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The VideoScope Legacy

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The Phantom of the Movies Has Left the Bijou.25 Years of Genre Thrall, Aesthetic Tabulations & Insider Interviews: Horror, Action, Asian, Cult, Animation, Indies, Exploitation: Author, Film Redactor, Entertainment Journalist, Publication Editor, Industry Historian... John Huff looks back at the career of the great Joe Kane...


Joe Kane: Author, Film Redactor, Entertainment Journalist, Publication Editor, Industry Historian...

The 03 November came with the wakeup news that Joe Kane had died two days previously. “Joe Kane has died.” It didn’t compute. He is such a standby in my routine movie consumption, it didn’t seem possible. Being the impossibly complete reporter that he is, The Phantom of the Movies VideoScope page 5 OBIT ORBIT is the first thing I always turn to in The Phantom’s pulp page portmanteau (The Phantom is always good at giving me a fresh vocabulary word or two in every issue, you may know what portmanteau means, applied to this associative semantic context; I didn’t) - Fall (Autumn) 2020 #115 was already out, a movie-loving friend of mine stateside had sent me a photo of his issue as if to taunt me. So I knew The Phantom had put it to bed. That very phrase hurt. Bad. It meant no more OBIT ORBIT ritual of the famous and barely known, “victims of the Reaper’s furiously swinging scythe” (invariable phrasing) with explanations about their niche of fame on the Big Rock Candy Mountain, all blanketed with the same comforting epitaph, “Fortunately for the rest of us, their accomplishments can be accessed and relived far into the future,” (variably paraphrased.) But now there is no more Phantom to phrase it. And it is the Phantom phrasing I’m going to miss.

So let’s stroll through a few pages of #115 through those Phantom phrased phyla of phantastic reviews: Social Media Madness! The Cleansing Hour (2019) D: Damien LeVeck. Ryan Guzman, Chris Lew Kum Hoi. – Death of a Vlogger (2019) D: Graham Hughes. Graham Hughes, Anna-bell Logan – Ghost Killers vs. Bloody Mary (2018) D: Fabricio Bittar. Dani Calabresa, Leo Lins. Mondo Laslo. American Licorice (2020) D: William Stancik. Joe Zumba, Bennie Rockum.


The Fall (Autumn) 2020 #115 issue of Videoscope.

The Phantom’s Joy of Sets. The Phantom’s Noir Gang: Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema Vol 3Abandoned (1949) D: Joe Newman. Dennis O’Keefe, Gale Storm – The Lady Gambles (1949) D: Michael Gordon. Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Preston – The Sleeping City (1950) D: George Sherman. Richard Conte, Coleen Gray – plus a half dozen more that fit into this shadowed category.

This reverie of reviews is followed by The Best of the Fests wherein Joseph Perry pries open The Arrow Video Frightfest in Glasgow. Then a reverse time warp into hyper politics as Nancy Naglin takes us “Reeling Back into Mr White’s Washington” with Kisses For My President (1964) D: Curtis Bernhardt. Fred MacMurray, Polly Bergan – and Seven Days in May (1964) D: John Frankenheimer. Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and a Möbius political backflip like I’ve never seen before. But then I’ve learned to expect the unexpected from Nancy Naglin. I think she has a box by her desk labelled “unexpected.” Reeling Back has to be a book in formation. You heard it here first.

Next is John Seal’s column They Came From the Basement focusing on Jigsaw (1979) D: Claude Pinoteau. Lino Ventura, Angie Dickenson, “which features what is surely one of Lino’s most grim-visaged morose performances.” Uhhh Ventura never cracked a smile in his whole career so I think maybe just maybe John Seal is trying to tell me something about Jigsaw.

And tucked into a corner, a complete change of pace with Tim Ferrante’s column The Truth From the Booth, Confessions of a Film Projectionist, reminding us there is a world behind the projector window. Where could we go from here? Father – daughter duo Terry and Tiffany Dufoe sharing with Scope readers their interview with Drive-In Hero Jesse Lee Vint! from their internet platform and Drive-In (See links below.)


Tim Ferrante’s column The Truth From the Booth, Confessions of a Film Projectionist, reminds us there is a world behind the projector window.

It’s about this time that I start jumping around. I don’t read VideoScope as much as hopscotch through it. Everything gets read and re-read sooner or later but the mayfly of my consciousness has the flight plan now.

