Spectacular Optical #1: KID POWER!

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Nearly a year after the online journal Spectacular Optical went on indefinite hiatus, it’s back in a new form: as a small-press cult film and pop culture book company with a goal to release two to four books a year, with an emphasis on the work of Canadian genre film writers.

Spectacular Optical Book One: KID POWER! will be the first in an ongoing line of themed anthology projects, this time focusing on cult children’s film and TV. Writers were given carte blanche, so long as the film featured a cool or sassy kid – with bonus points for any kid character that was empowered to problem-solve independently. Cover and key art come courtesy of Portland designer/illustrator Austin Sellers, and interior contents range from the strange films of producer Rock Demers (THE PEANUT BUTTER SOLUTION, THE DOG WHO STOPPED THE WAR) to the all-kid cop movie HAWK JONES; British John Wyndham-based sci-fi show CHOCKY; a Who’s-Who of ABC Afterschool Specials; the short-lived 1970s  ‘Wee Pals’ cartoon adaptation KID POWER; Isaac Asimov-based classroom staple THE UGLY LITTLE BOY; half-bodied skateboarding hero Kenny Easterday; the cheapo 1979 adaptation of Mordecai Richler’s JACOB TWO-TWO MEETS THE HOODED FANG; 40s misadventures from CURLY & HIS GANG; Canadian/German sitcom THE LITTLE VAMPIRE; 90s straight-to-video oddity THE LITTLE MARINES and more, more, more!

Spec Op’s online and print output will be edited by Creative Director Kier-La Janisse, with the help of Managing Editor Paul Corupe of Canuxploitation.com, and contributors for Book One: KID POWER!  include Janisse and Corupe along with Bret Berg, Zack Carlson, Chris Alexander, Jacques Boyreau, Cheryl Singleton and more. The book will be full colour throughout, with interviews, essays and rare stills.

 Stay tuned for pre-ordering info!

About the author:

Kier-La Janisse

Kier-La Janisse is a film writer and programmer, founder of Spectacular Optical Publications and The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies. She has been a programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, co-founded Montreal microcinema Blue Sunshine, founded the CineMuerte Horror Film Festival (1999-2005) in Vancouver, was the Festival Director of Monster Fest in Melbourne, Australia and was the subject of the documentary Celluloid Horror (2005). She is the author of A Violent Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi (FAB Press, 2007) and House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films (FAB Press, 2012) and contributed to Destroy All Movies!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film (Fantagraphics, 2011), Recovering 1940s Horror: Traces of a Lost Decade (Lexington, 2014) The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul (University of Toronto Press, 2015) and We Are the Martians: The Legacy of Nigel Kneale (PS Press, 2017). She co-edited (with Paul Corupe) and published the anthology books KID POWER! (2014), Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s (2015), Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin (2017) and Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television (2017). She edited the book Warped & Faded: Weird Wednesday and the Birth of the American Genre Film Archive (forthcoming), and is currently co-authoring (with Amy Searles) the book ‘Unhealthy and Aberrant’: Depictions of Horror Fandom in Film and Television and co-curating (with Clint Enns) an anthology book on the films of Robert Downey, Sr., as well as writing a monograph about Monte Hellman’s Cockfighter. She was a producer on Mike Malloy’s Eurocrime: the Italian Cop and Gangster Films That Ruled the ’70s and Sean Hogan’s We Always Find Ourselves in the Sea and her first film as director/producer, Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror is due out from Severin Films in 2020.

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