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Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkk! Welcome… to Horrors! Cults, Crimes, & Creepers—
The tomb door swings open, and grizzled tomb-tender Stephen Bissette offers you a grisly guided tour to the millennial horror, crime, and cult feature films released on video and DVD from 1999-2001. Open the coffins—er, pages—and they’re all here: the crime capers from Arlington Road and Blood Simple to Snatch, The Sopranos, Traffic, and Traffick; the creepers from American Psycho to Valentine; and the crazy cult movies lurking beyond the pale!
This comprehensive genre-focused eerie ebook edition gathers the complete horror, crime, and cult film reviews from the four S.R. Bissette’s Blur print volumes collecting the complete weekly "Video Views" columns (1999-2001) by veteran cartoonist, author, and film scholar Stephen R. Bissette. Renowned for raising hackles with his work as an artist, writer, publisher and writer (Swamp Thing, Taboo, Tyrant, Deep Red, Video Watchdog, The Monster Book: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman, Teen Angels & New Mutants, etc.), Bissette is your horror host, bringing his unflinching industry-insider pop-culture coroner skills to his autopsies of the turn-of-the-century’s weirdest, wildest movies.
Never one to shy from the shadows, Bissette loved despised films like The Rage: Carrie 2, Teaching Miss Tingle, and Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, along with easy-to-love popular horrors like Tim Burton’s head-lopping Sleepy Hollow. Here are Bissette's "Creeper Sleepers" Halloween horror movie overviews, in-depth essays on underground filmmaker Maya Deren, and a shocking look at the breakthrough success of fundamentalist Christian horror movies like The Omega Code. Here, too, are dissections of the 1999 Blair Witch phenomenon and its unfairly neglected inspiration The Last Broadcast; an in-depth overview of Mary Harron's American Psycho and Julie Taymor's Titus (and why cutting-edge female filmmakers are drawn to such mayhem); the crime-cracking trio of Ripley films based on Patricia Highsmith's novels; and the definitive Andy Kaufman cult video catalogue. Bissette sheds light on the millennial American ghost movies—The Sixth Sense, A Stir of Echoes, End of the Affair, When Pigs Fly, Martin Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead—that were contemporaries of (and anticipated) the incoming (at the time, not-yet-seen-in-America) wave of ‘J’ horror from Asia. Here, too, are the DVD revivals that brought back-from-the-dead classics like Dementia, The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen, the Esperanto opus Incubus, and Georges Franju's Les Yeux Sans Visage/Eyes Without a Face, and crypt-keeper Bissette even scribes a loving ode to Hannibal Lecter, "the Bush-Era Bogeyman We Deserve."
Holiday horrors spice the "Woodchuck Video Turkey Feasts," carving up the worst Thanksgiving and Christmas movies of all time ('must see' or 'must avoid' picks, depending on your orientation to home entertainment). Read all about the underrated crime sleepers—The Pledge, Alex Winter’s Fever, Arlington Road, Broken Vessels, Joe the King, The Minus Man, The Brandon Teena Story —the overlooked overseas horrors— Perdita Durango (Dance with the Devil), See the Sea, Tracy Moffet’s BeDevil—and already-forgotten cult curios like Freeway 2: Confessions of a Trick Baby, The Naked Man, Free Money, The Dead Hate the Living and The Highwayman. Howl over the monster misfires like Scream 3, Dracula 2000, Shadow of the Vampire, Stigmata, and Bats ("...by the time the leads are up to their nipples in a lake of bat guano, you'll realize you've been wading in the same for over an hour, and it's getting mighty deep").
Kevin M. Flanagan on S.R. Bissette’s Blur book series:
“…This brings me to Stephen R. Bissette. Although known primarily for his work in comics—as an artist for a famed run of Swamp Thing, publisher of the innovative Tyrant, and creator or co-creator of several long-lived characters (including John Constantine)—I first became familiar with him as a writer on film. As an avid reader of Video Watchdog, I'd seen his name attached to many fine DVD reviews. Years after this initial notice, I stumbled upon his website/personal blog Myrant, a thoroughly illustrated and often encyclopedic web portal that contains many multi-part film and pop culture essays. The level of detail continues to astonish…. His Blur series, now totaling five volumes, was originally conceived as a place to collect his voluminous film criticism, much of which dates to the late 1990s and early 2000s. Although he had been writing for genre publications for years, much of stuff corresponds to a moment where he was also managing a video store: his reviews, published mainly in regional newspapers and Video Watchdog, directly related to the weekly world of new release video. To read volumes 1-4 is to see a comprehensive account of American (and some "world") cinema during that important transitional moment from VHS to DVD. This vantage was particularly resonant for me…I remember seeing many of these films with the same sense of urgency… Bissette's project—collections of his writings, both ephemeral and timeless—strikes me as important (and as a model for other prolific critics)…”
From “The Modest Proposal,” http://www.mpjournal.com/2011-spring/bissette.php