The Phantom’s I Wake Up Streaming, of which I highlight only two of the Phantom’s six YouTube picks - YouTube, by the way should have a candle lit for the Phantom for all the traffic he’s dealt them - here he notes the splendid prints of the rarely seen Seven Thunders (1957) D: Hugo Fregonese. Stephen Boyd, James Robertson Justice in contrast to his real life persona of gentlemanly courtesy as an insidious poisoner and Three Cases of Murder (1955) D: David Eady and voluntarily, Orson Welles. With Welles, Alan Badel where The Phantom advises: “If nothing else, this may be your only chance to watch Orson Welles rumba madly while belting out ‘A Bicycle Built for Two’ during a full-blown Parliamentary production number that tops HAL’s famous rendition of the same tune in 2001.”


Seven Thunders (1957)




Three Cases Of Murder (1955).

Onward to The Phantom’s Doomsday Theater! with Kino-Lorber’s Blu-ray debut of The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) D: Val Guest. Edward Judd, Janet Munro, Leo McKern. The Rest of the West, Ulzana’s Raid (1972) D: Robert Aldrich. Burt Lancaster, Bruce Davison.

On and on. Digital Debuts. Phantom Bookshelf. And on the last page a final catch-all column, Phantom Phlashes taking us to Cult Scoop: “Coming…. in VideoScope #116 WINTER CHILLS EDITION! Genre Maestro Luigi (The Black Cat) Cozzi! Best of the Fright Film Fests! Hammer Horrors! New DVD/BLU-RAY REVIEWS! And….all the usual much, much more.

Including Part 2 of Scott Voisin’s continuing insightful interview with Character King Larry Hankin (Breaking Bad) on his days navigating treacherous waters of Seinfeld and Friends before scoring big on Breaking Bad) and that next chapter in Rob Freese’s deep excavation into The Al Adamson Masterpiece Collection 14-disc set seeing its first ever HD presentation, wherein Freese freeze-frames the whole Al Adamson story, right down to the auteur of gross’s own murder and decomp - - oh you didn’t know about that? Disc 1 (of that mammoth 14 HD disc collection) is straight forensic documentary and viewers are forewarned. Al Adamson in his basement floor is no practical effect. Freese’s piece here in #115 ends with the teaser “That’s not Al, Folks” - - (and I gotta tell ya’, yeah, the Al Adamson article would have been the first thing I went to in VS #116. Like an effing ferret.) Then there’s a little box reminder “Stay in the Digital Know! Subscribe Today to The Phantom of the Movies VideoScope!”


Scott Voisin’s continuing insightful interview with Character King Larry Hankin.

But fellow phans, none of this is going to find life on those wonderful dinosaur pulp pages because the phantasmagory of The Phantom has left the keyboard. What we have here in Fall 2020 #115 is an artifact fit for placing under a glass dome. The last chapter in a 25 year run. But hold on! Huffmeister is being too gleepy and weepy. Nancy Naglin (Phantomess) informs me, “A permanent home for Joe’s writing and the VideoScope archive at an academic institution is in the works. The last 10 years of VideoScope are digitized and will be available as a research tool; plans are underway to digitize previous years’ issues.”

Kane can be concentrically assayed by the talent he attracted. The utmost comet is Nancy Naglin, his partner, wife, co-editor and editorial mate through all seasons cinematic. Author, cinematic analyst, Naglin delves into film past and present, continents away, always with a parabolic threading of the needle that can bring blood with a simultaneous satisfaction of knowing superficiality has been punctured. She is the most tough-minded intellect I know in film criticism, which makes her pairing with Joe Kane all the more stimulating.

But what of the rest of the VideoScope team? Terry & Tiffany Dufoe (peerless peers with the Scope enterprise, operating 24 & 7 with their own platform); I predict they will be a future perennial phan-info source on all things VideoScope, having interviewed and written with VideoScope for twenty years. and

They have to. They’re good reporters and anything that happens with the dispersed VideoScope team will be newsworthy.

Contributing magazine writers undergoing the shock of their lost platform are to be consoled: Tim Ferrante, Rob Freese, David-Elijah Nahmod, Joseph Perry, Paul Risker, Debbie Rochon, Bill Timoney and Scott Voisin plus cover designs by Kevin Hein, Tech Coordinator Tom Barnes and, of course, Spiritual Advisor, “Ro-Man.”

