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FilmBRAWL (a book review)

When it comes to culture, one just can’t get enough. And I’m not gonna argue about it. You either are mad about it or not. There is no middle ground. At least not with me.

If you follow my reviews of Weng’s Chop cinema megazine (I know, I am way behind, but it’s gonna change soon, I promise!), you are now aware of the names of those responsible for that great reading.

Brian Harris, the author of filmBRAWL and other stuff.

Among those there is this interesting chap named Brian. Brian Harris.

I am quite sure I’ve visited his old webpage (Wildsidecinema.com, if I am not mistaken) back in the days of my browsing the old Net (remember Netscape Navigator, anyone?), haven’t been around his Joe Horror blog, but Brian is not just a writer for Weng’s Chop (and Monster! magazine).

He is also an author of a few books. And today I’m gonna talk about the one named filmBRAWL. Long overdue, but everytime I’ve started to read it, I’ve got lost (and it happens not only with this book, I just fucking love to read reference books and then searching the stuff out of the Net).

filmBRAWL book cover

What is filmBRAWL, you ask? Well, it’s a big compendium of short reviews of movies. More precisely, 595 pages full of reviews of movies going alphabetically, from # to Z (in other words, from 4Bia to Zombie Town), and on top of it, 50 more pages full of interviews with these nice folks: Allan Rowe Kelly (director of I’ll Bury You Tomorrow and The Blood Shed), Andre Gower (actor, The Monster Squad), April Burril (actress, Chainsaw Sally), Christopher Alan Broadstone (director, Scream For Me & My Skin), Fabrice Du Welz (director, Calvaire & Vinyan), Giovanni Lombardo Radice (actor, City of the Living Dead & Cannibal Ferox), Herschell Gordon Lewis (actor, director, Blood Feast & Two Thousand Maniacs), Mike Mendez (actor, The Covenant & The Gravedancers), Raine Brown (actor, Barricade & 100 Tears), Rodrigo Gudino (director, The Eyes of Edward James & The Demonology of Desire), Ted V. Mikels (director, Astro-Zombies & The Corpse Grinders), Tom Holland (director, Child’s Play & Fright Night), Rob Hauschild (owner, Wild Eye Releasing) and Keith Crocker (director, The Bloody Ape & Blitzkrieg: Escape from Stalag 69).

Hell yeah, that’s something I like. So, let’s have a better look at it.

As you can expect, Brian doesn’t write about your blockbuster, mainstream movies you might find talked about everywhere else. OK, he ocassionally does, but he firmly stays in the limits of cult cinema, exploitation, action, Asian, adventure, horror… you know, the good stuff.

Every mini-review is accompanied with the year of release (which, you know, helps when dealing with movies with the same name), star rating (from 0 to 5) and information about releasing company and year of DVD release, if available).

This is nothing new, of course, such reference books abound, but I have to say the reason I’ve bought it in the first place (and why I am talking about it in the second place) is exactly the author, Brian. Although filmBRAWL doesn’t really bring forward his funny and to-the-point-with-style writing we are delighted to read in WCH and M!m (which is not really a critique, try to write a capsule review of a movie and cram into it all the shit you would write in 2 pages long article…see? Not easy!), but it’s nice to see the progress. Brian, the author, is definitely evolving with his writing style, but what’s unchangeable is his taste for cinema.

Although I might disagree with some of the ratings or choice of movies, you can be sure that most of the time the cinema lover will struck the same chord with Brian. And good thing is, he’s not talking about obscure stuff you would be hard-pressed to find, or sell your kidney to afford. Nope, the movies discussed here are pretty available.

The seasoned movie geek might scoff, but if you are new to that darkened corner of the cinema world (and although I’ve grown in knowledge over the years, I still would consider myself pretty much a newbie still), this one will serve you as a trusted guide, believe me.

Available through Lulu.com, as far as I know, Brian is working on an updated version of the book, so if you look for the original version – it’s time to act now!

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Rudolf Schütz

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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