Michael's Reviews > The Psychotronic Video Guide To Film

The Psychotronic Video Guide To Film by Michael J. Weldon
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Sep 12, 10

bookshelves: film-guides, reference
Recommended to Michael by: Mike Weldon
Recommended for: Psychotronics fans, film buffs, film historians
Read from January 01, 1997 to January 01, 1999, read count: 1

This is the companion volume to The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film. Written about 15 year later, it reflects changes in the media expectations of the audience ("film" is now "video" in the title) and also the maturity and erudition of its author. Where Weldon was limited in 1982, like the rest of us, to late-night TV and the blossoming Cable market, for his weird-film fixes, by 1997, almost everything was out on video or laserdisk. This expanded his knowledge of the early adult market (although tame compared to porn, still too racy for most television) and some of the more obscure materials from the early days. But, as he rightly observes in his introduction, the video revolution also led to an explosion in exploitation genres, and new markets for the unusual, unorthodox, and untrained filmmaker. The guide follows the same format as the older Encyclopedia, occasionally referring the reader back to reviews there in cases of multiple titles for the same film (an annoyingly common practice). On a few rare occasions, longer, more detailed reviews are offered of movies that had been given short shrift in the Encyclopedia (two examples are "Abby" and "Portrait in Terror"). These reviews, where they occur, are vast improvements, which recognize underrated gems. In general, I think the tone and consistency have improved, reflecting both Weldon's greater maturity and the greater control he had as a single author with no collaborators this time out. The index remains unfortunately useless, as it refers readers to page numbers rather than movie titles, and I would have preferred a more consistent systematization of the data provided for each film (there's almost always a director and screenwriter, but cinematographers and composers are few and far between), but with the availability of imdb, that's a minor quibble. The real meat of the book is Weldon's informed and entertaining viewpoint on the world of Psychotronic media, and that's here in all its glory.
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