Wednesday, February 02, 2011

"Slimetime" by Steve Puchalski

"We sleaze to please" was the motto of Steve Puchalski's late, lamented Slimetime newsletter, which emerged from upstate New York in 1986, enjoyed a brief but memorable three-year run and then collapsed under circumstances too complicated (and strange) to discuss here. Puchalski bounced back a year later with the similar but more substantial Shock Cinema, a magazine he still publishes to this day, but what became of Slimetime? Thanks to the folks at Critical Vision, most of the material from those 27 exciting issues has been packed into an entertaining guidebook guaranteed to sleaze 'n' please new generations of junk film junkies.

A six- to 12-page schlock cinema review 'zine, printed on swamp-green paper and covering all forms of fringe film nastiness, Slimetime came across like a great big middle finger in the face of the sanitized, Reganized sensibilities of the mid-1980s. While some of the crudeness and spontaneity of the newsletter has been lost in the translation, the strong writing still remains; Puchalski's keen observations and sharp wit cut right to the bone in a fast, furious, achingly funny style.

The final summation on BUMMER!: "One vomit scene does not a schlock film make."

How about Jerry Lewis' THE NUTTY PROFESSOR? "Sure, it ain't Kubrick, but an entire nation of snail-eaters can't be all wrong."

Let's not forget GIRLS SCHOOL SCREAMERS: "'s probably more fun than flossing your teeth with razor wire."

And pity the has-been actors appearing in some of these movies, for they have nowhere to hide in the pages of Slimetime (while discussing SATAN'S SADISTS, Puchalski points out that "A beer-bloated Russ Tamblyn...spends most of the movie with a floppy hat pulled down over his face -- probably so the guys at the Welfare Office won't recognize him and cut off his monthly checks." Ouch!

In addition to the reviews (over 400 of them), the publishers have included three well-written, informative essays that originally appeared in the British magazine Shock Xpress, covering biker, blaxploitation and LSD movies. Nicely illustrated with ad mats and rare newspaper clippings, Slimetime -- in book form -- is entertaining enough to be read cover to cover, like a big, 200-page issue of the 'zine itself. It's highly recommended...and certainly more fun than flossing your teeth with razor wire. -- Chris Poggiali

(Fangoria #162, May 1997)

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