2012 was a funny old year. Back in 2010, Nadeem and I wanted to put on a film screening and by accident we showed Fulci’s New York Ripper to a bunch of mates in the back of a socialist pub in Clapham. At the time, the idea of writing about films was simply a means to an end. The end being to wallow in the awkward wonder of old, scuzzy genre movies. Flashing forward to (and now looking back at) 2012, the means have proven to be a little bit more than the intended end…
It’s fair to say that I watched a lot of movies last year. Not all of them were good, but they all in their own way helped to shape my understanding of the peculiar world of genre film. From hairy Canadian Yeti’s to spritely North Korean Kaiju’s, my cinematic vocabulary took something of a left turn and I’m extremely grateful that the wonderful people I know and love have actively encouraged it.
Last year is full of fond memories and pleasurable highlights. I’ve realised, for good or bad, that Stelvio Massi is my favourite Poliziotteschi film maker – if you haven’t already, I implore you to check out his Mark series of Italian Cop movies. I met Enzo G.Castellari and Sergio Martino in the same evening. I had a much needed bringing down to earth from Justin Harries who then blasted me back into the stratosphere with a screening of Plankton at five in the morning. I got off my arse and got involved in this years Scala Beyond season. We did the European Premiere of a remake of The Holy Mountain. With found footage of dogs. In a truck. I drank way too many Jameson’s Mules with London’s lovely rep cinema gang and went late night drunken DVD shopping with my favourite Canadian director. I hung out with the always inspiring duo of Nadeem and Luke and we talked endlessly it seems, over coffee and beer and pizza and yet more coffee about weird little movies no-one else appears to care about. We did the film jam. And people liked it! I brought Kelly to our Ozploitation double bill. And she got it! I wrote reviews about Italian Films. And Nigel Maskell published them! Ive spoken to and been inspired by the super talented people that populate the online universe of retro cult and obscure film discussion. Each of them has something unique to offer to the heartfelt appreciation of the moving image. Best of all, and with the constant support and patient understanding of the Blakes, I’ve acquired a completely ridiculous amount of videotapes. Seriously, they are everywhere, and it will probably take the rest of my life to watch them.
It’s fair to say I kind of burnt out towards the end of the year. A mixture of moving house, starting a new job and getting over myself meant that my writing for VTSS took a backseat. It’s not writers block – I have tons of unfinished reviews in the drafts, but it has proven difficult for me to be happy with what I’m trying to say about these strange little films.
Thankfully that isn’t too much of a problem. VTSS has had a great editor in-house for some time now. Rich Flannagan continues to steer the site through the choppy waters of weirdo (and often kinky) film discourse and with his tireless effort, the site really is in great hands.
Michael Hewis writes like a man possessed, Graham Bywater and his lovely wife have gone on to make film exhibition in London free and inclusive. They’re getting the good press they truly deserve. David Hayles sends us strange German VHS and incredible fiction in the post, Zack Kelley remains the nicest film reviewer on the planet whilst Todd Cauley remains the coolest. Everyone else who has contributed this year: Justin Dickinson, Joe Don Baker, Dear Vince, Caroline Kopko, Shaun Anderson, Rob Talbot, Dom O’Brien, Alex Kidd, Lydia Mitchell, Jenny Spencer, Colin Stone and Aaron Duenas, let it be known that the VTSS archives mean nothing without your generous supply of words, ideas and enthusiasm. You all rock. Big Time.
So… 2013 eh? Did Rich mention a Franco season?