on April 14, 2002
...that tries to be everything for everybody.
First of all, I am a huge fan of Weldon's original _Psychtronic Enclyopedia..._, which is why this review is difficult to write. I don't want to give it a bad review, but it is simply a bad video guide.
What made the Encyclopedia so good was that it was comprehensive for a specifc genre--the B-movie. The _Video Guide_, on the other hand, includes many mainstream movies, such as Basic Instinct. Sounds good, doesn't it? Think again.
After a few minutes of looking up movies or just skimming through, you realize that this guide is poorly done. In his reviews, Weldon frequently refers to other movies which are _not_ listed in the guide. It's pretty dang frustrating when the review of Day of the Dead mentions the film Dawn of the Dead, a movie that is not reviewed. Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens a lot.
I don't understand why the author would include so many middle-of-the-road, non-"psychotronic" movie reviews when this guide doesn't even have a decent listing of sci-fi & horror movies.
Finally, this guide has no reliable way of rating the films--the write-ups don't often mention how good or bad the movies are.
I give it (a generous) 3 stars for Weldon's erudite and enjoyably snarky comments on the films. But, if you're interested in an excellent guide to B-films, get a copy of the out-of-print _Psychotronic Encyclopedia_. It's dated (published in the early 1980's, I think), but a much better choice for old scifi/horror/exploitation flicks.
on June 20, 2004
I'll freely admit my admiration for Michael Weldon's work, this book, his previous, and his magazine. Even when I disagree with his assessment, he's always honest and straight-forward.
I read some other reviews complaining about the content, or lack thereof, in this book. I think there's a misundserstanding as to what this is. It is a continuation of Michael's previous book, the Psychotronic Encylcopedia. There may be references in the reviews to movies not listed here, but that's because those movies are listed in the Encyclopedia. The two books have very little common content.
I also read a complaint about inclusion of some mainstream pictures such as Basic Instinct. In defense, I would say that Michael's content covers exploitation films of all genres and budget levels, whether made for $26,000 or $26,000,000.
I also like Michael's editorial inserts in this volume, such as his favorite movies of each decade.
Both books are essential, though admittedly his first covers most of the classics. This volume, thankfully, is not only more up-to-date, but stretches back into the silent era as well.
I say...buy them both.
on August 18, 2001
First, I like this book and will eventually read all of it, but... There are lots of listings for "regular" movies that do not meet the author's own criteria for "Psychotronic." At times, I get the feeling it's in there just because he happened to see it. And, there are some pretty glaring omissions. SSSSSSSS!, Black Sunday, Dementia13 are just a few that could not be located (not necessarily unheard of movies!!!) There are also some errors that indicate some of the films were not fresh in his mind at the time of writing. -Says Stacy Keach turns into a lizard in Up-In-Smoke (it was Nice Dreams) -Says four women on the rotating pedastal in Bloody-Pit-of-Horror, was only two. Lastly, just a brief director index - no other cross-reference of any type - just one big alphabetically sorted presentation. I have had the book for a few days and only read 1/150th of it. So, I find this many obvious issues unfortanate. Still, nothing to really compete with it, so it's a must have for b, horror, sci-fi and cult fans.
on May 17, 2001
Just some warnings: If you are just searching for movie ratings, this is not your book. Weldon occassionally lets you know which movies he absolutely loves or hates, but he usually keeps his overall opinion to himself, choosing instead to describe the movies with neutrality (although frequently in a humourous manner). But it is the best reference book for learning about strange, weird, anti-establishment, etc., movies that usually only get one dismissive line of description in more commercial guides and will have you running back and forth to video stores. But WARNING: this book is a sequel to the Psychotronic Encyclopedia and only overlaps it when new information has come to light about a previously listed movie. So, for example, Psycho 2 and up are listed, but not the original (which is in the "Encyclopedia"). Also, it only covers movies up to approx. 1996. I assume a third book with updates will eventually come out.
on April 18, 2000
I remember ordering this book somewhere round last year and ever since then, I've been transformed from an average movie nerd to a deranged, obsessive fanatic of obscure exploitation flicks. Carefully comiled with the wit and originality of Michael Weldon (head of Psychotronic magazine), it mainly deals with stuff you've never heard of. I guess thats why I love it so much, I've suddenly become obsessed with tracking down drive-in oddities. At the moment, I'm watching Common Law Wife; an old b/w exploitation movie that I ordered from Sinister Cinema. Just finished. This book also gives reviews for dozens of videos from the Something Weird web site; Teenage Gang Debs, A Taste of Blood and The Bloody Brood are just few of their movies I'm eager to see. OK, I guess I sound like a total, raving nutcase now; don't I? Heh heh heh ha ha ha! Oohoohoohoo, ahah! Join me, oh brother of stupidity.
on July 12, 1999
First off, I recommend you get the first volume, the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FILM before getting this VIDEO GUIDE. Though this book is excellent in every way (except for the inclusion of so many action flicks), it is necessary to have both books. VIDEO GUIDE goes into newer films and neglects most of the timeless older flicks that we grew up with. Well, at least most of us, I'm only 15. The odd thing about this book is that it moves from the "outcast" section of a video store to the inner depths of "popular" categories, such as ACTION, COMEDY & DRAMA. So, get the ENCYCLOPEDIA first, then dive right into this excellent book and you will see how much more interesting and grand "psychotronic" films are than your everyday movie.
on August 27, 1999
This massive effort focuses mainly on horror, sci-fi, exploitation, drug, biker and other similar genre films. There are listings to over 3,000 movies/tv series/serials, giving reviews, inside information, cast & crew details. This is the biggest & best book of its kind available today & is a "must have" for anybody who really digs whacked-out movies. However, the author does make some extremely dubious choices for inclusion such as Beverly Hills Cop & Hunt For Red October. These & other films listed, are definately not Psychotronic by the author's own definition, but you have to take the good with the bad here. This is a book that will get hours & hours of repeated use & is definately worth the purchase price.
on July 14, 2002
This is the companion title to the cult film bible (The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film) but with the focus that everything reviewed within is or was available on videotape. It updates the other publication and there's very little, if any, duplication of reviews. I like how they also include some more mainstream releases that have a Psychotronic bent (Silence of the Lambs etc...) which like it or not deserve a place here.
If your movie tastes gravitate to the offbeat, and you want to know whether that 3AM horror movie on TV will be worth setting a tape for, this book will steer you right. As with the companion publication, a must have in every B-Movie fan's library. I eagerly anticipate an updated publication.
on February 11, 2001
From the first time I opened this book three years ago, until the last time I looked at it today, the Psychotronic Video Guide, (and it's big brother, the Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film) by Michael Weldon, has brought so many exceptional movies into my life. I remember my first conquest: after reading a review of "Soul Vengeance," I knew I had to see that film, and when I found it later that year, it was like I'd won the World Series. After that, movies like "Student Confidential," "Nadja," and "City of the Living Dead" came into my life, and it has never been the same. This is THE movie book for fans of horror/cult/odd cinema. There simply is none higher.
on May 24, 2000
The bible of bizarre. A book so entertaining, that in the mold of Ed Naha's "Monsters: Scream To Screen" and "Science Fictionary", a film fan can read it cover-to-cover and seldom get bored. And Weldon covers a far wider and wilder range of films than Ed ever did.
In fact, the only reason I give it 4 stars instead of 5 is that there's a typo every at least few pages; little things, like actors' names. One gets the idea that part of the problem in editing a book like this is finding someone who knows enough about film to find the typos. I could spot them and did, so a minor deduction here.
Great book, though. It'll definitely broaden your horizons.