Friday, February 21, 2014

Spectacular Optical to launch “KID POWER!” book at Fantasia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Cult Film Website Spectacular Optical to launch Book Series with "KID POWER!"

Film writer and programmer Kier-La Janisse and Canuxploitation scholar Paul Corupe, the team behind cult film and pop culture website Spectacular Optical, are prepping the label's inaugural anthology book, KID POWER!, about images of child empowerment in film and television. With cover and key art by Austin Sellers, subjects spanning North America, the UK, Australia and beyond, and a diverse array of some of genre criticism's most unique voices, KID POWER! will be an essential addition to any collector's bookshelf.

Spectacular Optical Book One: KID POWER! will be launched during Montreal's Fantasia Film Festival in July of this year. The book will be full colour, heavily illustrated throughout, and will be the first in an ongoing series of Spectacular Optical anthology books on cult cinema with an emphasis on supporting Canadian genre and pop culture writers.

The full contents of the book are:
  • It's a Yorkshire Thing: An Interview with David Bradley of KES - by Kier-La Janisse
  • After-School Shootout: The Lowry Brothers: HAWK JONES by Paul Corupe
  • Bad Hair Day: Producer Rock Demers on THE PEANUT BUTTER SOLUTION by Bret Berg
  • Curley and his Gang: The Laughably Short Life of Hal Roach's Second Kid Comedy Crew by Zack Carlson
  • They Can See In The Dark: An Interview with Richard Nielsen, Writer/Producer of THE LITTLE VAMPIRE by Cheryl Singleton
  • Motherless Child: The Power and Poetry of THE UGLY LITTLE BOY by Chris Alexander
  • They Let Me Keep a Crocodile: A Conversation with Stephen Rosenberg, Child Star of 1978s JACOB TWO-TWO MEETS THE HOODED FANG by Zack Carlson
  • Memories of THE CHILDREN OF TIMES SQUARE by Robin Bougie
  • Dear Judy: Australian Girlhood Mythologised by Briony Kidd
  • Cosmic Rays and Mind Travel: Anthony Read's CHOCKY Trilogy by Owen Williams
  • Knowing is Half the Battle: An Interview with ABC Afterschool Specials Producer Martin Tahse by Kier-La Janisse
  • A Who's Who of ABC Afterschool Specials by Kier-La Janisse
  • Stinky: Abbott and Costello's Resident Man-Child by Robert Dayton
  • Motion Picture Purgatory: KENNY, THE KID BROTHER (1988) by Rick Trembles
  • Kids Flicks Are No Laughing Matter by Jesse Hawthorne Ficks
  • Ann Turner's CELIA: They Kill Rabbits, Don't They by Briony Kidd
  • Nicoletta Elmi: Italian Horror's Imp Ascendent by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Craig Martin

An Indiegogo campaign will be launched in late March to fund printing through pre-sales of the book, in regular and collector's editions. Editions of the book include:
  • Regular Edition
  • Collector's Edition (limited to 50, comes with compilation CD)
  • Collector's Set (limited to 20, comes with compilation CD, JACOB TWO-TWO "Child Power" T-shirt and KENNY-inspired skateboard deck designed by Jay Shaw,

Owner and Editor-in-Chief: Kier-La Janisse

Kier-La Janisse is a film programmer for Fantastic Fest and SF Indie, the founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies and Owner/Editor-in-Chief of Spectacular Optical. She has been a programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas, co-founded Montreal microcinema Blue Sunshine, founded the CineMuerte Horror Film Festival in Vancouver (1999-2005) and was the subject of the documentary Celluloid Horror (2005). She has written for Filmmaker, Shindig!, Incite: Journal of Experimental Media, Rue Morgue and Fangoria magazines, has contributed to The Scarecrow Movie Guide (Sasquatch Books, 2004) and Destroy All Movies!! A Complete Guide to Punk on Film (Fantagraphics, 2011), and is the author of A Violent Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi (FAB Press, 2007) and House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films (FAB Press, 2012). She is currently working on the book A Song From the Heart Beats the Devil Every Time about children's programming from 1965-1985.

Managing Editor: Paul Corupe
Since 1999 Paul Corupe has shared his passion for Canada's film history at, a site recognized as the essential source for uncovering the forgotten films of Canada's past. He has written about genre film and Canadian cinema in publications including Rue Morgue magazine and Take One: Film and Television in Canada. He has appeared in several documentaries about Canadian film and scripted episodes of Bravo's On Screen! television series.