What the hell is “Ro-Man”? you ask. It’s a respectful nod to The Phantom’s roots in appreciation of some of the lowest plankton ever to slither on the genre ocean floor. Robot Monster (1953) sometimes in 3-D but always starring George Nader (as “Roy”) and a monster that’s a piece of crawling carpet with its minion, a man-shaped hominoid in a gorilla suit and a diver’s helmet over its head and a skull peeking out the faceplate. Watch it now. That’s my command (and The Phantom’s). You say, “Huff, (and Phantom, with all due respect,) we don’t have the time.” We say: “NOW!!!” (Music by Elmer Bernstein.) Don’t be lame. Out of respect to The Phantom give this belly crawler a minute or two.


Robot Monster (1953).

You have nothing better to do with your life and it would make The Phantom happy.

The Ro-Man symbol (a circle with cow horns is the best I can describe it, a nod to Robot Monster’s helmet) is divvied out to evaluate films; 4 couldn’t be better all the way down into the pits, 0 – 1. The Phantom was influenced by Robot Monster at a very impressionable age. His odyssey of cinematic discovery is shared in his autobiography Found Footage: How the Astro Zombies Saved My Life and Other Tales of Movie Madness (by Joe Kane, The Phantom of the Movies, available on Amazon.)


Masters of Midnight: Interviews With Cult Auteurs, Vol 1.

Kane’s Masters of Midnight: Interviews With Cult Auteurs, Vol 1, is an aesthetic biography of the most vital auteurs in the history of genre art.

He demonstrates a friendly method, never adversarial, reaching the individuality of each personality. His ability to do this through decades delivers a priceless trove of lore, pure how-to information and biographical detail. The apex of his biographical artistry is, of course, his study of George Romero and the start-up genre The Night of the Living Dead (1968) chronicling the circuitous path of the picture, the corporation which generated it, and the artists who kept working at it until it returned to full copyright ownership and sprang back at us with myriad sequels and a popular series. Kane’s history is priceless with primary interviews and legal skirmishes as bloody as the zombies themselves. It is a must-read for anyone fascinated by franchises and the corporate walking dead. Ironically, the book is OOP and hard to find. Searching used book shelves is the only option but well worth the effort.

Art House Video 100 Must See Videos From Under the RADAR and Around the World (Cult Film Confidential), Vol, 2 by Nancy Naglin is emblematic of what a world class journalist does “in her own write” - - Thank you, John Lennon. (See: You Owe Me an Answer, Salvation Army Tales) Naglin’s talent blooms exponentially in proximity to Kane’s. A loving creative workplace is like that. Especially for writers. Not enough is written or taught about the architecture of a creative environment, living and working with a genius editor.

Cult Film Confidential Vol 3 Art House Video Revisited, again by Nancy Naglin who has been nicknamed The Phantomess for good reason.

Naglin is a world class literati for sure but her best became even better living with Joe Kane. Love is like that. She has shown this humble reviewer solid words of strength in his own valley of shadows but at the same time shared with me that losing the companionship with Joe has left her at a loss for words. She will fight this in the only way she knows. She’ll write. And it will be carbon-arc bright. As she put it: laborare orare: to work is to pray.


The Saga of Six-Finger Pike.

Joe’s prolific scriptorium was not limited to film. The world of bare knuckles 1920s baseball is a tour de force in The Saga of Six-Finger Pike, where John R. Tunis meets David Lynch in the Twilight Zone, a serio-comic lightning paced baseball novel, where rules are made to be broken. The book is a literary curve ball.

