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Sleazoid Express: A Mind-Twisting Tour Through the Grindhouse Cinema of Times Square [Paperback]

Bill Landis , Michelle Clifford
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 3 2002
Warning: Watch your wallets and stay out of the bathroom!
In a bygone era, when Times Square was crammed with porn shops, gun stores, and drug pushers, disenfranchised moviegoers flocked to the grindhouses along 42nd Street. If the gore epics, women-in-prison films, and shockumentaries showcased within their mildewed walls didn't live up to their outrageous billing, the audience shouted, threw food, and even vandalized the theaters. For dedicated lovers of extreme cinema, buying a movie ticket on the Deuce meant putting your life on the line.
Authors Bill Landis and Michelle Clifford came to know those grindhouses better than anyone else, and although the theaters were gone by the mid-1980s, the films remained. In Sleazoid Express, Landis and Clifford reproduce what no home video can -- the experience of watching an exploitation film in its original fight-for-your-life Deuce setting. Both a travelogue of the infamous grindhouses of yore and a comprehensive overview of the sleaze canon, Sleazoid Express offers detailed reviews of landmark exploitation classics and paints intimate portraits of directors whose notorious creations played the back end of triple bills for years on end. With wit, intelligence, and an unflinching eye, Landis and Clifford offer the definitive document of cinema's most intense and shocking moments as they came to life at a legendary place.

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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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Located on 8th Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets, the Cameo Theater had an enormous marquee that dwarfed the many nearby shoebox theaters, which had names like Show and Tell. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good reference book Dec 21 2013
Verified Purchase
Sleazoid Express is a good reference book that somehow let dangle what occur on the Deuce, then rapidly plugged in movies mostly available on Something Weird Video. It is definitely a "must have" for all 42nd St affectionados & a good start to built interest on the subject.

Sly from Lost on 42nd St.
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I wanted... May 29 2003
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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4.0 out of 5 stars A fun view of our kinky past. May 4 2003
By Lorenzo
I love this book. Sleazoid Express gives you a great look into how exploitation movies were made, but more fun, where they were shown. Landis' detail of the theatres, the various crowds attending each, and the overall feel of the places makes for fun reading.
Another great attribute is that there are descriptions for the more influencial films, telling you what the story is. Does it give the movie away? Well, maybe. But who can't guess how the typical exploitation movie is going to end? It's not like giving away the end of 'The Crying Game' or 'The Sixth Sense' :-)
I originally bought this, as I am a Dyanne Thorne fan, and this was the one book with anything more than a short blurb dedicated to her. There is a chapter on the Ilsa films, as well as some of the coat-tail riders from the period and a good little piece on Jes Franco, Lina Romay and Thorne during the filming of "Ilsa: The Wicked Warden".
The book will also point out lesser known films that are available (mainly through Something Weird video), but don't have the notoriety of others, such as the Ginger films, which appear to be great entries in the tough women line.
This one is a lot of fun, and my favorite book on the subject so far.
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