Happy holidays, goddamnit! We made it through another year, somehow. Everybody okay? Got all your limbs and extremities? Take a minute and do a spot-check. Exhale. Get a frosty beverage, or a warm one, whichever’s your preference, and let’s all settle in now to celebrate what the season is really all about: Buying a ton of stuff.
If you’re looking for the perfect — or perfectly off-kilter — gift for the avid genre fan in your life, Daily Grindhouse has got you covered.
Jon Abrams: There was so much great stuff to read, watch, look at, and play with in 2017, that it’s impossible for me to even cover all of my own picks. But here are a few things that got me through the roiling hellscape of 2017 with a smile.
Very possibly the greatest comic book series of all time, ever. Am I wrong? Check it out and see for yourself — this latest edition is relatively affordable.
Many people have favorably compared Mark Lanegan’s voice and lyrical talents to those of Leonard Cohen, or Nick Cave. I call him somebody whose art has aided me through many sleepless nights and many more restless days.” And I really mean it. Lucky enough for those of us who love what he does, Lanegan is prolific. This year he released a new album, Gargoyle, and also a book of his lyrics, annotated with personal recollections. Straight necessary for me, and you might dig on it too.
Rena Andrews is one of my favorite people on the planet, full disclosure, but you don’t have to know that to appreciate what she’s building with her company Lalita. This line of apparel features, in her words, “seductively elegant pieces that could be worn throughout daily life.” Pictured above is Tyra Banks modeling Lalita cuffs in a photoshoot for Paper Magazine. Check out the site, which is full of great gift ideas for those stylish and sexy people you may be lucky enough to know.
This book feels like the kind of accomplishment that’s destined to be undervalued and overlooked, and let’s do better by it, okay? Impressively thorough, joyously readable, and excitingly informative, this sturdy and compact volume nonetheless fills you in on everything you could possibly hope to know about Godzilla, and is stuffed with details that even practiced enthusiasts may have missed. It’s cheap, it’s so great, just buy it.
Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero by Nancy Schoenberger
“John Wayne” as an idea is indisputably one of the most recognizable, enduring, and important aspects of American iconography to emerge from the previous century. As a man, the actor known as John Wayne was a more complicated story. John Ford, one of the two filmmakers most essential to burnishing the legend of “John Wayne,” was apparently way more of a horror show in person than Wayne could ever be. To the more progressive mind, it’s hard to reconcile these personalities with the art they made, but art they most definitely did make, and it’s just not possible to be serious about cinema and ignore their work. What’s impressive about this book is that you don’t have to be a progressive to vibe with it; it’s a sober and generous appreciation of both men and the films they crafted together. “Fair and balanced,” but for real.
And finally, I’d love to shout out the consistent excellence of the releases from Arrow Films. Through Daily Grindhouse I do get frequent screeners through Arrow, but I just as frequently pick up their releases out of pocket because they’re JUST THAT GOOD and I love to support them as a consumer.
The tale of former Shogunate executioner Ogami Itto and his son Daigoro on their journey down the Demon Way In Hell has never looked or sounded better than in this gorgeous set — and the packaging itself contains a physical Easter egg, which is pretty rad. Get it for the friend/family member who knows and loves KILL BILL but hasn’t seen any of the bloodspurting pulpy classics it’s influenced by. Or for yourself.
The Ebert blurb calling this rousing ’80s cult classic “INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS meets THE TERMINATOR” is pretty damn spot on. Get it for the friend/family member who loves kinetic action, awesomely gooey FX, hard rock & metal, and the very fastest of cars. Or for yourself.
Anyone reading this site would appreciate this exhaustively researched, superbly sourced & interviewed book about the movie magicians that have brought so many of our beloved favorites to the next level with their stellar practical effects work. Get it for the friend/family member who loves horror/sci-fi flicks and is also fascinated by how some of the most memorable aspects of them are pulled off and who was responsible for it. Or for yourself.
Rich Maier: TWIN PEAKS (2017). What we were promised was a revival of the original series. What we were given instead was pure unadulterated David Lynch and a series that defied the very format of it’s predecessor. Not only do we witness Agent Cooper’s re-emergence to reality, but the origins of Laura Palmer as well.
Jason Coffman: Eric Schaefer’s BOLD! DARING! SHOCKING! TRUE! is a life-changing history of exploitation cinema. This should be required reading for any cult and exploitation film fan on the planet!
