Paul Brown and Nigel Burrell are not only the figureheads of our beloved finest UK genre magazine 'Is It…Uncut?' but with their publishing house Midnight Media deliver some of the finest offshoot specialist subject magazines. Take for example the two latest stand alone special publications 'Blazing Magnums' and 'Slash Hits'…
Blazing Magnums: Italian Crime Thrillers is the conception of long time Uncut contributor Tristan Thompson (under the keen editorial eye of the aforementioned Brown and Burrell) and takes an enthusiastic look at the growingly popular Italian polizieschi film scene. With the assist of respected scribes such as Troy Howarth, Lovely Jon and Jonny Redman; Tristan Thompson delivers the most enthralling and definitive publication on the genre to date. 44 glossy full colour pages covering the movies that you may have seen from companies like No Shame (Almost Human, Convoy Busters, Emergency Squad) and Raro in Italy (The Boss, Live Like A Cop/Die Like A Man, Milan Calibre 9) to those that you can only yearn to see (please oh please somebody release the mouth watering Bloody Friday uncut on English friendly DVD). And it is the unconditional enthusiasm for the genre that saturates your psyche as you read this publication and will inevitably bring a few new fans to the genre (especially so anyone that is even slightly jaded of the current multiples horror scene who yearns for some vintage un-politically correct Italian exploitation fun). For this reason alone you can justify your purchase of this excellent magazine.
Slash Hits: Bloody Beginnings on the other hand sees writer Steven West unashamedly embrace and celebrate the much maligned slasher movie genre. And whilst many reading will perhaps feel they already are sold on the genre they would be foolhardy to ignore this wholly fun revisit to the slasher scene. Obviously having to contend with the limited page count this was never going to be the definitive A to Z edition on the scene but it does a damn good job of not only covering the 'classics' (Peeping Tom, Psycho, Blood and Black Lace et al) but offers equal time eschewing the (rightful) merits of such slasher treats as obscurities like Night After Night After Night, Paul Naschy's Blue Eyes Of The Broken Doll/A Dragonfly For Each Corpse to the infamous but rarely seen uncut Forced Entry. Fully illustrated throughout this salaciously bloody tribute to the slasher genre is essential reading for anyone with even the slightest interest in the scene. And in an amusing tip of the hat to old beloved publications such as Chas Balun's Gore Score (the definitive splatter guide for most teen horror fans back in the old days) Slash Hits even includes in every review a 'blood and boobs' rating illustrated by a breast or blood bag count depending on how much violence or nudity is contained therein - purely throwaway fun but also an amusing addition to enhance the exploitative nature of the genre movies this magazine is paying tribute to.
At £5.95 for each edition, both Blazing Magnums and Slash Hits and more than worthy of your expense. If any criticism of either can be levelled it would simply be that once you've got hold of these publications you'll want more and we can only hope that one day we'll see both expanded into full length book publications covering extensively the genre in a more complete sense - till then though you'll find much to be gratified about with these essential additions to your genre loving collection.
Regular SGM readers will not only know that I personally get fervently excited with the arrival of each issue of 'Is It…Uncut' (well you only need see my overall review of the ongoing collected special editions at the foot of this page) but that they themselves are growingly of the same train of thought; evident by the large numbers of votes we receive for the magazine each year in the SGM Awards nominations for Best Genre Magazine. So there really should be no need to once again explain in gratuitous detail just why it is one of the best reads out there for genre fans (well we don't Paul Brown, Nigel Burrell and their team of contributors brains swelling too much now do we folks?) To summarise for the initiated though, 'Is It…Uncut?' is not only a unique magazine both in style and presentation (no other genre mag even comes close) but it is evidently by far the most informative and enthralling genre magazines available, period.
As the latest issue (no.18) proudly declares, 'Is It…Uncut?' has now reached its 10th year of publication and whilst the formula today is pretty much unchanged it's still a fascinatingly informative and hence an essential purchase for any SGM reader (who has not yet made the jump to be seduced by its glossy but bloody delights). This latest edition like every other has that wallet pounding effect on me (and no doubt others) in that as you work your way through the various reviews of obscure genre gems I inevitably find myself online hunting down copies of said movies - this issue I immediately went forth and ordered 'Bad Inclination', 'Rojo Sangre', 'Frankenfish' and recent Thai shocker '999-9999'; all because of the excellent informative coverage by the 'Is It…Uncut' scribes, all films that I knew of but hadn't taken the plunge to purchase but such is the strength of the review pieces that I'm pushed over the edge in making those purchases. For that I don't know whether to damn the 'Uncut' team or reason that they should be on commission for their fine unntentional sales work. Either way, the standard of the work presented in each edition is exemplary without fault, a cracking read!
Other reviews included this issue range from the absurd Shaw Brothers monster movie 'Oily Maniac' to the wildly rare Joe Spinell shocker 'The Undertaker' (Tristan Thompson's splendid piece will drive Spinell fans to despair wishing that some canny distributor would find and release this unseen goodie). There are also two nice extensive reviews with the old and school of the genre filmmaking scene with Haute Tension director Alexandre Aja (conducted by Paul Brown) and underrated Italian director Pupi Avati (a welcome contribution by SGM favourite John Martin). Rounding the package off is the regular Butchered column (listing every unfortunate movie that has been savaged by the British Film Censors) and the jam-packed News Update section which is stuffed to the guddles with details of all the DVD release news worthy of mention, lovely stuff!
