Today we’re gonna continue with another spaghetti western publication and it’s from the pen of my friend Mike Hauss again! Well, no surprise, there are not that many experts about that interesting cinema genre (unlike with horror, where anyone can offer their two cents of opinion).
One can argue there are some authoritative sources (for example, Any Gun Can Play by Kevin Grant), and that’s certainly true, but even with the whole scope of just spaghettis (outside the overall scope of eurowesterns), I don’t think the topic is done to the death.
Straight from the beginning (and I’ve discussed this with Mike as well) I was little confused why there should be two different titles with the same genre content, for, as you know, Mike is publishing Spaghetti Westerns (issue #1 reviewed here, and #2 here) and The Spaghetti Western Digest as separate publications. But in the end of the day, it’s just the case of different titles and issue numbers. So, with this little intro, let’s see what’s in store for us here.
This 200-pages long publication is by all counts a major upgrade in Mike’s publishing efforts. One would probably never have guessed how much work one puts into publication like this. And I will always praise those who strive to get better with their next step. And that’s the case here. Under the eye-catching cover we find well designed publication which is a pleasure to read.
And you can be sure as hell there’s a lot to read. So, as it’s always (or nearly always) my habit, let’s see the contents one-by-one.
The opening article by Tom Betts, “The Making of and the Influence of WAI” (where WAI stands for Westerns… All’italiana, previously a genre fanzine, now a genre blog) and if you know your stuff, then you know the importance of said fanzine. If you don’t know, this article is a great intro by the man responsible for it. Great read, as a publisher myself, I love stories such this one.
Next piece here is an interview with Javier Ramos and if you remember, Mr. Ramos has been already interviewed for Spaghetti Westerns, but with his book Cine del Oeste en la Comunidad de Madrid (co-authored with Angel Caldito Castellano) was released, it was another opportunity to interview the expert. And you won’t be disappointed, even if you have zero knowledge of eurowesterns (I humbly include myself to that category), and it might even arouse your interest! One never knows… and it’s never late to try.
Well, if you love long – and I do mean, long – detailed studies, then Van Roberts’ article essay on Six Guns in the Eclipse (a.k.a. Requiem for Gringo) is your thing. I will readily admit it was the hardest piece for me to get into. It’s clearly written from the point of someone truly “in the know”and for the more knowledgeable, but in the end, even if you don’t have a clue what the hell it’s all about, looking on the brighter side – there are mentioned so many other interesting titles, the article is definitely worth checking at least twice (believe me, twice).
Mike himself offers his opinion about Paolo Bianchini and that’s another long essay and again, so many interesting things to learn, followed by…
…Chuck Cirino interview. OK, you don’t have to be a spaghetti western fan, but that’s the guy responsible for the soundtrack for Jim Wynorski’s Chopping Mall. Now you know.
Time for a few reviews, this time from the pen of Dennis Capicik. Do you want to know which movies did he review? Well, no guessing, get the damn publication!
Van Roberts’ offered another long detailed essay on A Bullet for the President. I haven’t read it, to be honest, I can’t explain why, but I want to see the movie first. Don’t ask why, it’s just the feeling. But with 25 pages long essay, you can be pretty sure he hasn’t left any stone unturned.
Eugenio Ercolani is another from the team of writers assembled for this volume, offering his opinion on Paolo Bianchini, followed by the interview with the expert conducted by Mike Hauss.
And if you think that’s all – we’re just entered the second half. Yep!
With it, there’s another interview, this time with Bret Halsey (+ his biography). You know who it is? I haven’t got a clue before reading the article, but obviously, now I can be a wise-ass (a little bit). That’s what you get from reading, ya know?
What’s left, before the last page’s Afterword, is quite a few movie reviews.
Of course, not to forget, there are lots and lots of pictures, posters, lobby cards reproduced, so not only you can learn by reading, but also you can admire the great art of the great era – and that’s absolutely true statement (just check the awful movie art nowadays…see, what I mean?)
Summed up, great publication for the layman and expert alike.