Friday, 21 May 2010


It was 1990 when I first caught sight of Tim & Donna Lucas' VIDEO WATCHDOG. I was in London's Forbidden Planet, killing time before some gig/football match/ film, when I found myself picking up a magazine in the movie section. Three minutes later and I exited FP, clutching the very first issue Of VIDEO WATCHDOG. I recall settling down in one of London's watering holes, and read this debut issue from cover to cover, enthralled by Tim's article on a Spanish filmmaker named Jess Franco. I'd previously viewed 3-gen boots of the likes of VENUS IN FURS and SUCCUBUS, and promised myself I'd devote more time to Franco's wonderfully perverse world.

Although I never got round to becoming a VW subscriber, I began to collect this magazine on a regular basis, obtaining copies from various UK stores and specialist indie retailers.
From VHS to Laserdisc, from DVD to Blu-ray, from monochrome to full colour issues. It's been one hell of a ride and still is. Tim and his wonderfully gifted band of reviewers offer informative and entertaining reviews and features, which are graced by Donna's layout and design expertise.

Along the way, we've enjoyed special editions, a VW book and Tim & Donna's Mario Bava tome, "All The Colours Of The Dark". This is simply the finest book on film I've ever read (it's much more than a study of the great man), and I'm proud to see my name included amongst its patrons.
While every single issue has much to enthuse over, like anyone else I have my favourites. For me, the following are 10 of my firm favourites.

1/ Issue # 1. Franco and Venezuelan Video.

2/ Issue # 6. The Exorcist special!

3/ Issue # 13. Manhunter and Rampage. We need a loaded spec ed DVD for the latter.

4/ Issue # 19. A marvellous Dracula special.

5/ Issue # 29. Robocop.

6/ Issue # 38. Living Dead Dawn/Night.

7/ Issue # 81. If you doubt the greatness of Ridley Scott's HANNIBAL, you should read this!

8/ Issue # 121. Terrific Renfield article.

9/ Issue # The Wallace Krimis.

10/ Issue # 142. The Prisoner.

For devotees of Fantastic Cinema, VW is not only a publication that increases appreciation of the films we love, but also for discovering new delights.
Tim and his writers share the ability to engage the interest of their audience about films they may have previously dismissed after just one viewing, or maybe even highlight a genre that may have held little interest. It's the way they write about film that seduces their readers into giving movies, books and soundtracks a second (or maybe first) chance.

So, as we await the publication of issue # 157 which marks the 2oth anniversary of VW, we can reflect on the enormous changes that have taken place regarding how we watch films and how we see them.

Let's raise our glasses to Tim & Donna.


  1. This sounds like an absolutely splendid publication, Steve.

    7/ Issue # 81. If you doubt the greatness of Ridley Scott's HANNIBAL, you should read this!

    I'd love to read that one as H. is, IMO, a highly underrated film. The difficulty of adapting a novel as hurdle filled as HANNIBAL was (and having Julianne Moore take over the Starling role) was a huge task, which Ridley accomplished brilliantly.

    Cheers to Tim & Donna, and you for the post. Thanks.

  2. Well said! The first issue I ever got of VIDEO WATCHDOG was the one with BLUE VELVET on the cover and they had a fantastic article examining the deleted scenes in-depth. That's all I needed to get me hooked. Like yourself, I also really enjoyed the issue on MANHUNTER and ROBOCOP. They also did a great job TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME, which, I believe, Tim compared to Mario Bava's work! Another keeper that comes to mind is the "Building a Better DUNE" article, which blew me away when I read it. So many others to mention that I'm forgetting...

  3. Hey there. Cool post. That sounds awesome. I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

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  5. Cheers, Michael. Yes, it's a wonderful read. Grab an issue if you ever see it on newsstands, you'll be hooked. Good to encounter another Hannibal fan.

    Cheers JD. Ah, the Dune special is simply magnificent.

    Cheers, Keith. Good to see you back, mate.