Spectacular Optical Book One: KID POWER



260 pgs. | Heavily illustrated in Full Colour

ISBN #: 978-0-9921463-0-6

Spectacular Optical’s inaugural anthology book of essays and interviews, all about the cool and inspiring kids of cult film and television.

OR get the  downloadable PDF Version HERE >>

Listen to the mixtape while reading the book here:

KID POWER! by Kier-La Janisse on Mixcloud


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Product Description


Growing up, did you ever sit in front of a TV, a 16mm school projector or a VCR and come under the hypnotic spell of the tuff, sassy, cool and inspiring kids that you saw on the screen? Perhaps you grinned as Jacob Two-Two stood up to The Hooded Fang, thrilled as Hawk Jones grabbed a small arsenal to take down some gangsters or cringed as a bespectacled Scott Baio got Stoned?

We certainly looked up to many of these pint-sized tots, tweens and teens, and chances are you did too. That’s why we’re devoting the first anthology in the new Spectacular Optical book series, KID POWER!, to this inspiring world of kid cult classics from North America, the UK, Australia and beyond. From the 1940s antics of Curley and his Gang to the overwrought denim-clad melodrama of The ABC Afterschool Special, from the surreal fantasies of The Peanut Butter Solution to the pre-teen bloodsucking dramedy of The Little Vampire, KID POWER! is a heavily-illustrated collection of film writing by a diverse array of some of genre criticism’s most unique voices.

Contributors include author/film producer Zack Carlson (DESTROY ALL MOVIES!! THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO PUNKS ON FILM and THE AMERICAN SCREAM), FANGORIA Magazine Editor-in-Chief Chris Alexander, underground comic legends Rick Trembles (MOTION PICTURE PURGATORY) and Robin Bougie (CINEMA SEWER), Canuxploitation.com’s Paul Corupe, film scholar Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (RAPE REVENGE FILMS: A CRITICAL STUDY) performance artist/pop culture historian Robert Dayton (CANNED HAMM, THE CANADIAN ROMANTIC), film programmers Bret Berg (CineFamily), Jesse Hawthorne Ficks (MiDNiTES FOR MANiACS) and Briony Kidd (Stranger With My Face Horror Film Festival) and writers Owen Williams (EMPIRE) and Cheryl Singleton (FANGORIA) as well as Spectacular Optical Editor-in-Chief Kier-La Janisse (HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN). PLUS! cover and key art by Portland-based illustrator/graphic artist Austin Sellers.


· It’s a Yorkshire Thing: An Interview with David Bradley of KES – by Kier-La Janisse
An in-depth talk with the star of Ken Loach’s beloved British classic

· After-School Shootout: The Lowry Brothers’ HAWK JONES – by Paul Corupe
Paul Corupe interviews the director of the all-kid 80s cop action movie

· Bad Hair Day: Producer Rock Demers on THE PEANUT BUTTER SOLUTION – by Bret Berg
The CineFamily’s Bret Berg talks to the man who prompted a million childhood nightmares

· Curley and his Gang: The Laughably Short Life of Hal Roach’s Second Kid Comedy Crew – by Zack Carlson
Destroy All Movies!! co-author Zack Carlson takes Hal “Little Rascals” Roach to task over his flubbed follow-up

· They Can See In The Dark: An Interview with Richard Nielsen, Writer/Producer of THE LITTLE VAMPIRE – by Cheryl Singleton
A rare conversation with the creator of the strange, short-lived Canadian-German TV series

· Motherless Child: The Power and Poetry of THE UGLY LITTLE BOY – by Chris Alexander
A personal remembrance of coming-of-age with Isaac Asimov’s moving tale, adapted for the small screen with 70s series Classics Dark and Dangerous.

· They Let Me Keep a Crocodile: A Conversation with Stephen Rosenberg, Child Star of 1978′s JACOB TWO-TWO MEETS THE HOODED FANG– by Zack Carlson
Zack Carlson tracks down the star of the DIY Canadian classic adapted from Mordecai Richler’s celebrated kids book.

Robin Bougie interweaves his own history with that of Curtis Hanson’s seedy, streetwise 1986 TV movie.

· Dear Judy: Australian Childhood Mythologized in SEVEN LITTLE AUSTRALIANS – by Briony Kidd
Briony Kidd’s love-letter to the feisty, tragic character at the center of Ethel Turner’s classic 1894 novel, as seen in the 1973 TV miniseries.

· The Dark Side of Disney: An Interview with Directors John Hough and Paul Hough – by Kier-La Janisse
We talk to John Hough – director of The Watcher in the Woods and the Witch Mountain films – and his son, filmmaker Paul Hough, about the implications of making (and watching) children’s entertainment in the 1970s.

· Cosmic Rays and Mind Travel: Anthony Read’s CHOCKY Trilogy – by Owen Williams
Owen Williams looks at Anthony Read’s odd and scary television adaptation of John Wyndham’s final novel, Chocky, and its subsequent sequels.

· Knowing is Half the Battle: An Interview with ABC Afterschool Specials Producer Martin Tahse – by Kier-La Janisse

· A Who’s Who of ABC Afterschool Specials – by Kier-La Janisse
An A-Z of our favourite familiar faces from the series in the 70s and 80s.

· Stinky: Abbott and Costello’s Resident Man-Child – by Robert Dayton
Robert Dayton, the Canadian Romantic himself, asks, “Who is Stinky? And what does he mean?”

· Motion Picture Purgatory: KENNY, THE KID BROTHER (1988) by Rick Trembles
Trembles’ legendary comic-form movie review takes on the half-bodied hero of Claude Gagnon’s unforgettable docu-drama.

· Kids Flicks Are No Laughing Matter – by Jesse Hawthorne Ficks
From Song of the South to Bugsy Malone and Rich Kids, Jesse Ficks looks at the life lessons imparted by classic family films.

· Ann Turner’s CELIA: They Kill Rabbits, Don’t They? by Briony Kidd
Briony Kidd talks to Rebecca Smart, the child star of Ann Turner’s terrifying and genre-defying coming of age film.

· Nicoletta Elmi: Italian Horror’s Imp Ascendentby Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Craig Martin
The most memorable child actress from the heyday of Italian horror films gets a retrospective appreciation from Oz’ most astute and enthusiastic scholars.

Here’s the video we made for our Indiegogo fundraising campaign (which is now over) but it’ll give you a good idea of what to expect in terms of the book’s subject matter!

PRESS COPIES: Promotional copies of our books are available to the press for review. To request a press copy of a Spectacular Optical book, please email bigsmashproductions@gmail.com with the name of your media outlet and its web address, your mailing address and an approximate time when we can expect the review to be published. PDFs are also available.