My love of cinema started in early 1978 when my Dad, Dave took me to see a certain science fiction epic directed by George Lucas at the Bristol Odeon. Although I was only five at the time that wasn’t the first time I had been to ‘the pictures’. If my recollection and Mum’s version was correct I saw a double bill of Disney’s Peter Pan and The Incredible Journey at my local cinema The Rex. Unfortunately it wasn’t the best experience as I didn’t like being in the dark and apparently cried. Good lord, I was a soft lad.
Of course Star Wars was, still is and will always be a massive part of my life and it would be a good five years before I owned my own copy of it (taped off the telly) but in the mean time I made due with the awesome ‘Story of Star Wars’ 33′ record and one of those 200 ft Super 8 film reels for our family projector. That prized Eumig projector is somewhere trapped in a time vortex in the loft along with such gems as ‘Keystone Hotel’ and ‘It Conquered the World’.
Trips to the cinema were a regular occurrence for Dad and I and I can remember some cracking ‘Double Bills’ of the Nicholas Hammond Spider-Man movies culled from the TV show with whatever what around at the time. I’m pretty sure one of those trips involved ‘Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger” as well, a film I love to this day. My first exposure to James Bond was seeing ‘Moonraker’ so Roger was ‘my Bond’. I’ll argue until the cows come home of this film’s merits and the fact that ‘Rog’ was the best Bond, so don’t get me started.
Things changed massively in September 1981 when Dad got our first ever video recorder, a massive piano keyed Sanyo model. The first ever films I watched on video were the cinema version of ‘Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’, ‘Jaws’ and the film version of ‘Porridge’. I can even remember the first thing we ever taped which was funnily enough the first Spider-Man TV movie (on ITV that very night) which was the one with the mind control bad guy. Dad and myself managed to even set ‘the clock’ on the video as well and he taped ‘McQ’ with John Wayne. These were recorded on the Beta L750 blank tapes which were 3 hours and 15 minutes long. Our local video shop ‘Telebond’ was owned and managed by one of Dad’s mates who he knew from years gone by, it was this shop that started my film obsession.
Telebond was a real eye opener, at the time a lot of the films on release were not quite your regular Hollywood titles although Warner, CIC, Rank, Magnetic and a couple of others catered for the more mainstream tastes. It was the B movies such as the Kung fu epics, dodgy comedies and Euro trash horror that really got me hooked. When we first got the video I had no hope of watching these but Mum and Dad watched the odd horror and used to hide it behind the black and white Ferguson telly in the kitchen. One day I found John Carpenter’s Halloween on the Media label and constantly nagged them for hours to let me watch it. Eventually they gave in with Dad saying that if I had nightmares that would be my fault. There weren’t any nightmares and the love affair with horror began.
As this was the days before the silly Video Recordings Act so I absorbed any film I could lay my hands on. That all changed when the Conservatives ruined everything and all the good stuff disappeared for decades. There was still plenty to enjoy though so after watching stacks of horror I moved on to Sword and Sorcery movies such as Hawk the Slayer and Beastmaster. Action epics including various ninja films, comedies and even the odd ‘sensible’ film such as The Deer Hunter or The Godfather. When all my friends who by that time had family VCR’s boasted about watching ‘blue films’ I was more interested in the latest Charles Bronson or Chuck Norris than a pair of knockers and other dangly bits bobbling around on the screen although I’ve loved Porky’s and those Confessions’ movies. Of course when you get older and slightly more sophisticated you tend to appreciate the odd pair of boobs (and other related body parts) as long as it’s essential to the story.
At the end of the eighties, there was the boom horror period where I fell in love with the genre all over again. Although a lot of the good stuff remained banned by the Draconian Tories we could still enjoy the cinematic exploits of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees especially during the school six week holidays where RITZ (remember them?) did the 99p rental as long as you took it back by 6PM the same day. It was around this time I discovered Fangoria the magazine and got very pissed off that half the films I read about never got released here. That changed though when I bought myself a Panasonic NTSC VCR when I started work and went to Florida on regular holidays. First ever purchase in the USA – The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and A Clockwork Orange.
Being a horror film fan got better as years went by especially with the invention of DVD and ridiculously cheap multi region players. All the stuff you never saw or risked a visit from Mr. Plod could be picked up online or by mail order specialists. I was lucky to have a Home Cinema shop less than a mile from my house and he did literally stacks of Region 1 DVD’s. Let’s just say I spent a fair few quid in that establishment.
As the Internet matured, I stumbled upon a site I regularly visited looking for a reviewer. It had never crossed my mind before to do such a thing but I’ve always had strong opinions on films I love and will argue all night about the merits of them. So I sent an example review off and I got the gig. I worked with that site for a year or so but the chap who ran had just started a family so his time was precious so he recommended me and some others to another site. That worked out okay for a while, until it all got technical and they wanted bit rates of the picture and other nonsense I wasn’t interested in. All I wanted to do was watch a film, write about it in my own style and let others know what I thought. So I moved to another site which was very high brow and I lasted there about 3 months. They even one time asked me to peruse the odd ‘adult’ title but I only managed one review as I wrote it full of double entendres and ‘wood’ jokes. They weren’t impressed so it was never posted. It was around this time I got a PlayStation 3, so I had Blu-ray now and those boutique labels started springing up and we were being treated to having seriously gorgeous prints of films long forgotten.
Encouraged by my parents I decided to start up my own website which I could run it how I wanted and decide on the films I would review. Thankfully I did keep a few contacts from the other sites and soon enough after teaching myself how to construct a website I launched it. I mainly review horror, action and B movies on the site but I also have a massive fondness for WWE wrestling which I had been following religiously for over 25 years.
Of course you still can beat to a trip to the ‘Pictures’ and I go whenever I can. Unfortunately the multiplexes tend to cater only for big budget films and occasionally you get some horror but that is usually ‘studio product’ which is very hit and miss. You can’t beat a nice loud action picture on the big screen but it would be nice to see a smaller budget horror film shown as well, unfortunately they tend to go straight to DVD these days. Thank goodness for the big screen TV’s you can now get (anyone with less than a 40 inch telly, I spit in their general direction) and extremely affordable video projectors. It’s almost come full circle back to the days when Dad and I used to sit in our kitchen and watch those Super 8’s on that pull-up screen.
Please pop over to the site when you have a moment and if you want, feel free to join the Facebook group as well where all sorts of random film, TV and wrestling stuff is posted. There’s no weirdos in the group (well apart from me and possibly a couple of others) as it’s all harmless banter and not too serious, hope to see you there.