Customer Reviews: The Psychotronic Video Guide To Film
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on June 20, 2004
I'll freely admit my admiration for Michael Weldon's work, this book, his previous, and his magazine. Even when I disagree with his assessment, he's always honest and straight-forward.
I read some other reviews complaining about the content, or lack thereof, in this book. I think there's a misundserstanding as to what this is. It is a continuation of Michael's previous book, the Psychotronic Encylcopedia. There may be references in the reviews to movies not listed here, but that's because those movies are listed in the Encyclopedia. The two books have very little common content.
I also read a complaint about inclusion of some mainstream pictures such as Basic Instinct. In defense, I would say that Michael's content covers exploitation films of all genres and budget levels, whether made for $26,000 or $26,000,000.
I also like Michael's editorial inserts in this volume, such as his favorite movies of each decade.
Both books are essential, though admittedly his first covers most of the classics. This volume, thankfully, is not only more up-to-date, but stretches back into the silent era as well.
I them both.
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on July 12, 1999
First off, I recommend you get the first volume, the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FILM before getting this VIDEO GUIDE. Though this book is excellent in every way (except for the inclusion of so many action flicks), it is necessary to have both books. VIDEO GUIDE goes into newer films and neglects most of the timeless older flicks that we grew up with. Well, at least most of us, I'm only 15. The odd thing about this book is that it moves from the "outcast" section of a video store to the inner depths of "popular" categories, such as ACTION, COMEDY & DRAMA. So, get the ENCYCLOPEDIA first, then dive right into this excellent book and you will see how much more interesting and grand "psychotronic" films are than your everyday movie.
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on August 27, 1999
This massive effort focuses mainly on horror, sci-fi, exploitation, drug, biker and other similar genre films. There are listings to over 3,000 movies/tv series/serials, giving reviews, inside information, cast & crew details. This is the biggest & best book of its kind available today & is a "must have" for anybody who really digs whacked-out movies. However, the author does make some extremely dubious choices for inclusion such as Beverly Hills Cop & Hunt For Red October. These & other films listed, are definately not Psychotronic by the author's own definition, but you have to take the good with the bad here. This is a book that will get hours & hours of repeated use & is definately worth the purchase price.
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on April 18, 2000
I remember ordering this book somewhere round last year and ever since then, I've been transformed from an average movie nerd to a deranged, obsessive fanatic of obscure exploitation flicks. Carefully comiled with the wit and originality of Michael Weldon (head of Psychotronic magazine), it mainly deals with stuff you've never heard of. I guess thats why I love it so much, I've suddenly become obsessed with tracking down drive-in oddities. At the moment, I'm watching Common Law Wife; an old b/w exploitation movie that I ordered from Sinister Cinema. Just finished. This book also gives reviews for dozens of videos from the Something Weird web site; Teenage Gang Debs, A Taste of Blood and The Bloody Brood are just few of their movies I'm eager to see. OK, I guess I sound like a total, raving nutcase now; don't I? Heh heh heh ha ha ha! Oohoohoohoo, ahah! Join me, oh brother of stupidity.
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on July 14, 2002
This is the companion title to the cult film bible (The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film) but with the focus that everything reviewed within is or was available on videotape. It updates the other publication and there's very little, if any, duplication of reviews. I like how they also include some more mainstream releases that have a Psychotronic bent (Silence of the Lambs etc...) which like it or not deserve a place here.
If your movie tastes gravitate to the offbeat, and you want to know whether that 3AM horror movie on TV will be worth setting a tape for, this book will steer you right. As with the companion publication, a must have in every B-Movie fan's library. I eagerly anticipate an updated publication.
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on February 11, 2001
From the first time I opened this book three years ago, until the last time I looked at it today, the Psychotronic Video Guide, (and it's big brother, the Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film) by Michael Weldon, has brought so many exceptional movies into my life. I remember my first conquest: after reading a review of "Soul Vengeance," I knew I had to see that film, and when I found it later that year, it was like I'd won the World Series. After that, movies like "Student Confidential," "Nadja," and "City of the Living Dead" came into my life, and it has never been the same. This is THE movie book for fans of horror/cult/odd cinema. There simply is none higher.
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on December 8, 2015
It's nice to have this as a reference. Some of the films I loved, are dismissed by him, but I like reading about each one. There's an occasional error here and there too.

