#137 - Gorgon Video Magazine (Stuart S. Shapiro; 1989)
By Dan Kinem
This is what’s so great about video. Who the hell wants to read a magazine when you can watch it? I, for one, love reading magazines, but I’m looking out for the Dabeedos out there (who physically can’t read). This was, plain and simple, a genius idea. It’s like taking Gorezone magazine and bringing it to life, and I can think of no better company than Gorgon Video/MPI to do so. If only it had gone on passed this tape…
Michael Berryman, of Hills Have Eyes fame, hosts this video smorgasbord that features everything from interviews, to short cartoons, to a performance by Gwar and their slaves. Starting it off right, Wes Craven graces us mere mortals with his presence. He comes across as very honest in this clip, too. He shares his opinions on the MPAA and how they have given all of his movies (except Serpent and the Rainbow) an X-rating upon first viewing and also talks about how his TV movie, Chiller, was screwed over at the last second and no one watched it. The interview takes place on the set of Shocker and shows some cool behind the scenes footage of him directing (which involves him remaining silent while other people do the work). You honestly can’t go wrong with a Wes Craven interview in the 80s, he was complete gold back then.
Next, KNB Efx is interviewed and they also talk about the MPAA and how most of their work doesn’t even end up on the screen. They even threaten the MPAA by saying they should be forced to watch Freddy’s Nightmares in hell, which is hilarious for so many reasons. KNB show off some of the effects currently being worked on, which is interesting to see. I think I even spied a Freddy Krueger effect (where Freddy morphs into someone else’s face), but they said it was “top secret.”
After that you get the fantastic Linnea Quigley talking about her work in film. If you claim to like horror movies and don’t like Linnea, get the fuck out. She is the ultimate scream queen and looks gorgeous in this video (and every video for that matter!). Her primary focus is on her Horror Workout tape and Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers. I could listen to her talk for days and she does a good job of making you love her, even if she does ramble on about moving to a farm to hoard tons of dogs or some bullshit.
Next was my main draw to this tape, which is the interview with Lloyd Kaufman and the look at past Troma films. Imagine my surprise when Lloyd shows up and has a beard! That was just the cherry on top of an already hilarious and interesting segment. I love any interviews he does, but for some reason, in this one he seemed to be talking even faster than his 1,000 words per minute norm. No matter what I think about the majority of Troma’s output (it sucks), you can’t help but love the story behind their studio and the way they run things. It was sad to see that, at this point, they had 30 full-time employees and now they have less than half that.
There’s a section that translates from magazines very well, and that’s the review. Rick Sullivan, of Gore Gazette magazine, hosts Rick’s Reviews, where he talks about the movies: Cameron’s Closet, Bad Taste, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and Vicious. He rates movies out of four “skulls,” which is really amusing cheese. He says, “From now on you can see me in Gorgon Video.” Rick Sullivan was never seen or heard from again. RIP 1955-1989.
Gwar has a musical performance, as do the Gwar slaves, who honestly steal the show. They are hilarious and seem so fucked up on drugs they can barely think. One of them has the hilarious quote, “We have to watch them enjoy all this necrophobic butt sex and they won’t even let us have any!” I’ve never been huge on the band itself, but their stage performance must be seen. As Michael Berryman puts it, “It makes Alice Cooper look like Sesame Street!”
Throughout the entire video Michael Berryman comes across as a crazy mixture of Hulk Hogan and Freddy Krueger. He is constantly making weird faces and delivers each line with such exaggerated emotion it’s priceless. He drops corny jokes like, “One of my favorites was Attack of the Giant Leeches. Man, it’s so good it just sticks to ya. Sticks to ya.” He’s just a G and that’s all there is to it.
Gorgon Video has always been a fan favorite among horror connoisseurs. Few other companies specialized in horror/gore as well as they did. Their releases were always top notch and there’s a reason Gorgon was the company that released 2009’s House of the Devil… because they’re the best! This video magazine is just further proof that they actually cared about their releases and wanted to please and honor horror fans. The tape nowadays is very rare and commands a decent amount of cash online, but if you can find one for a solid price, do it. There actually was a second Gorgon Video Magazine, but sadly it was never officially released. There are screener copies, though, which I would kill for (if you have a VHS copy, bootleg or not, please let me know). You can find bootlegs of both of these in the horror circuit and online for download. I watched it (and uploaded it to YouTube below, along with the first one), and, while still entertaining, it’s too long and the guests weren’t as interesting this time around. There’s even more cheese to be found, though, especially with the Gore-Met Chef. I wish this had gone on every two months like they wanted, but I am just glad at least two of them were filmed and exist for our viewing pleasure.
Thanks to Devin Connors for the tape.