Named after the sinister institution in David Cronenberg's Videodrome, Spectacular Optical began as an online journal in April of 2011, in anticipation of the Fantasia Film Festival's 15th Anniversary. An outgrowth of the festival's seasonal blog, the journal was the festival's way of connecting with movie-goers on a year-round basis, and nurturing the exciting talents that are a part of the festival's lineup each year. In fall of 2012, the journal's affiliation with the Fantasia Film Festival was discontinued, and it was bequeathed to its editor Kier-La Janisse, who has since re-established Spectacular Optical as an independent small-press publisher of collectible film and pop culture books with an emphasis on supporting Canadian genre film writers and designers. In addition to our print books, throughout the year Spectacular Optical will continue to publish articles, essays and interviews with established and emerging genre filmmakers, artists, curators and exhibitors on our website.

For more information, contact Kier-La Janisse at

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Project Gould

Way back in December, 2010, I posted about the filmography of Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould in the 1970s with the idea of doing a book about these two actors' careers during my favorite decade of cinema.

It's over three years later and that project has yet to come to fruition. One of my first stumbling blocks was Donald Sutherland's publicist who has acted like a successful roadblock. I was taken aback by his publicist's first question to me; "Why would you talk about them [Gould and Sutherland] together since they were only in one movie together?" Apparently, she'd remembered M*A*S*H but forgotten S*P*Y*S, Little Murders, and the friendship that the two men shared in the early 1970s. This exclusion of Sutherland may have been a blessing in disguise, however, Gould's filmography from 1969 to 1981 includes an astounding 28 feature films, not to mention his numerous appearances on television specials.

Since 2010, I've been working to track down people involved with these films and interviewing them. I've had a lot of luck with some films (California Split, Little Murders, etc) and horrid luck with others (Harry & Walter Go to New York, The Lady Vanishes, I Will... I Will... For Now, etc). I've been working for a few years to try and get a response from James Caan, Malcolm Marmorstein, Claudia Cardinale, Steven Paul, and Kim Darby (to name a few). I've gotten turned down by Diane Keaton, Mark Rydell, and Cybill Shepherd.

I'm very sad to say that during my research Ted Post (Whiffs) and Charles Jarrott (The Last Flight of Noah's Ark) have passed away. However, I was very fortunate to have talked to Mel Stuart (I Love My Wife) just a few weeks prior to his passing. He died owing me $108.00 (a story I hope to include in the book).

Even without input from some of the aforementioned folks, I'm still planning on finally getting my ass in gear and going ahead with the project in 2014.

And what about the man himself? What about Elliott Gould? He may be interested in participating and, of course, that would be invaluable. I need to show him that I can do more than just write blog posts and proposals about a book. After I wrap up a few things for BearManor Media, I'm going to buckle down and write a chapter on California Split and Getting Straight. Of course, I'm going to go beyond the films themselves and talk about their sources, what other films compare with them, the times in which they were made, and their influences on other films/culture.

Why am I posting this? I'm hoping that it will help hold my feet to the fire as well as maybe shake some fruit from the trees. I can hope.

Interviews in the Can
Joseph Walsh (California Split)
Jules Feiffer (Little Murders)
Peter Hyams (Busting + Capricorn One)
Brenda Vaccaro (I Love My Wife + Capricorn One)
Mel Stuart (I Love My Wife)
Richard Rush (Getting Straight)
Albert Ruddy (Matilda)
Timothy Galfas (Matilda)
Gary Morgan (Matilda)
Fred Williamson (M*A*S*H + Mean Johnny Barrows)
Jack Gold (Who?)
Joss Ackland (S*P*Y*S)
Sandy Glass (The Last Flight of Noah's Ark)

Interviews I hope to get
Alan Arkin (Little Murders)
Albert E. Lewin (I Will... I Will... For Now)
Allen Garfield (Busting)
Alvin Rakoff (Dirty Tricks)
Anthony Page (The Lady Vanishes)
Bill Cosby (The Devil & Max Devilin)
Christopher Plummer (The Silent Partner)
Curtis Hanson (The Silent Partner)
Cybill Shepherd (The Lady Vanishes)
Diane Keaton (Harry & Walter Go To New York + I Will... I Will... For Now)
Donald Sutherland (MASH, SPYS, Little Murders)
Geneviève Bujold (The Last Flight of Noah's Ark)
Geneviève Waïte (Move)
James Caan (Harry & Walter Go To New York)
Malcolm Marmorstein (SPYS + Whiffs)
Mark Rydell (The Long Goodbye + Harry & Walter Go to New York)
Mary Rodgers (The Devil & Max Devlin)
Max von Sydow (The Touch)
Nina Van Pallandt (The Long Goodbye)
Paul Mazursky (Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice)
Paula Prentiss (MOVE)
Robert Blake (Busting)
Steven Hilliard Stern (The Devil & Max Devlin)
Steven Paul (Falling in Love Again)