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Sleazoid Express: A Mind-Twisting Tour Through the Grindhouse Cinema of Times Square Paperback – December 3, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

New York City's grindhouses (burlesque theaters gone to seed) are long gone, but sin-ema fans can relive the experience with this definitive study. Landis, founder of the eponymously titled cult classic periodical, and Clifford, his partner in grime, take readers on a tour of the Deuce, the psychosexual netherland on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues. Between the 1960s and 1980s, the area was home to numerous theaters before being razed and overlaid with family theme restaurants and chain stores in the 1990s. Organized by film genre ("Blood Horror," "Eurosleaze," etc.), the book covers the venues themselves as well as industry personnel, 42nd Street habitu s, and, of course, the deliciously offbeat and perverse films-Black Mama, White Mama; Women in Cages; and, this reviewer's personal favorite, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS. Like Jimmy McDonough's The Ghastly One, an excellent biography on sexploitation auteur Andy Milligan, this book moves the chains down the field in grindhouse cinema's march for respectability. Great fetish film fun for all popular culture and film collections.
Barry X. Miller, Austin P.L., TX
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Drawing upon their "full-scale magazine with a website" (gol-lee!) Sleazoid Express, which is dedicated to exploitation cinema, Landis and Clifford revel in old Times Square and the porno shops, dirty-movie theaters, and titty bars it hosted before Disney and its ilk made it safe for squeaky-clean consumerism. Yet they eschew the square's typical denizens for a whole chapter on the Rialto, which featured "the American blood horror genre" more than nudie-cutie flicks; Herschell Gordon Lewis and his magnum opus, Blood Feast, put in honored appearances here. A lesser name of no lesser glory that also pops up is Larry Buchanan, whose Mondo Exotica (aka Naughty Dallas) was a documentary about Jack Ruby's Carousel Club; it and other movies with mondo in the title were loosely patterned after the 1962 hit Italian "shockumentary" Mondo Cane, and, besides being surefire Times Square attractions, constitute a distinctive, often icky genre all of their own. Though not for every film buff, this book will draw vintage-sleaze fans from both sides of the culture-wars skirmish line. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (December 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743215834
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743215831
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #833,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen M. Kopian on November 22, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a description of the experience of going to the movies in Times Square before Disney made it safe for everyone this book can't be beat. This is the way it was, unsafe and fun in a sick twisted sort of way. Having been there, its dead on target. A trip into the theatres was an eye opening experience and one which could get you robbed or worse. However as an accurate description of the actual films shown the book is flawed, so much that it makes me wonder if the authors have ever watched the films in the years since they played Times Square. The first half of the book is fine with its description of what it was like to be in the theatres and how some of the films were made. However as the book goes on it becomes a recounting of what film played where, and in many cases I'm left to wonder if they ever really saw what they are describing. Their descriptions of the Mondo movies is mostly wrong, especially in light of the recent release of the 8 DVD Mondo Cane Boxset. They knock Zombie as having bad sound, a remark which is no doubt based on viewing it in a theatre with bad sound. I won't even go into their brief description of Shogun Assassin. There are others questionable descriptions, but these are the first to popped into my head. That said if you want a book that describes what it was like to see movies in a specific time and place this book is for you, just don't be looking for film reference guide to the actual films.
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I was out to find a book on the "where" of where the great B and sleaze films were shown. As a diehard fan, I knew alot already about synopses and had heard enough in audio commentaries to know as much about that... but I wanted to know what the 'viewing experiences' of these films would be like, especially with a historical perspective throughout. Well, along comes a DVD of "Cannibal Holocaust" aka "Dr. Butcher MD" and inside are some of the most erudite descriptions of a typical day at a "grindhouse" looked like. I'm hooked. So between that and the liner notes from "Cannibal Ferox" I could tell this was a must read. The formula is to take each theatre and describe the genre it best typifies along with a history of the behind the scenes of the theatre along with a couple plot synopses that best typify the genre. Along, the way you will find yourself racing to the imdb to see more about some of the more hideous films described therein. Also, it will allow you to develop a new respect for these films when you hear what they were limited by and then their budgetary restraints. And hey, anything that makes you wind up having a new respect for the cinema of Andy Milligan (yep, ya heard me right) is nothing short of miraculous. Here's to praying that Sinister Cinema's Oct. release of "The Ghastly Ones" will have an extra of "Vapors" in it IhopeIhopeIhope!! The writing style of Clifford and Landis shows that they are longtime grindhouse denizens themselves, especially in the number of instances they cite that audiences could relate to some of the more lurid onscreen happenings and be affected by it. For picaresque, this book is in a class by itself, especially in the descriptions of the Apollo after the video age.Read more ›
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This book is fantastic for anyone who is into exploitation, eurosleaze, blood horror, and mondo movies. I had recently become more interested in such movies before reading the book, and now I'm certainly glad I have it handy for my explorations into the bizarre. The short biographies of the actors and directors give an additional layer of insight into how, and why, these movies were made. There are extensive descriptions of movies peppered with factoids of the directors and actors that really make the movies come alive when you see them before or after reading the passage.

My only criticism of the book is that there is not as much emphasis on the "story" of the author seeing these movies and the grindhouses he frequented. Although there, this book does not read like a nonfictional narrative of the author's explorations, which I was expecting from some of the book's descriptions. It is very much a guidebook, with the chapters organized by genre, director, series, and/or time period rather than according to the author's experiences or a novel-like structure.

Although the book wasn't written or structured in the way I expected, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and am loaning it to some of my friends who are also interested in these movies. And I know I will continue to refer to it whenever I have an urge to search out a whacky and uniquely offensive movie gem.
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I give this book 5 stars. Ever since I saw the Tarantino/Rodriguez flick of Grindhouse, and it's trailers, I've been a huge fan of the exploitation genre. For those who have never been born during the 42nd street heyday of grindhouse cinema, or just weren't old enough, this book is definitely for you. Bill Landis and Michelle Clifford have written an excellent book detailing how it was to be in those types of theaters in NYC. They also go over in detail of many, many exploitation movies that were being shown during the 60's-80's. I am constantly referring to this book, almost like an encyclopedia, to search for movies that were being shown. There are not many books on this subject. If you are a fan of 60's-80's exploitation/euro-sleaze type of movies you should really get this book.
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