|Keywords: Cult film, horror video
Title: Eyeball Compendium
Author: Stephen Thrower
Publisher: FAB Press
Reviewer: James Marriott
Hot on the heels of the FAB Compendium, reviewed elsewhere on this site, comes this collection of high points from Eyeball magazine. Eyeball was probably my favourite film magazine during its erratic run: during a recent house move they were the only film magazines I took out of storage. Nowhere else would you be likely to find references to Foucault, Fellini and Fulci on the same page, the magazine marrying a love of exploitation and art cinema that probably alienated many readers. Not that editor Stephen Thrower - an ex-member of Coil, and currently half of Cyclobe - appeared to care: running three pieces on Andrzej Zulawski, director of the mind-reaming Possession, in three consecutive issues demonstrated that the magazine's obsessions weren't about to be compromised by issues of popularity or accessibility.
The book contains pretty much all the material from the magazines, save for Fulci and Argento-related essays that have found their way into other FAB books, and also comes with a few new pieces, notably an interview with Gaspar Noe (Seul Contre Tous, Irreversible) and a handful of Stephen Thrower's reviews from Delirium magazine and Shock Xpress. The accent is on the European and fairly marginal - it's not that easy to see the films of Pupi Avati or Juraj Herz in the UK, after all - and the writing tends towards a more academic tone than you'd find in most other genre magazines, but if you expect more from fan writing than slavish drooling over some Italian gut-munching zombie epic, this will probably come as a welcome change. Actually, given that Thrower has written an entire book on Lucio Fulci (a mystifying obsession to my mind), maybe that's not such a good example …
As with the FAB Compendium, it's handy to have the content of the magazines in book form - it'll last longer, for a start - but I have to say that I prefer the look of the original magazines, not least because of the impeccably designed covers. I also preferred the mixture of interviews, features and reviews in the magazines themselves, something lost in the book as it lumps all the interviews etc together. And it's sad that this should be the swan song for the magazine - I'd far rather have seen another issue of all-new material. Maybe the editor can be coerced into doing an Eyeball book every few years or so, although given the speed psychosis he tells us accompanied some of the original run, it might not be an area he's keen to go back to.
Still, given that the publication of this book probably means that the magazines themselves won't be reprinted again, if you haven't seen Eyeball before, like intelligent film writing and see no reason why you can't like Performance, Tenebrae and Don't Go in the House, it's an essential item.
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