By Bret McCormick
“Who are these men and what have they done to cause their names to live forever in infamy? They created some of the most outrageous science fiction and horror flicks ever seen by drive-in theater patrons, home video renters or online streaming viewers. And they did it all in the sun-drenched prairies, swampy forests, crowded urban avenues and under the big skies of the Lone Star State. What caused these seemingly rational filmmakers to resort to cinematic insanity and vent their unholy imaginings on an unsuspecting public? Read Bret McCormick’s TEXAS SCHLOCK, then decide for yourself.”
The above is a direct excerpt from Texas Schlock. In fact, it’s a blurb directly from the back cover. Ordinarily I’m not one to borrow quotes from assigned reviews but in this instance, I think the circumstance called for it. How does one adequately surmise such a unique collection of eccentricities and oddities? You could call it an anthology. One could label it a syllabus. Yet the best way to sum up Bret McCormick’s ambitious endeavor is a celebration of all that is B-rated grandiose from the Lonestar State.
Whether you’re a film buff, exploitation aficionado or just get a good old-fashioned kick out of creepy cinema that doesn’t take itself too seriously, Texas Schlock is a great reference guide. McCormick’s collection is one that is guaranteed to be returned to time and again. Much like the films that are highlighted from within, something can be attained brand new with each reading that was not spotted before. This is brilliant marketing and the author appears to understand his demographic well. Rest assured Texas Schlock is a book that will inspire many a conversation, arguably even more debate but always a book that prompts us, as the audience to explore the cult classic culture even further.
Innovative, enlightening and informative, it takes all of two to three pages for the reader to recognize just how many hours of research, exploration and development must have gone into this project. All of this, I’m confident before the actual writing had begun. Texas Schlock is a real who’s-who in the pioneers of B-rated horror and Sci-Fi. Perhaps most endearing is the fact these trend setters paved the way for future exploitation makers. Suffice to say if not for these risk takers from the Lonestar state, would many of the cult classics we know today exist?
Unapologetic in execution each chapter is designated to directors such as Larry Buchanan, Edgar G. Ulmer, Jim Sullivan, Glen Coburn and even Bret McCormick himself, just to name a few. The design of each edition covers the history of the films created by schlockmeister, a brief synopsis of each project some behind the scenes tidbits while shooting or casting rounded up with a stylistic profile or analysis of the impact and filmmaker interview.
Many of the spotlights zero in on how to make these productions and techniques utilized on a shoestring. Some comedic levity is unleashed in anecdote fashion while revisiting the lengths these filmmakers would go to. Spanning from the early 1950’s to current, the reading audience gets a true grasp on the evolution of Texas Schlock. McCormick’s infectious prose beckons the question if future anthologies of this nature will be released for a mass reading audience.
Whether a film buff, bookworm or if you reside somewhere in between Texas Schlock bridges the gap and is a most formidable segue into opening a brand-new media for horror fans of all ages.