-ANIMATOR (1985), DOLLS (1986), FROM BEYOND (1986) and ROBOT JOX (1989); the latter being the highest budgeted Empire Picture at 7 million dollars. We also get some rare 8mm film clips from Gordon's early b/w short Mental Illness for Fun + Profit. At the end of the interview, Gordon says that he's getting ready to shoot THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM and the slated stars are Peter O'Toole, Billy Dee Williams and Sherilyn Fenn (none of whom were actually in the cast once it was made).

.................................Director / writer / cookie loser Stuart Gordon.

Linnea Quigley demonstrates her scream and introduces our next segment on Penn and Teller. Naturally, Penn Gillette does all the talking... about how he and Teller were bored with modern magic ("it sucked!") and wanted to do something bold and different. We get to see clips from their starring vehicle PENN AND TELLER GET KILLED, as well as the secrets behind their Rat Cage trick. Penn cites Romero's zombie trilogy as the three most important horror/gore movies, calls When Harry Met Sally "a piece of absolute shit" and says of the MPAA that "They're trying to give more power to the half-assed gore movies - the Jason and the Michael Myers and the guys who have the studios behind them."

............................Shock magicians and Romero fanboys, Penn and Teller.

Next up with a scene from HALLOWEEN (1978) and director Dominique Othenin-Girard talks about the upcoming HALLOWEEN 5, which is ironic since several people in this documentary actually knock the series, as well as the Friday the 13th and Elm Street franchises. A segment on talented special effects artist Screaming Mad George (who took his name from Screaming Jay Hawkins) is up next. We get to see some of his work for POLTERGEIST II (1986), CURSE II: THE BITE (1989), SOCIETY (1989) and others, as well as his paintings, animation sequences he designed and some footage of one of his three (!) bands performing. He says his inspiration was looking at art books in 8th grade, particularly the work of Salvador Dali. Rob Bottin and Dick Smith, and their work on ALTERED STATES (1980) and THE THING (1982), got him interested in special effects.

..................The Screaming Mad George-designed snake-puker from Curse II: The Bite.

"The Galloping Gore-Met" (Charles Schneider) teaches us how to make karo syrup fake blood in the next segment. He'll show up another time at a later junction to show us how to make more realistic blood with chocolate syrup, food coloring, karo and water. A segment on Paragon Arts International follows and features interviews with co-founder Walter Josten, producers Joe Augustyn and Jeff Geoffray, director/writer Kevin S. Tenney and director Dominique Othenin-Girard again, plus clips from WITCHBOARD (1986), NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (1988) and their upcoming release NIGHT ANGEL (1989). They also announce they'll be making WITCHBOARD 2 soon (which they did in 1992). Next up is a segment on sex-and-violence-filled underground Zap Comix, featuring interviews with Robert Crumb (subject of the award-winning 1994 documentary CRUMB), Victor Moscoso and S. Clay Wilson. Wilson claims the 80s are "more repressive" than the 60s and 70s, and says he doesn't think there are that many good films but says he likes THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974), THE TENANT (1976) and ERASERHEAD (1977).

............................Comic book pioneer Robert Crumb ("Fritz the Cat," etc.)

....................................Some things are just too weird to pass up.

.........................Introducing Charles Schneider, er, The Galloping Gore-Met.

Alex Winter shows up to plug IMPACT VIDEO MAGAZINE and then we get to see some more adult-oriented trading cards on the market such as "Freakards," "Dinosaurs Attack!" and even "Death Cult: Jonestown Massacre Memorial Cards" (!!) Wes Craven pops up briefly to move us along to the next segment.

Gore Gazette's Rick Sullivan reviews the rare stalk-and-slash flick DEADLY OBSESSION (1989), giving in 3 skulls, shows Linnea's dance sequence from THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985), giving the film four skulls, and likewise gives SUSPIRIA (1977) four skulls. I completely disagree with his 1 skull bashing of Chuck Vincent's (IMO) underrated psychological horror film (1987), though.

.......................Bride of Re-Animator director / producer / writer Brian Yuzna.

...........................Bride of Re-Animator's Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs).

...............................Bride of Re-Animator's Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale).

Next we get to go on the set of BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR (1989). Director Brian Yuzna, special effects artist Tom Rainone, actors Jeffrey Combs and David Gale (who passed away in 1991) and others are interviewed. Some weird performance art piece (featuring some kind of wailing monster with a blood spurting eyeball) titled "Fashion Show" follows. A plug for Sinister cinema releases set at a drive-in is up next and we get scenes from HORROR HOTEL (1960) and THE DEVIL'S PARTNER (1961). Finally, "Home Horrors from Hell" features a scene from something called Splatter Girls, a "cannibal musical" shot with a camcorder.



Edward said...

I like the weird special effects in the movie "Curse II: The Bite." Especially on the scene when all the eggs and baby snakes come out of guy's neck. Hundreds of new special make-up effects artists and special creature effects artists should think about make forty sequels call "THE BITE" or "THE SNAKE BITE" about each guy on each sequels gets 20X worse than mutated by a snake bite, he will even become the body flesh bulging snake beast.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

I thought Curse II was actually a pretty cool and unique little movie, with really interesting fx as you point out. I think it would have done better as a stand alone film as opposed to being released as a sequel in a bogus series. I'd definitely be up for a follow-up or two. They could take that premise into all kinds of crazy directions!

lauriejoke said...

Always a cool idea to credit the producer of the entire show/video magazine - oh well, maybe next time...
You know - the one who came up with the creative concepts for each segment, and made them all happen by finding, contacting and hiring talent, etc?
Thanks anyway,
Laurie Kaye

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

This started as a personal journal. I didn't even think people would read this stuff and it ended up getting more traffic than I ever imagined it would. But I've never been happy with the layout here and if went back to when I started I'd have come up with something different, likely with the director + writer(s) + producer(s) + main cast members all at the top. Certainly didn't intend to downplay or ignore anyone's contributions to certain films / videos.

But, anyway, thank you for your work on this. I enjoyed it a lot (and Part 1) and it's one of the best of the VHS era videozines I've seen. One thing I haven't figured out is why #2 ended up only being a screener copy and didn't get a legit VHS release through Gorgon like the first entry.

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