I must admit that I hadn’t heard of Bill Landis before reading this biography from genre writer Preston Fassel.
The sheer amount of detail packed into its 81 pages is quite astounding and this is truly a story like no other. Many will know Landis for his ‘zine Sleazoid Express which gave a voice to the alternative cinema scene of the 1980s. Landis was championing amateur filmmakers way before the likes of Tarantino were talking about the Grindhouse scene.
While Fassel does give Sleazoid Express plenty of attention he has also traced back as comprehensive a history on Landis as is possible. From his abused childhood, writing for Fangoria and being blacklisted by the same publication whilst having a drug problem and becoming an amateur porn star; Landis was a character like no other.
Landis was very much a ghost of multiple scenes, not getting too close to many people within different scenes which makes this book even more of a triumph in how coherent it is when documenting quite an incoherent soul.
A must-read for cinephiles and genre fans alike – seek this out.
Landis: The Story of a Real Man On 42nd Street by Preston Fassel is available from Encyclopocalypse Publications