And hell, this is a fine place for us to recommend Jason’s new collection of criticism, available via Amazon! Highest possible recommendation and no we’re not biased at all! (–Ed.)
Wendi Freeman: “Eurocrime! The Italian Cop and Gangster Films That Ruled the 70s” is a fun and brilliant look at an entire genre that can easily be tossed aside as DIRTY HARRY knock-offs but are chock full of sleaze and behind-the-scenes drama, rivaling what was put onscreen.
Mike McBeardo McPadden: HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN by Kier-La Janisse. Film historian Kier-La Janisse weaves a memoir like no other, filtering her true-life hard times, high weirdness, and frantic passion for cinema through the extreme exploitation outrages that both inflamed and quieted her ever-ferocious mind. A work of (sometimes mad) genius.
And hey, as long as McBeardo’s in the building, we’d love to invite all our readers to check out his phenomenally readable doorstopper of a book, available on Amazon and in less reputable bookstores everywhere!
Craig Edwards: Beverly Gray’s ROGER CORMAN: BLOOD-SUCKING VAMPIRES, FLESH-EATING COCKROACHES, AND DRILLER KILLERS is a fascinating biography of the Elder Statesman of Exploitation Filmmaking. Ms. Gray worked for Corman in the ’70s and again in the ’90s and observed the man and his empire first-hand. Her insights make an already intriguing story even more interesting. This ebook edition has been updated and expanded from the original hardcover and is up-to-date enough to mention his recent legal battles with his own children. My highest recommendation and about the cost of a frou-frou coffee beverage!
Paul Freitag-Fey: All of Garagehouse’s TRAILER TRAUMA series of trailer collections are fantastic, but TRAILER TRAUMA 3 is a must-get for the ’80s horror fan in your life, with two discs worth of entertainment in the form of 190 (!) vintage trailers in chronological order. The new TRAILER TRAUMA 4 features television spots and is no doubt just as fun. I’d say they’d make great party discs, but they’re long enough to keep playing after the last guest leaves, unless you’ve got friends that just won’t go home.
Don’t forget to check out Paul’s contribution to this incredible compendium of examinations into the often-overlooked arena of cinematic art and schlock that is the TV movie! Paul is the foremost expert on USA made-for-TV movies, and you’ll read about that here!
John Reents: Even genre fans who insist they hate musicals will love the hell out of PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, Brian De Palma’s Faust-infused retelling of The Phantom of the Opera. Paul Williams did some of his best work as a songwriter and actor (alongside William Finley and Jessica Harper) for this film.
Jeremy Lowe: Make sure your friends and family know exactly what kind of cinema scumbag you are with this shocking 24×36 CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST poster! Its graphic imagery and bold colors will be the perfect addition to any lowlife’s home decor.
Jonathan Holubiak: Arguably, the two best action movies of the 21st Century are Gareth Evans’ THE RAID: REDEMPTION and THE RAID 2. With some of the most creative and devastating action sequences you’ll ever see, you’ll be more than happy you spent 4 hours watching these two amazing films. Which one is better? Check out this box set and decide for yourself!
Andy Vanderbilt: HEAVY METAL! An amazing compilation of storytelling that crosses multiple genres with a stellar soundtrack and an amazing cast. Horror, comedy, romance, action, sci-fi and fantasy are all represented in this iconic piece of animation history.
Matt Wedge: BLACK CAESAR is Larry Cohen’s second feature (after BONE) as a director and his first collaboration with Fred Williamson. A simple morality tale that calls back to the classic Warner Bros. gangster melodramas of the ’30s and ’40s, it benefits greatly from Cohen’s cynical eye for dissecting criminal corruption from the streets all the way to city hall. Also making it stand head and shoulders above other low-budget blaxploitation films of the time is Williamson’s menacing, charismatic performance as the titular antihero. While this Blu-ray release from Olive Films is barebones in its lack of extras, it is easily the best home video presentation the film has ever received and is a must own for fans of Cohen, Williamson, and blaxploitation films.
Patrick Smith: Remember when Bryan Fuller and NBC produced the best horror anything three years running? Well now you give the whole series to your grandma. You’re welcome.
Freeman Williams: Everybody’s done all the cool books and movies, so I’m going to go with THE BIG BUCKET OF MONSTERS — 100 little monster figures for epic throwdowns! Compatible with the same company’s tube of 100 Zombies! Dig out all your old M.U.S.C.L.E. figures and make your own luchador movie! We all need more crap for our desks!
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