Has exploitation films, horror films, thrillers, film noir, science fiction, etc.
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on April 14, 2002
...that tries to be everything for everybody.
First of all, I am a huge fan of Weldon's original _Psychtronic Enclyopedia..._, which is why this review is difficult to write. I don't want to give it a bad review, but it is simply a bad video guide.
What made the Encyclopedia so good was that it was comprehensive for a specifc genre--the B-movie. The _Video Guide_, on the other hand, includes many mainstream movies, such as Basic Instinct. Sounds good, doesn't it? Think again.
After a few minutes of looking up movies or just skimming through, you realize that this guide is poorly done. In his reviews, Weldon frequently refers to other movies which are _not_ listed in the guide. It's pretty dang frustrating when the review of Day of the Dead mentions the film Dawn of the Dead, a movie that is not reviewed. Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens a lot.
I don't understand why the author would include so many middle-of-the-road, non-"psychotronic" movie reviews when this guide doesn't even have a decent listing of sci-fi & horror movies.
Finally, this guide has no reliable way of rating the films--the write-ups don't often mention how good or bad the movies are.
I give it (a generous) 3 stars for Weldon's erudite and enjoyably snarky comments on the films. But, if you're interested in an excellent guide to B-films, get a copy of the out-of-print _Psychotronic Encyclopedia_. It's dated (published in the early 1980's, I think), but a much better choice for old scifi/horror/exploitation flicks.
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on June 12, 1998
Were talkin' essential reference material here. Both "Psychotronic" volumes serve as hep movie review guides. Written especially for folks who are just too cool for the 'New Releases' section of the sparkling, family video store. Recommended.
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on June 19, 2012
Okay, so many of the negative reviews on here seem somewhat misinformed (or, more likely, to have made their own wrong assumptions without having been, or bothered to be, informed) that I felt it necessary to say something. It really isn't all that complicated:

1. This is "The Psychotronic Encyclopedia Vol. 2."

Call it that, keep that in mind, and you won't go wrong, and more than half of your criticisms fall by the wayside.

If you've ever owned a print encyclopedia you'll know what I'm talking about when I say this is an update, a yearbook (more like a 12-year book, in this case!), a comprehensive addendum. It's meant to supplement the original, not replace it. When you buy an encyclopedia's yearbook you don't expect it to repeat all the same information that the set itself already has, and you shouldn't expect it here, either. That's why there's no listing for "Dawn of the Dead;" it's in the original.

Weldon could have saved himself (and you guys) a lot of grief by simply calling it "Encyclopedia Vol. 2" in the first place, but he'd gone with a different publisher, and perhaps they (or he) couldn't...or just wouldn't, for obvious reasons. (Few people would start out by buying a volume 2 before 1, so they'd just be encouraging sales of the other publisher's book, while postponing sales of their own.)

2. So, what this book IS:

a. All the movies that have come out SINCE the Encyclopedia.
b. New discoveries he's made in older films since the first book (hey, nobody's seen every movie, not even Weldon...or me! :) )
c. Thankfully, making up for several categories that he'd completely neglected in the first book (for whatever reasons), notably silent films and serials, which is arguably the most valuable contribution that this book makes.

(And I don't think he was concentrating upon films available on video, I think that's looking at things backwards: when this volume was published, the Golden Age of home video, virtually EVERYTHING was available on tape, video was concentrating on HIS movies! Unfortunately, that's no longer the case...for reasons that would take another comment the length of this one.)

3. Another complaint is that some of these films, notably several mainstream releases, aren't psychotronic.

Well, define "psychotronic":

B-Movies? Sure...except that there are a plethora of B-movies that he doesn't include, and that he evidently doesn't feel fall under the category of psychotronic. (As an obvious example, where are the Blondie movies? Hell, where are the films noir? I'm actually surprised that he doesn't get more into them.)

Horror films? Sex films? Of course...but then why NOT include mainstream horror films, or even "Basic Instinct" if Sharon Stone wants to give you a peek?

Besides, today (and even back when the book came out) there ARE no more "B" movies; they've been replaced by direct-to-video films. You won't find them at the shows anymore. (Would you pay $12 or so to see a couple of PRC programmers? Well, maybe...I would! lol) Plot-wise, half the movies coming out of Hollywood would have been b-movie fodder fifty years ago. That's saying something about us, not about his choices. And that's put b-movies and drive-in movies and grindhouse virtually out of business.

But most to the point: like I said, define "psychotronic." You can't...because it's HIS word, and his definition, and it's whatever he wants it to be, not whatever you want it to be. He can include any movie he likes under the label, and be justified. All you can do is like or dislike his taste in films.

4. Finally, there have been a few disparaging remarks about his not rating the films.

I think you're missing the point: by including the films, he IS rating them. These are films he loves! He loves ALL such films, good or bad! (And he will occasionally mention whether he considers a film of particular merit...or particularly bad.) This isn't Leonard Maltin's or some other high-brow general movie guide, and it isn't meant to be. It's a comprehensive tour through one person's personal tastes.

(And I would assume that he loves one hell of a lot more films than these, but those he doesn't consider psychotronic, and so hasn't included them.)

He's giving you little glimpses of the films, and leaving your opinion of them up to you...which is where it belongs in the first place.

I see so many misconceived criticisms about things that stem from people having preconceptions about them and not having them live up to their expectations. This can be fair enough if those preconceptions were foisted upon you by the publisher (or studio, or whatever).

But if you're expecting something just because you want it to be that, despite signposts to the contrary (Amazon's review specifically says that this is a SEQUEL to the "Encyclopedia") then your criticisms are unfair, and you're the one misleading others.

Love the book or hate it, but don't expect it to be what it's not, or judge it that way.

And, for what they are, I consider both volumes to be very handy books! I know my video library has swelled considerably because of them, and, if these sorts of movies are your cup of tea, yours will, too!
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