In the margins of a couple of articles recently, I’ve mentioned that was planning to start a new website, Psychotronic Review. But you never know about these things. If I started every website I said I was going to, I would be running about 50 websites right now. But I have indeed started Psychotronic Review, and I think I will continue on with it. Let me explain why.
When I first started Frankly Curious, the idea was explicitly to be a mess: whatever came into my mind. But that idea became worse and worse the better that the site did. Starting at the beginning of 2012, I wrote more and more about politics. And in a way, it became kind of a typical political blog, because most political blogs tend to mix it up. Look at Vox, which is a professional political website (not a blog): it publishes quite a lot about pop culture and science.
Film Needs Its Own Site
But if you look at who reads Frankly Curious, it is a political website. Most of the people who read the site regularly do so because of the politics. And most of the comments are on the political posts. That’s all great. Just the same, for every seven articles I write about politics, I write an article on film, television, and theater. I’ve written a total of 487 articles in that category. And that amounts to almost 6 articles per month. And my single most popular post — Bugs Bunny: Rabbit or Hare? — belongs to that category. So if you removed everything else, Frankly Curious would be a fairly successful film blog.
Now that I know how to transfer all my Google “juice” to a different website, it just makes sense to separate my film writing off to its own website. In addition, I find that I’m more interested in writing about film than I have been. And given that my interest in film is not typical, mainstream film, such a site is likely to attract readers who are interested in it specifically.
What Is Unique About My Film Writing
I do come at the subject differently from most other people. There certainly are a lot of people who are interested in old low budget films. But most of them are following in the tradition of The Fifty Worst Films of All Time. These are people who like to make fun of these film — who think they are bad. It probably is not a coincidence that I’ve started Psychotronic Review only shortly after getting The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film. Unlike the Medveds, Michael Weldon actually likes the films he discusses.
I’ve always felt rather lonely in terms of my interest in the typical psychotronic film. Most people treat them as things that are just good to laugh at. And those who genuinely enjoy the films usually feel as though they must apologize for it. I like the idea of presenting a fulsome appreciation of them. After all, these films are generally thought of as bad not because the people involved were incompetent but rather because the producers didn’t have enough time and money to do things in a more competent manner.
(Imagine if the airplane crash from North by Northwest were in the middle of a Bert I Gordon picture. Oh, how people would mock it! Yet Gordon would have an excuse that Hitchcock did not. There is something chauvinistic about forgiving the errors of the rich and powerful while holding the poor and weak to ridiculously high standards. That is doubtless one of the reasons that I admire even the shoddy efforts by those who really “should know” their places and not be making such films.)
The Psychotronic Review Vision
My intent is to make Psychotronic Review more than just a blog. I want it to be a full-featured website. In the long run, I hope it becomes popular enough to support a forum. The truth is that I’m always looking backwards. But psychotronic films are made all the time. (Don Coscarelli is probably the greatest psychotronic filmmakers working today.) And it would be great if people were talking about that while novels were being optioned and money raised.
But I know that I will get to the point of creating biographies for great psychotronic filmmakers: writers, directors, producers, actors, and whatnot. And I’d like to create a database of psychotronic films with links to where they are available on YouTube or Dailymotion or elsewhere (also Hulu and Netflix and other paid services). In fact, I was thinking of creating something like “On YouTube Now” to go on the sidebar of the blog. It would be a list of 10 films that were currently available to watch for free on YouTube. There are lots of other things I could do too.
This is, after all, the greatest time for people interested in psychotronic films. If it weren’t for YouTube, I never would have been able to see Alabama’s Ghost. Currently, it is only available for sale in VHS format for $18. After that, there’s a copy for $2,459.95. But because of YouTube, I was able to watch it as soon as I learned about it (and write about it almost as quickly). And I hope that Psychotronic Review will make this an even better time for people of this inclination.
Changes to Frankly Curious
As a result of all this, you are going to see some articles disappearing from Frankly Curious. For example, I took the articles Death Bed: the Bed that Eats and Review of Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, and combined them into a single article on Psychotronic Review, Death Bed: The Bed That Eats Review and Analysis. But it doesn’t matter, because if you click on either of those Frankly Curious links, you will be taken to the Psychotronic Review article. Oh, the power of 301 redirects!
In addition to doing this, I will put most of my new film writing over on Psychotronic Review. I’m not sure if that will include things like my articles about Bugs Bunny, but it will include my writing about art films. (You’ll have to wait for my article defining “psychotronic” to get a better idea of why that is.)
But other than that, I don’t see Frankly Curious changing all that much. I might, however, add a list of the newest articles at Psychotronic Review, so you can see if anything is happening there that you want to check out. Of course, that will just list the blog. And like I said, my plan is for the site to be a lot more than just a blog. But it ought to give you some idea.
Finally, if any of you are interested in writing something for Psychotronic Review, let me know. I hope that readers will write articles highlighting some of their favorite films. I doubt anyone will be interested at first. But I hope that the site gets good enough that people will want to be part of it. That includes having Andrea fix the design of the site. I am aware that it looks like I designed it. But I figured it was best to put something up rather than wait.
Regardless, I hope it all works out and that it is as fun to work on as I expect. If it is, I’m sure people will enjoy using the site.
 I used the modifier “typical” because the definition of psychotronic is unclear. But I think we all know what a “typical psychotronic film” is: a relatively low budget science fiction film from the 1950s. Good examples are Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Plan 9 From Outer Space.
Image is cropped from P020109PS-0339
by Obama White House
. The license says that the image cannot be “manipulated in any way.” I do not think that cropping is included in this — especially given that I cropped President Obama out of it.