Every time we cover 'Is It…Uncut?' I always say the same thing and I wont tire of saying it until every one of you has started reading it…it's a fantastic magazine and very worthy of your attention, go buy this now!!
Paul J Brown & Nigel J Burrell
The giallo film has long had a loyal following amongst the horror community, from the 1960's through to the 1980's the giallo movie genre has been a welcome staple of brutal thrillers that has been distinctly monopolised with great skill by the Italian film industry. With the release of Paul Brown and Nigel Burrell's 'Giallo Scrapbook' genre fans both new and old are delivered a sumptuous overview package of some of the most popular and successful examples of the genre.
Covering everything from the obvious landmark films such as the output of Mario Bava ('Bay Of Blood', 'Blood and Black Lace', 'Five Dolls For An August Moon', 'The Girl Who Knew Too Much'), Lucio Fulci ('Don't Torture A Duckling', 'Lizard In A Womens Skin') and Dario Argento ('Bird With The Crystal Plumage', 'Deep Red', 'Cat O Nine Tails', 'Tenebrae' et al); it also expands to include such lesser known fare such as Giulio Questi's bizarre 'Death Laid An Egg' to the work of the talented and underrated Sergio Martino ('Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I have The Key', 'All The Colors Of The Dark', 'Case of the Scorpions Tail') and Umberto Lenzi ('Knife Of Ice', 'Seven Bloodstained Orchids' and 'Spasmo') the Giallo Scrapbook truly is both a stunning introduction to the genre for newcomers to the scene but also a welcome reminder to old die hards (like myself) that these movies are still some of the best horror movies around to date.
Of course, on casual browsing I'd imagine that some may be put off by the low page count and high price tag (£5.95/$10) but it's not until you actually kick back and read what's inside you understand that this is actually a lovingly presented package that has so much repeat reading value you realise that it's worth every penny. Each film is given it's own page with plot synopsis, review and details of availability on our beloved DVD format along with mouth watering garish images of each films brutal but stylish action. An excellent introduction to the giallo scene (if you get the giallo fever from this wee gem then you might want to progress onto Adrian Luther Smith's weightier book 'Blood and Black Lace') and a welcome celebration of the wonderful leather gloved world of the giallo. Small, simple but beautiful!
If there were ever two more die hard dedicated and highly knowledgeable fans that deserve nothing but respect from the horror community then Paul Brown and Nigel Burrell are them. The brains behind the long running and deservedly successful Midnight Media horror suppliers are also the folk that publish the simply mouth-watering 'Is It Uncut?' magazine. Forget Fangoria and its contemparies, 'Is It Uncut?' is THE magazine by horror fans for horror fans.
Now, if like me you are late to the game with 'Is It Uncut?' magazine (and shame on us all) then now we all have the perfect reason to come onboard and discover what is without doubt one of the greatest horror magazines to grace our presence with the collected 'Is It Uncut? Special Editions'.
Each of the special editions of 'Is It Uncut?' collects not only all the reviews from the now deleted early issues but also brings some new articles into the mix, all presented in high end glossy stock paper with cracking blood splattered imagery throughout.
That said, presentation isn't everything and the reading matter is what inevitably keeps you coming back for more and these folk are so obviously true fans of the genre (albeit slightly obsessive deranged collectors of the truly obscure). Admittedly I'm very much a DVD snob these days and will only very rarely pick up an old VHS tape if it's a film that I'm desperate to view again that has no sign of release on the DVD format but these guys have welcomingly risen above the anal attitude of us DVD obsessed to keep trawling for the finest in cinema obscura no matter what the format - commendable all round!
It's not only the obvious love for the genre that impresses with the contributors of 'Is It…Uncut?' but also their respectable knowledge of the genre as well as their attention to detail with each individual release (well I just wouldn't find the time or energy to keep an eye out for those elusive missing frames from variant prints like many folk do!) it's all lovely stuff and excellent reading with still my only minor gripe being that often full storylines are given (which can ruin some films finales if you've never seen them before and are hoping to do so at some point).
The first issue of 'Is It Uncut' Special Edition is a veritable A to Z of genre goodness, from Nacho Cerda's grizzly 'Aftermath' to the legendary 'Zombie Flesh Eaters' (with missing delights like the alluring exploitation gem 'Wrong Way' along the way) with not only full critiques of the films themselves but details of variant prints and availability on video and DVD across the world.
Likewise, issue two keeps readers informed with everything from recently released stinkers like 'Ax Em' through to trash exploitation like 'Womens Camp 119' along with extensive coverage of fan fave 'Last House on the Left' and even pre-empts Mondo Macabro's welcome release of 'Dangerous Seductress' (which I'm sure the Uncut lads have snapped up for their burgeoning collections).
I could easily wax lyrically about just why 'Is It Uncut?' magazine is an exemplary read and offer many reasons why you should be buying it but trust me…you need these in your collection NOW! If you're reading SGM then you must have the 'Is It Uncut?' Special Editions in your collection - absolutely essential purchases, buy NOW!!
To find out more about 'Is It...Uncut?' and the rest of the Midnight Media line click hereBack