Four years, already? Ah well, as advised by the weasel words that flash up subliminally at the end of those gambling ads, when the fun stops, we’ll stop. No prospect of that just yet, at the end of a very enjoyable and busy year which saw 69 postings (“69, dudes!”), three more than 2018. Annual traffic was similarly steady. We kicked off 2019 with a month of “all giallo” reviews (which seemed to go down OK so it’s an experiment we might repeat) and rounded it off remembering two fallen heroes, Nicky Henson and Rutger Hauer (the latter in a particularly welcome revival of Paul Verhoeven’s Spetters). We seemed to spend a significant chunk of the year watching and writing about José Larraz films, which was just fine by us. By its very nature, blogging tends to involve writing about stuff you like, though this year we were obliged to review Gaspar Noé’s insufferable Climax. Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich took the laurels for most tasteless film we’ve ever reviewed (and it’s a pretty crowded field). At one point in the year we trailered heavy coverage of a certain artist’s work, which never materialised… for which, there were reasons. The annual Mayhem Festival was a predictable highlight, then again we don’t get out much, our only other cinema visits in 2019 being Stan & Ollie (loved it), Godzilla: Kingfisher’s Of The Monsters (what a jaw dropping piece of crap), the Miles Davis documentary Birth Of The Cool (in the company of fellow greying beatniks and their patient partners), Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood (which I enjoyed a lot more than I was expecting) and a screening of Sexy Beast (in the presence of its producer, Jeremy Thomas), the latter two in the company of Severin co-curator Carl Daft.
Sev’s All The Colors Of The Dark / All The Colors Of Giallo box set secured the much sought after Disc Of The Year accolade, with honourable mentions for Mondo Macabro’s complete and fine looking edition of lucio fulci’s Perversion Story and (just sneaking in under the wire), a beautiful Shameless rendition of Fulci’s evergreen metaphysical gorefest, The Beyond. We also loved the new Arrow edition of William Friedkin’s Cruising. Meanwhile back in Severinville, David Gregory’s Al Adamson documentary impressed mightily online. This year we cast our net further than ever before but by closing our annual account with another look at one of Fulci’s splatter classics we signalled where our heart really lies (in a jar in the Freudstein basement laboratory) and our first posting proper in the 2020 campaign will only underline that point.
Speaking of The Beyond, it’ll come as no surprise to regular readers that our David Warbeck interview was once again the most visited posting of the year, nor that for the fourth straight year, the Top 3 remained unchanged. Our Irene Miracle interview is still runner up and the review of Naomi Holwill’s Me Me Lay documentary retained third place. Some of the stuff people put into search engines to arrive at the Me Me posting made for very interesting reading and we suspect that similar motivations lay behind the army of readers who steered our Howling 2 review (along with that gif) to fourth place.
Presumably the presence of Ms Lay in its cast was not entirely unconnected to Severin’s BD of Eaten Alive placing fifth in our annual survey (High Rising’s Umberto Lenzi doc dropped out of the Top Ten this year, but grumpy ol’ Umberto always makes it onto the listings, one way or another). A perennial fixture, my account of lunch with lucio fulciheld up well in 6th spot, ditto breakfast with Joe D’Amato at #9. New entries include our interview with Françoise Pascal (posted late in 2018) at number 7, our review of the aforementioned Severin giallo box in ninth place and another vintage review closing out this year’s listings, that of Pupi Avati’s The House With Laughing Windows. Other drop outs this year include our interviews with Barbara Bouchet and Dardano Sacchetti. Narrowly missing the ten in both 2019 and All Time terms was our enticingly entitled (“Edwin Fenech Gives Mutant Nazi Sex Midget The Boner Of The Year”) review of Sergio Martino’s Sex With A Smile.
On, then, to those All Time standings, with Warbeck, Miracle and Lay stubbornly occupying the medal positions. Despite dropping out of the Top Ten in 2019, our appraisal of TLE’s epic and controversial Suspiria restoration digs in at #4. Howling 2’s fifth, closely followed by lunch with Lucio and breakfast con D’Amato. The final three places go to Italian Exorcist knock offs, my interview encounter with an extremely prickly Umberto Lenzi and that Severin edition of his Eaten Alive.
Is all that set to change in 2020? Completely up to you. Viddy well, oh brothers and sisters…