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Book Review

Book Cover

Found Footage
How the Astro-Zombies Saved My Life and Other Tales of Movie Madness


Author: Joe Kane
Publisher: PhanMedia, L.L.C.

220 pages
RRP: £7.99, US $10.99
ISBN: 978 1 71873 159 2
Publication Date: 04 May 2018

Joe Kane has been viewing and reviewing movies since he learned to walk and this page turner details how he walked and commuted the whole of NYC to see every kind of movie known. As his territoriality expanded so did his affection for every genre: horror, sci-fi, Asian, cult, animation, indies, exploitation, studio classics and lost artefacts hardly ever seen in the arc light of a projector. His love for film, all forms, tempered him into being one of the most encyclopedic movie experts in the world. Not just USA or UK but the whole planet.

No less a samurai cinephile than the great director, Joe Dante says, “…at times I thought I was reading about my own life!” This reviewer felt the same way, such is the commonality of Kane’s pathfinding in the forest of screens. He is a guide, a Ramar if you please, for millions of watchers whose personal passion for the entirety of screen art, palace to grindhouse, TV to test pattern, seemed to be ours and ours alone. We were not alone, the kid who grew up to be The Phantom of the Movies was there too.

Dante again: “If you’re a media-soaked baby boomer like myself, you’ll love immersing yourself in Found Footage… funny, insightful, fiercely personal… a trip down memory lane littered with Saturday matinees and now obscure TV shows” (like Ramar of the Jungle, 1953-4, starring Jon Hall, many tree rings beyond his top billing in John Ford’s classic, The Hurricane in 1937).

For Zoomers, Millennials and sacral-serious Gen-Xers wary of visiting a woolly mammoth graveyard - no pun intended, then again, maybe very intentional, Darren Rea, Honcho-in-Chief of, I think you chose your internet cognomen with sagacious judgement - the wealth of knowledge in Kane’s Found Footage sets a context for the reporter who tells us what has been released this week. It’s an essential book for the movie-phile who thinks they are all alone.

Be assured, The Phantom was there before you and is there with you now. He has an uncanny sense of what’s available on YouTube, streaming or new presses for DVDs and Blu-rays as well as their pedigree from ancient days of video and celluloid before tape. He knows the masters and moguls, stars and character actors, the directors, the producers and their individual odysseys of aspiration. Odysseys of movie making aspiration never go out of date, they merely orbit the same ellipses with new people at the helm. It never gets too old to be the same but different. This is the importance of context and Joe Kane is the king of cinematic context.

Kane’s scribal dossier includes The New York Times, National Lampoon, High Times, Maxim, The Village Voice and as The Phantom of the Movies, is founder, with Nancy Naglin, of Videoscope. To writers in the audience, his prose is a lesson in style, punchy, picturesque and effortlessly to the point. His dedication for what he does and how he does it is contagious. This book is a diary for insight into the inception of one of the great film journalists of our time.


John Huff

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