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Andy Black is a British film critic who has published 4 books with reviews of exploitation and other films, entitled Necronomicon.
Review of Necronomicon by Jeff YoungSince the demise of Shock Xpress, there's not been much in the way of non-corporately published yet intelligent fan writing about genre and exploitation films available in the UK (unless you count the irregular products of Creation Press. Necronomicon has changed all that. This welcome fourth volume in Andy Black's series of quality journals features a good variety of fascinating articles and perceptive reviews, illustrated with b/w film stills and lobby cards.
'Snakes Alive!' is the somewhat cheesy title for Black's survey of monster horrors that examines the relative cold-blooded appeal of Anaconda and The Reptile, amongst other films of that type. Adrian Horrocks' reconsideration of Argento's magical Suspiria is one of the best pieces so far about this Italian classic, dissecting the film's visual motifs with care and precision. Steven Jay Schneider goes further down the critics' intelligentsia avenue, to regard aestheticism and violence in modern horror, while guiding us towards appropriately thematic links between Peeping Tom and Psycho, Clockwork Orange and Halloween, the 'Hannibal' movies and Seven.
Away from pure horror, Paul Johnson offers new perspectives on Cronenberg's science fictional Videodrome, Scanners and eXistenZ, and includes the metaphorical cyber-men of Crash. From there, we revisit Jesus Franco's Venus In Furs, zooming in for close-ups of the fetishised anti-heroine. Any peek at eroticism must include Borowczyk, and Daniel Bird's article on the director's Blood Of Dr Jekyll reminds us how easily such works of arty pornography get overlooked. Soon, it's back to the shockers again, with Xavier Mendik's feature on the surreal zombie splatter of Demons.
Burton's Sleepy Hollow, Antonioni's Blow Up, Russell's The Devils, Bava's Danger Diabolik, the cinema of Kenneth Anger, and Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Next Generation (incredibly, the belated fourth film in that once censor-maligned series) are also granted in-depth coverage by this gathering of talented writers. Notable for its acute bias in favour of the material under review, this remarkable annual magazine eschews the humourless conceit of many largely academic media studies, and is recommended reading for all aficionados of such cult movies.
- Necronomicon: The Journal of Horror & Erotic Cinema (1996) Andy Black [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Necronomicon: Book one continues the singular, thought-provoking exploration of transgressive cinema begun by the much-respected and acclaimed magazine of the same name. The transition to annual book format has allowed for even greater depth and diversity within the journal's trademarks of progressive critique and striking photographic content. Includes:
* Jean Rollin: The surreal and the sapphic
* Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Exploitation or modern fairytale?
* Barbara Steele: Icon of S/M horror
* Frightmare: Peter Walker's psycho-delirium classic
* Marco Ferreri: Sadean cinema of excess
* Deep Throat: Pornography as primitive spectacle
* Dario Argento: Tortured looks and visual displeasure
* Last Tango in Paris: Circles of sex and death
* H P Lovecraft: Visions of crawling chaos
* Witchfinder General: Michael Reeves' classic of visceral violence
* Herschell G. Lewis: Compulsive tales and cannibal feasts
* Evil Dead: From slapstick to splatshtick
- Necronomicon 2: The Journal of Horror & Erotic Cinema (1998) - Andy Black (Editor) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Necronomicon: Book Two continues the thought-provoking exploration of transgressive cinema begun by the first volume, with more illustrated insights into the world of celluloid sex and violence. Includes:
- * Jesus Franco: Sex, surrealism, de Sade
- * Russ Meyer: Mudhoney deconstructed
- * Walerian Borowczyk: Living dolls and broken angels
- * SS Sexploitation: Swastikas of naked flesh
- * Manson, Polanski, Macbeth: Cathartic blood orgies
- * George A Romero: Night of the Living Dead resurrected
- * Hisayasu Sato: Japanese avant garde porno
- * Baba Yaga/Cemetery Man: Comicbook karma
- * Female Vampire: Girl Power from the crypt
- * Argento's Women: Beauty on a razors' edge
- * Progressive Horror: Nightwatch and Mute Witness
- * Nouveau Noir: The dark world of Se7en
- * Mainstream Sickness: The true horrors of Copycat
Andy Black's Necronomicon 2 carries on where NecronomicoN 1 left off. I guess it's fair to say that if you loved the 1st one (and what's not to love? almost every page is graced with stills showing sex and horror.) you'll be glad there's more, and if you thought the 1st was pretentious there's nothing here to change your mind. Personally I agree with most of the contributors (as with such film-makers as John Waters) that there's more to discover in the movies of H.G. Lewis, Russ Meyer, or Jesus Franco, than in any fancy-pants auteur that the beautiful people might be fawning over at Sundance or Cannes. All of the articles are excellent, but the stand-out is undoubtably the incomparable Mikita Brottman's piece on Polanski's Macbeth and its relation to the Manson murders. (The article is an excerpt from Ms. Brottman's Hollywood Hex--another great book from England's splendid Creation Books.) All in all a fun read, and sometimes (but just sometimes) reading about a Euro-sleaze movie is more fun than watching one. --Ava Lomax via amazon.com
- Necronomicon: Book Three (2000) - Andy Black (Editor) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Tease away the skin from the dark underbelly of this tome to reveal yet more perverse delights within the cult horror and erotic cinema universe. Included are features on Kenneth Anger, Argento`s Suspiria, Franco`s Venus in Furs, Burton`s Sleepy Hollow, Bava`s Danger Diabolik and Borowczyk`s Blood of Dr. Jekyll and much more ! --This text refers to the Paperback edition. via Amazon.com [Nov 2005]
- Necronomicon: The Journal of Horror and Erotic Cinema: Bk. 4 (2001) - Andy Black (Editor) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Continuing on from the first three "Necronomicon" books, "Necronomicon Book Four" again seeks out controversial and transgressive cinema from around the globe. Tease away the skin from the dark underbelly of this tome to reveal yet more perverse delights in the world of horror and erotic cinema.
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