Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Interview With Greg Goodsell Of Deep Red

Hello Theater Of Guts readers, Crankenstein here! it's an honor and a privilege to interview one of the head honcho's in charge of Deep Red Magazine, Mr. Greg Goodsell! He was a main typographer, contributing writer and reviewer since its inception in 1986. He is still actively writing and was recently included in a amazing book by John Szpunar called Xerox Ferox, which delves into the underground horror zines of the 90's (Blackest Heart,Sleazoid Express, Ecco, Splatter Times and of course Deep Red) check it out here 
1.How Did you Meet Chas Balun
How I met Chas. Balun: DEEP RED was available at my local comic book store and in issue #2 he gave a glowing review of Cecil Doyle’s Subhuman fanzine. I introduced myself in a letter offering my services and he said “Welcome aboard!” I would meet him at the Fangoria conventions in Los Angeles and we kept in touch. By 1991, I was working in newspapers and DEEP RED fell by the wayside, as he had been burnt out by various publishers (fill in the blanks). I said “Hey, I’m a typesetter!” He said, “Let’s get crackin’.” And so DEEP RED ALERT – along with other small press publications was born. Life is complicated, and Chas. Had health issues and I had personal problems in the 1990s, but we got back on the hobby horse a few more times – and then Chas. Lost his battle with cancer. Very sad.

2. How influential was Deep Red magazine globally? 
DEEP RED globally -- funny thing, there were lots of people who weren't into what Chas. and I were doing in the fanzine community. There were lots of people who thought Charlie was a little too high on himself at the height of DEEP RED. Jealousy, mostly. I get lots of compliments today on how the mag inspired others, but whenever you put something out there, there are people throwing stones. British fans were overly protective of their own publications.
3. What are some favorite films in the Deep Red catalog?
Favorite films championed by DEEP RED in the magazine -- not necessarily in Balun's bootleg stash, was COMBAT SHOCK. Truly one of a kind. He also turned me on to IN A GLASS CAGE, which in tone is similar to the "torture porn" genre, i.e. MARTYRS and A SERBIAN FILM. The tastiest morsel I got through Chas Balun's connections was a day-it-was-minted copy of NEKROMANTIK #2 -- which was highly sought after, but alas, wasn't that good a film.
4.What are some of the worst films you've had to review for Deep Red?
As I wrote about lousy horror movies in DEEP RED HORROR HANDBOOK, at the time – INVITATION TO HELL was the absolute worst. It got released on DVD and I recently watched it again and it was just as bad as I remember it. Nowadays, unbelievably bad movies like THE ROOM, DANGEROUS MEN, BIRDEMIC SHOCK AND TERROR are proudly displayed theatrically to snarking audiences. As I say in XEROX FEROX, if I were to write the book today AFTER LAST SEASON would warrant its own chapter.

5. What do you think of Chris Gore and that infamous Film Threat trash piece? 
Well what did YOU think of the Chris Gore Film Threat trash piece? One of the high points of my career was introducing Gore to Balun at the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors. Balun picked up the squirming five-foot nothing Gore and threatened to kill him then and there! Beer flew everywhere! Best bar fight I’ve seen outside of a bar! BUT SERIOUSLY, Gore was selling unauthorized dupes along with everyone else. Why did he feel so high and mighty?

6. Who inherited all the bootlegs when Chas passed away? 
I don't know if Pat has them and what worth they would have as everything has come out on authorized Blu-Ray by now ...
7.What are some recent films that deserve the Deep Red seal of approval?
You know, I really can't speak for Chas.! We had differing opinions. I don't think Chas. would rally for such films as HOSTEL and MARTYRS. He enjoyed cathartic gore films, and not ones where you left trembling over the evils of humanity. He hated most of the stuff coming out of Japan. Can't speak for Chas.
8. Talk about censorship back in the 80's versus what people can get away with now in film? 
You can get away with anything in movies these days -- just don't expect a wide release. It's same as now. in the Eighties, horror films were trying to be more mainstream, and so they toned things back. There are a lot of extreme movies being made in the underground these days -- AUGUST UNDERGROUND, etc. But it's not necessarily a good thing.
9. Is it a coincidence that most of the films in the DR catalog are also on the video nasty list?
 Well, yes, Chas. made it his business to make sure that people denied access to movies -- made up movies relying on special effects, were made available to them! They were showing the Video Nasties every night at the Hollywood Silent Movie Theater for the month of October, and what was so striking was that the ONLY British film on the list -- the nasties were a U.K. phenomenon, remember -- was XTRO (1982). All the other Nasties were from the U.S. and/or Italy. I found that ironic as the films of British director Pete Walker , with their cannibal grannies and murderous priests were the very definition of "nasty," and they were excluded! On some level, the Video nasties phenomenon was in reaction to British horror and exploitation films getting short shrift in international markets!
10. What films did you and Chas Balun disagree on? Chas. disliked the films of David Lynch and gave BLUE VELVET a middling review. He also loathed Tim Burton, whose early films were actually pretty good. I don't much care for either Lynch's or Burton's recent output, so who know, maybe Chas. was prescient.

Thanks so much for your time Mr. Goodsell and everyone buy a copy of Xerox Ferox and support Headpress they are churning out some of the best exploitation horror books on the planet. You can visit Greg on Facebook and don't support Film Threat or Chris Gore!

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