Shock Xpress Vol.1 is the first of three books, each book being a compilation of sleaze/exploitation articles/interviews. What is Shock Xpress? I’m glad you asked.
Shock Xpress was, initially, a fanzine, started in the mid-80’s covering sleaze, exploitation and gore. In the words of editor Jaworzyn:
“The idea was to write about the weird, obscure movies we were seeing and that nobody else seemed to be covering. There were only a couple of books dealing with them and a couple of US fanzines which were really hard to find. So we wanted to do a similar kind of thing but maybe get the magazine across to more people. The first two issues were a fairly shitty black and white thing [which apprently Jaworzyn had no hand in, so really shouldn’t bad mouth – Ronnie] then it slowly improved from there until it ended up as a book.”
Vol.1 has quite the gamut of articles. Starting off with an article written by James Ferman who was head of the most hated British Board of Film Classification (read: censors) then follows with an interview of Ferman, conducted by Julian Petley, which discusses several infamous films and cuts. Several pages are then devoted to Phillipino eploitation movies, some of which I’ll have to hunt down, then comes an interview with John Waters. The next article is about freaks in cinema and, of course, mentions Tod Brownings ‘Freaks‘ (reviewed by yours truly, on this page). Next up is an interview with Clive Barker, back when he was starting to write that fantasy rubbish. Shame that, his Books of Blood are amazing. Then an article on censorship in Germany, followed by a David Cronenberg interview discussing, mainly, The Naked Lunch. That lot make up, roughly, the first half of the book. I shant list every article as, not only would it spoil it, but I’m too lazy to go through them all and write them down.
Other than six or so pages in the middle, the entire book is in black and white, keep in mind; this was released in 1991. The last twenty pages give short reviews of movies such as; The Beast Of Yucca Flats, Brain Dead, Deranged and many others. The book ends with a comprehensive index of all the movies mentioned in the book, and there’s a lot! At just short of 200 pages the book is highly informative, humorously written and, being filled with articles, is easy to pick up, read an article, and come back for more later. Comes highly recommended… if you can find it!