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Psychotronic Masterpieces


CaveGirl
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For some who dig the strange, the unusual and the somewhat weird, Michael Weldon's tome, "The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film" is their bible. My copy is dog-eared from way too much usage and consultations.
 
Weldon said that his original concept for the book and his earlier ventures into a weekly crib sheet for upcoming tv showings of off the wall films, was based on them being of the fields of horror films, electronic gadget-filled, sci-fi, biker, exploitation, musclemen,3-D, 1960's beach and Mexican schlock movie combinations with some Grade Z monstrosities thrown in for good measure. He thought he had coined the term "Psychotronic" until he realized he'd stolen it from the film "The Psychotronic Man". Having watched the movie host, Ghoulardi as a kid in Cleveland Weldon became somewhat addicted to the offbeat films.

His book is a compendium of such films, some laughable, some serious with Grade-A effects, but all strangely beautiful in their own mutated ways. I have many personal favorites which are listed below, some of which I might never have sought out without reading about them in Weldon's book.

"White Pongo" [1945] PRC
"Alphaville" [1965] Jean-Luc Godard
"The Horrible Dr. Hichcock" [1962] with Barbara Steele married to a necrophiliac!
"The Brute Man" [1946] featuring Rondo Hatton
"Murder in the Zoo" [1933] Lionel Atwill winner!
"Captive Wild Women" [1943] always great to see Acquanetta
"Maniac" [1934] Dwain Esper
"Daughters of Darkness" [1971] Delphine Seyrig
"Pickup" [1951] another Hugo Haas specialty with Beverly Michaels
"The Hypnotic Eye" [1959] w/ bit by the real great imposter, Fred Demara
"The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" [1936] with film's greatest ham, Tod Slaughter
"Lord Love a Duck" [1966] Axelrod and Tuesday Weld, who could ask for more?
"Mill of the Stone Women" [1960] from "Flemish Tales" w/ Wolfgang Preiss
"The Naked Kiss" [1964] small town perversity by Sam Fuller
"Invasion of the Bee Girls" [1973] w/ Victoria Vetri
"Judex" [1963] Georges Franju classic
"Macumba Love" [1960] blood, lust, voodoo and Ziva Rodann
"Witchfinder General" [1968] Michael Reeves directs Vincent Price in his least hammy role!
"Equinox" [1967] Fritz Leiber and a necromiconic book!
"Color Me Blood Red" [1965] H.G. Lewis, need I say more?
"Deranged" [1974] Eddie Gein as portrayed by Robert Blossom
"Glen or Glenda" [1953] Ed Wood, Junior [what was Senior like I wonder?]

Lastly, I would not have known about "Let Me Die a Woman" without this book.

I could go on and on, but those are a few faves. What are yours?
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Weldon's follow-up, The Psychotronic Video Guide, is just as essential as the original volume. Besides updating and correcting some of the entries in the first book, this one also covers the same sorts of film released since the first book (from the early 80's through the mid 90's). It also adds serials, sexploitation flicks, blaxploitation, and even some arthouse foreign films, like the works of Luis Bunuel and Werner Herzog. It also adds a lot of spotlight articles on specific actors, directors, and film series, as well as  lists of Weldon's favorites from each decade. Here are his choices for a few of those decades:

1930s

  • Bride of Frankenstein
  • Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
  • Flash Gordon
  • Freaks
  • Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Island of Lost Souls
  • King Kong
  • M
  • Mad Love
  • Things to Come

1940s

  • Arsenic and Old Lace
  • The Beast with Five Fingers
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Cat People
  • Dead of Night
  • The Devil and Daniel Webster
  • Mighty Joe Young
  • The Picture of Dorain Gray
  • Strangler of the Swamp
  • The Wolf Man

1950s

  • The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
  • Black Sunday (a 1960 release)
  • Dementia
  • Horror of Dracula
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • Night of the Demon
  • Peeping Tom (another 1960 release)
  • Psycho (1960 again)
  • The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad
  • The Thing from Another World

1960s

  • Carnival of Souls
  • Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! 
  • The Fearless Vampire Killers
  • The Flesh Eaters
  • The Haunting
  • Homicidal
  • The Mask
  • Masque of the Red Death
  • Night of the Living Dead
  • Spider Baby

1970s

  • The Abominable Dr. Phibes
  • Alice Sweet Alice
  • Apocalypse Now
  • Deep Red
  • Eaten Alive
  • Eraserhead
  • God Told Me To
  • The Hills Have Eyes
  • Martin
  • Phantasm
  • Pink Flamingos
  • The Shining
  • Squirm
  • Suspiria
  • Switchblade Sisters
  • Taxi Driver
  • The Tenant
  • Texas Chain Saw Massacre
  • They Came from Within
  • Up!

1980s

  • Basket Case
  • Blade Runner
  • The Blob (1988)
  • Brazil
  • The Dead Zone
  • The Evil Dead
  • Flesh + Blood
  • Hellraiser
  • The Hitcher
  • The Lair of the White Worm
  • Near Dark
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Reanimator
  • Repo Man
  • The Road Warrior
  • Robocop
  • Rumble Fish
  • Sonny Boy
  • The Stepfather
  • Street Trash
  • The Terminator
  • They Live
  • The Thing 
  • Videodrome
  • White of the Eye
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