"I worked side-by-side with Kier-la Janisse in the first incarnation of the Alamo Drafthouse creative team. To this day, I marvel at her depth of understanding and knowledge of the esoteric nooks and crannies of pop culture. If I learned one thing during our time together it is this: when Kier-la Janisse curates ANY program, your life will be far richer if you check it out.”
- Tim League, founder and CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Thanks to everyone who made our campaign successful! Once the campaign closes you can still pre-order the KID POWER book through the Spectacular Optical website, www.spectacularoptical.ca!
And be sure to "like" our Facebook Page to keep up to date on all our future books and book launch screening events!
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 melodrama 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.
My name is Kier-La Janisse, and I’m very excited to be taking on the role of co-editor and publisher for the Spectacular Optical series. I have been a film writer and programmer since 1997. I’ve had two books of my own published by FAB Press (HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN and A VIOLENT PROFESSIONAL: THE FILMS OF LUCIANO ROSSI), as well as many articles in magazines and journals ranging from FANGORIA to INCITE JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL MEDIA, but KID POWER! will be the first book published under my own imprint, the micro-press Spectacular Optical. This inaugural anthology of kid-centric essays and interviews is co-edited with my friend and Managing Editor Paul Corupe, best known as the founder of both the Canadian cult film website Canuxploitation.com and Toronto’s Black Museum horror lecture series.
For KID POWER!, the first in our series of themed cult film writing anthologies, I’m honoured to have the participation of writers from across the globe including 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), 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 myself and Paul rounding out the bunch. It’s gonna be epic!
What We Need & What You Get
We’ve largely completed pre-production work on KID POWER!, which is set to launch at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, Canada (July 17-Aug 5), with a U.S. launch shortly thereafter. To help cover the initial printing costs and get Spectacular Optical off the ground, we’re offering the chance to pre-order the book and help us make it the way we envision it. We know you’ll want the book. But we think you’ll want it sooner rather than later!
The funds raised here will go specifically toward printing costs and artist fees – not only designer fees, but all contributors to the book (with the exception of myself – part of my own contribution) will receive royalties on every copy sold. Part of our goal with Spectacular Optical is to create a small but sustainable business that is able to pay artist fees to the many awesome (and often underpaid) writers and graphic artists working in our field, and to give them books they are proud of.
and Chapter Headings for the KID POWER! book are being created by Portland-based artist Austin Sellers (www.austinmadethis.com). The book will be a stylish, full colour trade
paperback with a matte-coated cover with spot gloss.Check out the cover below:
The full contents of the book are:
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
Paul Corupe interviews the director of the all-kid 80s cop action movie
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
Zack Carlson tracks down the star of the DIY Canadian classic adapted from Mordecai Richler's celebrated kids book.
THE CHILDREN OF TIMES SQUARE – by Robin Bougie
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
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
An A-Z of our favourite familiar faces from the series in the 70s and 80s.
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
From Song of the South to Bugsy Malone and Rich Kids, Jesse Ficks looks at the life lessons imparted by classic family films.
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.
Elmi: Italian Horror's Imp Ascendent –
by 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.
Editions of the book include:
· Regular Edition
· Collector’s Edition (limited to 50, comes with compilation CD)
· Collector’s Set (limited to 25, comes with compilation CD, JACOB TWO-TWO “Child Power” T-shirt and KENNY skateboard deck designed by Jay Shaw (www.kingdomofnonsense.com)
from these pre-sale packages, we also have many additional perks ranging from
movie tickets to original artwork, care of our campaign sponsors Drafthouse Films, Fantastic Fest, The Fantasia International Film Festival, MONDO, Trash Palace, CineFamily, FAB Press, The Black Museum and animator/illustrator Leslie Supnet. Check out the detailed perk levels in the right-hand column!
"Having been fortunate enough to work alongside Kier-La at multiple events, I could not be more convinced that she's one of the most knowledgeable, creative and insightful voices in the world of genre film today. She doesn't just know her shit, she knows how to help other people know her shit, too, in the most entertaining way possible."
This may be the first book I’m publishing under my own imprint, but it’s far from the first project I’ve managed at this scale. I’ve founded and operated film festivals (CineMuerte Film Festival, Vancouver) and independent micro-cinemas (the Blue Sunshine Psychotronic Film Centre, Montreal), and have also coordinated a number of film commission projects and live performances. Even the skills I learned running a fanzine back in the ‘90s have proven useful on this project! But aside from whatever skills, experience and connections we bring to the table (you can read our full bios below), we’ve also been mentored all along the way by the British cult film publisher FAB Press - so we have some good people on our side making sure we don’t fall.
KID POWER! will be published even if we don’t meet our goal—the book is completely written and copy-edited, contracts have been signed, photographs have been sourced and the book is being laid out. We’re well on our way!
This funding challenge not only allows you to pre-order a limited edition copy of KID POWER!, it’s also intended to help make the book as awesome as we know it can be—a heavily-illustrated, full colour edition with a beautiful cover. If we don’t meet our goal, we will still print the book, but it will be in black & white, with less frills. And we’re hoping that our debut can represent the best we have to offer, which will lead to the kind of word of mouth that will allow us to continue Spectacular Optical. Success with selling this first book will go a long way in ensuring a stable foundation for our next book.
Who we are:
Owner and Editor-in-Chief: Kier-La Janisse
Kier-La Janisse is a film programmer for Fantastic Fest and SF Indie, the founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies and Owner/Editor-in-Chief of Spectacular Optical. She has been a programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas, co-founded Montreal microcinema Blue Sunshine, founded the CineMuerte Horror Film Festival in Vancouver (1999-2005) and was the subject of the documentary Celluloid Horror (2005). She has written for Filmmaker, Shindig!, Incite: Journal of Experimental Media, Rue Morgue and Fangoria magazines, has contributed to The Scarecrow Movie Guide (Sasquatch Books, 2004) and Destroy All Movies!! A Complete Guide to Punk on Film (Fantagraphics, 2011), and 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). She is currently working on the book A Song From the Heart Beats the Devil Every Time about children’s programming in the counterculture era.
Editor: Paul Corupe
Since 1999 Paul Corupe has shared his passion for Canada’s film history at Canuxploitation.com, a site recognized as the essential source for uncovering the forgotten films of Canada’s past. He regularly writes about genre film and Canadian cinema in publications including Rue Morgue magazine. and documentaries including Bravo’s On Screen! television series.
Other Ways You Can Help
Just because you can’t contribute financially doesn’t mean you can’t help! It would be a great help just to post a link to our campaign on Facebook, Twitter and/or other social media, and encourage others to share the link too!