Kane's talent was so great and his generosity so bountiful that he provided a safe anchorage for other witers… okay, for the first time I’ve done it here and spoken of him wistfully in past tense and not historical present. But then, The Phantom held firm that we live on through our work didn’t he? He ended every Obit Orbit that way, didn’t he? Does the DuFoe team need any inspiration in this department? Of course not. Or Scott Voisin or Tim Ferrante or the great actress Debbie Rochon (her “ish” #115 interview with World War Z’s author Max Brooks is not to be missed and reminds us Brooks is our pantheon fantasy writer, for his humanistic intellect and scholarly acceptance in the world of think tanks); or Rob Freese’s Drive-In Delirium article that sky palaces may be on the comeback. Who knew a pandemic could give us that? Or on the basement shelf of Universal Horrors that Shout Factory could release in Blu-ray a 4-disc deluxe set with beaucoup extras. None of us would know that unless David-Elijah Nahmod told us. And what about Lisa Petrucci, boss lady of Something Weird Video? This company is in the midst of a transmogrifying as detailed for us by Rob Freese. And don’t forget Viva Video with Jack Henry Robbins on VHYES straight out of Sundance.

And then there are scattered gems. The Phantom encouraged scattered gems. Tim Ferrante covers the Blu-ray debut Trailer Trauma 5: 70s Action Attack compiled by Harry Guerro for Garagehouse Pictures, wherein Ferrante tells us about a dynamite trailer he’s seen. “A superbly edited trailer for French director Eddy Matalon, a textbook example of ‘you-don’t-want-to-miss-this-movie’ creativity,” It’s not Bertolucci but I agree with Tim, straight down the line.


Tim Ferrante tells us about a dynamite trailer he’s seen.
“A superbly edited trailer for French director Eddy Matalon, a textbook
example of ‘you-don’t-want-to-miss-this-movie’ creativity.” - Blackout (1977).

Hey, man, Jim Mitchum stars. This is the kind of loving detail that occurs under the late great Joe Kane’s influence. Tim Ferrante didn’t have to convince Kane to run this story. I can tell you that for sure.

(Full disclosure: I’m privileged to have swapped Percy Helton and Sid Melton riffs with The Phantom.


Sending The Phantom a Percy Helton clip would get a prompt reply: “Ahhh, my Percy Helton fix for the day. Thanks, John.”

[Sid Melton’s death by triceratops in the Lippert Brothers’ Lost Continent, 1951, was unavailable or I’d have put it up] Only one other person alive, whom I love, has the distinction of Sid Melton or Percy Helton appreciation. Sending The Phantom a Percy Helton clip would get a prompt reply: “Ahhh, my Percy Helton fix for the day. Thanks, John.” It made my day.)


The end of VideoScope signifies the end of pulp, the end of anthological world wide reviewing, the end of grindhouse bulletin boards, the end of the reign of Joe Kane, the best genre reviewer the world has ever known.

Okay, I’ve maybe been a little excessive, too emphatic. On second thought, NO! NO I HAVEN’T! The end of VideoScope signifies the end of pulp, the end of anthological world wide reviewing, the end of grindhouse bulletin boards, the end of the reign of Joe Kane, the best genre reviewer the world has ever known. However, his work endures and his legacy continues with those who love cinema.

I want all of you reading this to think about something. If you’ve gotten down this far, you’re worthy of what I’m about to ask you to do. Go to the magazine official website. Look it over. Buy Fall Issue #115. Nancy Naglin told me Joe was in fine form putting this last one together. He didn’t know it was his last one, see? It’s called going out with your boots on. May we all be so lucky. He was at the top of his game, she told me: Assemblage of graphics, ads, narrative surprises that make it a page turner, all the while bolting us to the floorboard with reviews for 80 new films.

The last one: FALL 2020 #115

Payment made to PayPal ( or directly by check or money order made payable to:

Phanmedia, L.L.C.
P. O. Box 216
Ocean Grove NJ 07756

Now check out the back issues page. Notice how almost all the magazine is still available.

Buy as many issues as you can. It’s a 25 year encyclopedia of world film. Sooner or later every culture is represented in VideoScope. Do you know about Iranian feminist horror films? Encyclopedias never grow outdated. This film encyclopedia covers the end of the Twentieth Century and the first fifth of the Twenty-First Century. It subsumes film’s first centennial and the fins, wings and legs of its second century. It spans modalities of nitrate and acetate film, video tape, DVD, Blu-ray, HD, 3D, 4K and streaming. It covers in detail the revolution and devolution of the theatrical experience. It maps the relativization of Hollywood as now being just one production capital among many, many others…

Joe Kane loved print and the pulp that bore it. Stored in a cool, dry, dark chamber, it will still be legible in a hundred years. The genius behind it is gone but his legacy remains. Damn, but I miss him.

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