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Sheer Filth!: Bizarre Cinema, Weird Literature, Strange Music, Extreme Art

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  • Sheer Filth!: Bizarre Cinema, Weird Literature, Strange Music, Extreme Art

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    Sheer Filth!: Bizarre Cinema, Weird Literature, Strange Music, Extreme Art
    Author: David Flint
    Released by: FAB Press
    Released on: May 15th, 2014.
    Purchase from Amazon

    It might seem charmingly out of date these days to state that fanzines were an integral part of pre-internet pop culture but those of us who obsessed over obscure films, weird music and comic books before anything and everything was available at the touch of a button can certainly attest that this was indeed the case. While a lot of zines were more localized than others, there were some that crossed international boundaries and made more of a lasting impression and one of these was David Flint's Sheer Filth. While the majority of the focus here was on cult films and exploitation oddities, Flint's homemade rag also covered music and books and related articles. It was, in essence, one of the precursors to websites such as the one you're wasting your time on at this very second.

    Sheer Filth was published from 1987 through 1990, at which point Flint and company moved on, but they did leave in their wake a good run of reviews, articles and interviews worth revisiting. Enter FAB Press, those UK based purveyors of movie related madness, who have graciously collected the entire run of the zine sans letter columns and other bits and pieces that 'didn't fit' with some new unpublished pieces written around the same time frame thrown in for good measure (like a really fun interview with Annie Sprinkle conducted in the early 90s). The end result is a lovely little black and white time capsule of sorts and what stands out about it most really is not just the quality of the writing but the scope of this particular publication.

    While most zines were content to rest comfortably within the confines of a single genre, Sheer Filth covered not only horror movies (and yes, being UK based, the affiliated Video Nasties) but also Italian porno movies, American exploitation pictures, Irving Klaw's kinky short films, and the respective works of both Linnea Quigley and Pee-Wee Herman. There are rock solid interviews in here with the late David Friedman, who speaks frankly about his exploitation pictures and hardcore films alike and with Nekromantik's Jorge Buttgeriet interviewed long before Nekromantik was available on DVD. Samuel Z. Arkoff is interviewed extensively about his work with AIP as is musician Jouissance, skin flick queen Pamela Green and even Tuppy Owens, who speaks about working with none other than Lasse Braun on Sensations and all of the good and bad that this entailed.

    Delving into even more obscure territory we wind up with vintage reviews for a Psychic TV video, a Linda Lovelace paperback, a piece on Ed Wood's dirty movies, an ode to cum shots in adult films and a really personal piece that details attending an arthouse festival detailing lower bodily functions and death that involves with films of both Brakhage and Svanmajer. The film also offers a uniquely British perspective on the trials and tribulations of trying to view hardcore pornography in its proper state and on top of that we get detailed write ups on the discography of Coil, the banning of the written works of the Marquis de Sade in England, sexy illustrated postcards featuring a urinating Madonna, and some disturbingly descriptive writing about some of the more extreme adult films of Cicciolina (the actress who would later go on to serve in the Italian parliament!). Before Bettie Page found the posthumous mainstream appeal she now enjoys she and her work with Klaw were written up here as was Tinto Brass' Salon Kitty, the work of Johnny Legend, hentai, nunsploitation, Damiano lenses porno, Marilyn Chambers movies and the list goes on and on and on.

    All of this is written about passionately and knowledgeably and whatever discrepancies may exist in the text have been left there under the disclaimer that this is just how things were in fandom roughly twenty years ago when zines like Sheer Filth flourished in the pop culture underground. Props to Flint, his collaborators and to FAB Press for preserving material like this, as it was no always easy to come by in the first place and would otherwise be next to impossible to find now.
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