White Noise on Paper: WTF is “The Psychotronic Video Guide”?

That is the question your probably asking, well let Mike clue you in on what that means from his foreword: “There are alphabetical reviews here of more than 3000 features (and select TV shows on video) that are considered Psychotronic. That means horror, science fiction, fantasy and exploitation movies. These are releases that used to be called “B” features and were popular in inner city grindhouses, at drive-ins, and on local late-night TV. These days, you can see many of them at any time of the day on cable TV or whenever you want to on video. It doesn’t matter when or where they were made, whether they’re “good” or not, whether they cost a few thousand dollars or over $100 million. They can be barely released obscurities, acknowledged cult items, or over-hyped and over-merchandised household names. And unlike other movie guides, nothing is omitted because its in bad taste. All of this stuff is out there. You should know about it.” And your gonna know a lot after perusing this book, hell, this giant cinder block! You can throw it at somebody’s head and put them in the hospital, you can use it as a door stop, or throw it through a window. You can read it from beginning to end if, you get to the end before dying of old age or peruse it at your leisure. And if your a fan of crazy films this book is a must have, all joking aside.

I did a few shitty scans to try to show you what your in for if you purchase this book. A fellow cult movie lover told me the first book, “The Psychotronic Film Guide” is the Old Testament and “The Psychotronic Video Guide” is the New Testament. In my opinion, I reviewed the video guide first because its bigger and will give you more bang for your buck, of course most of the movies reviewed in the first book are left out of the video guide. The film guide is a slimmer book but it still is big. This book is how I found out about “Black Devil Doll From Hell”, not the shitty 2000’s remake, but the 1984 shot on video monstrosity, a nasty, mean, dirty abortion of a “movie” that introduced me to the whole “SOV” i.e. “Shot on Video” movie genre thing that opened me to a whole new world of insane good bad. As stated in the foreword the titles are listed alphabetically so if your looking for something you’ll find it fast, each title has the year the movie was released, the director, the screen writer, editor, main actor or actresses, cinematographer, music and the producer, and a small capsule explaining the movie and Weldon’s take on it, Weldon’s short takes are witty and sometimes downright hilarious. I kept a pen by my side to mark movies I might find interesting, Mike will also go into depth about the release details of the “video” and he will talk about “tape”, for you younger noise addicts you won’t know what he means, the good thing is most of the titles talked about in this book are available in some format, that could be the original tape if your looking on ebay, sometimes a download or torrent off certain “uh hmm” sites, a DVD R from an online company that specializes in hard to find movies, and fly by night operators or small film companies releasing this stuff to actual DVD and/or Blu Ray. 

No color pictures kids, it isn’t a “picture book” go elsewhere for that, there is some black and white stills as well as poster art scattered through the book. Of course most of these “guides”, “encyclopedias”, and “reference” books have become obsolete with the advent of the internet and search engines. However I am one of those old codgers that prefers a book that he can flip through, and don’t get me wrong books are still put out but their starting to get few and far between. When there is web sites and blogs listing little known content which pertains to movies, music, books and art, who needs a huge ass book that takes up space? I fucking do and I will continue to prefer physical media to digital media on some server or cloud.  All in all this is something you can leave on the back of your toilet and you will never get bored, just keep a pen handy. I know leafing through this thing I’d happen on an interesting movie and try to commit the name to memory, problem is most of the time I would forget the name and get pissed off. Another cool feature of this book is the grey genre capsules where Michael will explain a genre of a movie and what to look for.

Michael started the “Psychotronic Video” zine in 1980, zines were pretty much physical blogs put to print, made cheaply xeroxed and stapled together. I am gonna review more zines later on. He got the name from the movie “Psychotronic Man” which I will have to track down. Weldon also interviewed various actors, directors and other people in the cult film business for his zine aside from the reviews. He had guest reviewers in his magazine which covered music, other zines and comics. He folded “Psychotronic” in 2006 citing increasing printing costs, and increasingly underhanded behavior from distributors, he said it was impossible to put out a self published zine in the 2000’s, he said it was hard enough in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the heyday of the zine. All in all he released 41 issues, some of which I used to see in Barnes n’ Nobles as a teenager next to the defunct magazine “Film Threat”. I remember buying a copy because when I opened it and started reading it I  was automatically enthralled. In the process of growing up and numerous moves I lost those issues but remembered the name, which is how I found out about the “Psychotronic Video Guide” and the first book, the “Movie Guide”. Michael doesn’t have a web site nor is he interested in writing anymore books, zines or articles, he runs a small shop in Augusta, Georgia named “Psychotronic” that sells posters and collectibles. More power to him, so if your able to get a copy, I will review the first book in the future. I reviewed this one because it is more interesting and fatter. Happy hunting, noise addicts.

There are copies on amazon, as I am writing this, the cheapest one is around 30 bucks, I only paid 20 for mine, not trying to rub it in, well I guess I am kinda rubbing it a little in: