Today I want to talk about “Trash Cinema: A Celebration of Overlooked Masterpieces”, which is a compendium put together by editors Andrew J. Rausch and R. D. Riley. This book was published in 2015 both in hardcover and softcover editions (plus e-book, of course) by an US publisher BearManor Media. The book contains 55 articles/essays about various movies we can label “trash cinema”, from the Golden era of 1950s to the fairly new ones.

Trash cinema book cover

So far, so good. But with the market already full of movie reference books, and there is no shortage on horror/camp/exploitation etc. books either, is there any reason of getting this one to one’s collection? I’d definitely say YES, and there is a very good reason for it.

First of all, the book scores good points for the content. We all have our favorite books/movies/music/whatever and if this title would contain only material from one or two writers, sooner or later we would find ourselves in a very familiar waters with movies a better informed reader/watcher already knows. And it goes without saying we all have our preferences and tastes. Case in point – I would probably never write about extreme gore stuff, because I am not inclined to this kind of movies. Therefore readers of my hypothetical book would certainly wouldn’t get a fair share of the vast scope of cinema.

Therefore to compile 55 articles from various authors seems to me like a very good idea and I commend the editors for that. Also, the selection of movies from a pool of trash cinema is outstanding. While I know and have watched some movies mentioned here, I’d say the majority of flicks are ones I have yet to see. The beauty of trash cinema is – you usually want to see even those awfully bad movies. 

I am glad almost all authors deal with movies the way I would probably deal with them. Now, it doesn’t say much here, does it? Well, I have to say, I am not a fan of social commentaries, psychoanalysis and dry academic dissection of the movies, especially the B-movies and the like. Therefore, I didn’t really agree with a few reviews here – while Rob St. Mary‘s review of Bloodsucking Freaks was great, I can do without all that gender stuff, patriarchy and what have you. Hell, I don’t want to see a movie to analyze it? I haven’t watched Dawn of the Dead to see Romero’s criticism of mass consumerism, I wanted (and got) zombies tearing people apart (and the similar sentiment I can express about Stephen Spignesi’s review of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!)!

But the only review I dislike is the one for Eric Stanze’s movie “I Spit On Your Corpse, I Piss On Your Grave”. Although again, there is nothing wrong with the review – I am simply not a fan of Nick Zedd’s cinema of transgression (as defined in his manifesto) and the effort of the author of the review, Allen Richards, to forcefully attach some meaning to a movie even the director himself rejects as just a ordinary assignment. Still, as I don’t really plan to watch that many extreme gore movies, I am glad someone writes such reviews, no matter how controversial, or how in disagreemen with them I am.

The contributing authors are: E. D. Tucker (Asylum, Blood of Dracula’s Castle, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, Equinox, Monster-a-Go-Go, Nightmare at Shadow Woods), Brad Paulson (The Baby, Dollman, For Y’ur Height Only, Frankenhooker), David Walker (The Black Six, The Candy Tangerine Man), aforementioned Rob St. Mary (Bloodsucking Freaks), Michael Harris (Brainwash, Breaking Point (cf. the review of the same flick in Weng’s Chop #0)), Night Train to Terror, Sleepaway Camp 2), Shannon L. Grisso (Cannibal Holocaust, Riki-O: The Story of Ricky, Robo Vampire), Rob Craig (Compass Rose, Manos: The Hands of Fate), C. Courtney Joyner (Cut Throats Nine), David C. Hayes (Cyclone, The Prowler, Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, The Star Wars Holiday Special), Andrew J. Rausch (The Dead Next Door, Evil Ever After, Meatcleaver Massacre, Planet of the Vampires, Sorceress, Zombiegeddon), Albert Sessoms (Evil Bong), Jess Hicks (Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS), Stephen Spignesi (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill), Mark Elditz (Flash Gordon), Allen Richards (Flesh Eating Mothers, Gore Whore, I Spit On Your Corpse, I Piss On Your Grave, I Spit On Your Grave) Greg Goodsell (Glen or Glenda?, Plan 9 From Outer Space), Christopher Morey (Killer Klowns from the Outer Space), Chris Watson (Lady Terminator, Master of the Flying Guillotine), Tim Ritter (The Last House on the Left), Jan Pippins (Revenge of the Virgins), Tony Schaab (Robot Monster, Target Earth, Zombie Honeymoon), Ben Ohmart (Scream Blacula Scream), Richard Koper (Sex Kittens Go to College), Bryan Shuesser (Street Trash) and Catherine Chisnall (Tremors).

Well recommended reading for all fans of low-brow, cult, exploitation and trash cinema!