Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Bill Landis is dead?
While the rest of us pick up the latest Blue Underground and Code Red DVD releases and watch this sleaze in the comfort of our homes, Bill and his early collaborator Jimmy McDonough (whom he later had a huge falling-out with, unfortunately) sought these films out on 42nd St. in the last decaying pits of perversion where they unspooled for armed and hostile raincoaters and popeyes. In the pre-video era that was the only way to see them and Sleazoid Express was the Variety of 42nd St. You can feel the thrill of discovery on every page. Landis would review the film AND the experience, so if a glue-sniffing masturbator fell out of the balcony it was recorded for posterity.
Not surprisingly he was a weird guy, his tastes were so far out of the mainstream he may as well have been living in another country. I remember at Tim and Karrie League's he was blasting some Charles Manson jams and telling a long complicated story about BLOODSUCKING FREAKS maker Joel Reed, which Bill's New Yorkese stretched into a silly-putty dipthong I'll always remember: Jwaal Reeeed. He made his surroundings as hectic and confusing as his inner world, which was like a Times Square of the mind.
Bill's early death (he was 49) is especially sad because as we get farther and farther away from that glorious time the living memory of it is leaking out of the world, either through death or the slow attrition of brain cells. Bill was its greatest chronicler, so bursting with stories that his fingers could never have typed them all.
I'd like to think that our Weird Wednesday and Terror Tuesday series at the Alamo are as close as we can get to the kind of rude, untamed world of 42nd St. That's my hope anyway. So long, Bill.
Posted by Lars Nilsen at 11:55 AM