Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Finally, another installment of beautiful art by the most important, significant and successful artist in the Freedom School Records universe, Mr. Lee Brown Coye. The work here is from "The Night Side: Masterpieces of the Strange and Terrible", published in 1947 by Rinehart and Company. The book is third in trilogy of non-Arkham House anthologies edited by Derleth and illustrated by Coye, the other two titles being "Who Knocks?" and "Sleep No More", the latter of which has its own post here. Some of the images have appeared on FSR before (they were scans of original art, not owned by me), but all LBC images from "the Night Side" are included here for posterity. Please click to enlarge the drawings!

For HPL's "The Color Out of Space", the original is owned by a contemporary artist named Justin Lieberman.

For "The Night Wire" by H.F. Arnold

For "The Extra Passenger" by Stephen Grendon

For "Joshua" by R. Creighton Buck

For "Mr. Minchin's Midsummer" by Margery Lawrence

For "The Eerie Mr. Murphy" by Howard Wandrei

For "Nightmare" by Marjorie Bowen

For "One Head Well Done" by John D. Swain

For "Seaton's Aunt" by Walter De La Mare

For "Face in the Mirror" by Denys Val Baker

Although I'm sure the story isn't unknown to historians of Weird Fiction (I'm but a lowly fanatic), I always assumed this trilogy of books was either solicited by the book companies or presented to them by Derleth. Reason perhaps being that Arkham House knew their distribution limitations and felt it didn't interfere with their arguably more boutique business model. Look for the Weird Art of Lee Brown Coye Part 8 in the near future ... !

-Mike Hunchback

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I don’t know that there could be a better label/company out there than SOMETHING WEIRD VIDEO.

For me, the success of SWV comes from their blatant disregard of what everyone else’s idea of what a video label should do or sell. Their design was almost always audacious, and their content in the beginning – sex films without any actual sex – couldn’t have been more out of place in the late 80’s / early 90’s, as XXX Hard Core Pornography dominated the video market for sleaze. After those earliest days, the label took on almost every facet of exploitation cinema, and beyond. SMV introduced my generation not only to the notion that there was in fact an endless old world of bizarre, outrĂ© cinema, but also that the appreciation of this world was something totally fun – it wasn’t heavy-handed or intellectual in any way, it was just a purely good time. As the world of vinyl has “Party Albums”, SWV has “Party Tapes” – all you had to do was check your inhibitions at the door, bub!

The success of SOMETHING WEIRD rests on the fact that the small group of folks there simply believed in what they what they were doing. That confidence took their company through the roof in the 1990’s. Name another Video label that started off selling “worthless”, literally discarded “sex” films – that were reproduced for the video market in a totally DIY homemade fashion, computer-designed/printed covers and all – and somehow ended up with national distribution, ensuring that every mall in America carried titles like “FRANKENSTEIN’S CASTLE OF FREAKS” or “THE GORE GORE GIRLS”! ... I can only think of one!

The real joy of these for me is the memory of being 15 and going into Kim’s Video on Bleeker Street in New York City and buying them. I was wide-eyed at the sight of the “Something Weird Section” they had; absolutely EVERYTHING there seemed amazing. Featured here today is the art of 20 wonderful Something Weird Video releases, some are titles that I got in those mid-teen years – the first three were “The Defilers”, “Blood Feast” and “The Awful Doctor Orloff”, Jess Franco’s excellent debut horror picture.

Only very recently have these tapes become unavailable, or “out of print”. It’s a particularly interesting time to make this change, as VHS is now a preferred and collectible format for so many culture aficionados, and of course the realm of Horror and Exploitation houses the majority of Videophiles out there … ARE YOU ONE US??? If not you should consider it … After all, “Teenage Tupelo” ISN’T on DVD! Click to enlarge!!!

Above, you see the classic Dave Friedman (RIP) and R.L Frost Nazi roughie "LOVE CAMP 7", the same team that brought us "THE DEFILERS, featured at the top.

The seven films above are all from the Godfather of Gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis. I can never believe that most folks don't know his stuff. There sure are some weird people in this world.

I have a lot a pals that are anti-porn. There's of course gobs of super-negative XXX Adult fare out there nowadays, and so much of what "Something Weird" released was from the complete other side of the spectrum. SWV made lots of very fun, playful and sexy films available, and it's this area of pornography that I think porn-haters should explore more of. It brings with it a carefree acceptance of sex, and usually treats the act as a fun activity for both sexes (if, of course, the act is featured at all!).

Amongst the scary and dirty flix were some great arty Euro-Horror films, like this Riccardo Freda jem pictured above.

In my top ten of all time since High School thanks to a glowing Psychotronic review, "Teenage Tupelo" is one of the most personal expressions ever committed to 16mm. To say the film is artful is an understatement, try to imagine what a 60's-era Ingmar Bergman movie would be like if Bergman was from Memphis and like ... played guitar in the OBLIVIANS or something! Pray for the re-release!!!

Above is Dave Friedman's personal favorite of his films, the SWV classic "She-Freak"

The above oddity is a later SWV tape, acquired in the glory days of Something Weird setting up at Chiller Theatre Con. There's a early US video release of this as well I believe. Mike Vraney was basically trying to get me to NOT buy this video: "No really, it's terrible! You'll never finish watching it ..." And he knows what he's talking about - I never have!

Ah, another "ADULT" title. This is probably the earliest SWV I own, and much of the early output was similar collections of "stag loops".

Avant gothic horror with a twist of sadism and madness? Yes, please! Top ten Jess Franco, definitely!

Let's close this with a trilogy of trash from one of the filmmakers closest to my heart, Andy Milligan. I'm even at odds with Something Weird themselves here tho - I'm one of those nuts that actually genuinely LIKES Andy Milligan's films! And not because I think they're silly either, I can get behind Andy's very radical, often twisted, tales of incest, murder, sick sex and familial loathing. They're powerful expressions, and at his best Andy could grab snapshots of a very dark and emotional universe. Although not a "director's cut" by any means, the last film pictured here, "SEEDS OF SIN" is an astounding one, and a joyous challenge to the audience in the form of a blood-soaked family reunion. Check it out!



See you at the video store,

-Mike Hunchback