Quentin Tarantino, a man who knows a thing or two about the world of cinema, once called Video Watchdog “the most reliable film magazine in the world.” Since its launch in 1990, the brainchild of editor and publisher Tim Lucas – a noted film journalist and author of original novels (Throat Sprockets) and nonfiction books about cinema (Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark) – and his wife Donna Lucas (who also serves as the magazine’s art director and co-publisher) that began life as a series of print columns and video featurettes for various publications has become one of the best film-related magazines on the market.
Past editions of the magazine have included ongoing review columns from contributors such as filmmaker Joe Dante (The Howling, Gremlins) and British horror novelist Ramsey Campbell (The Count of Eleven), and it has also featured interviews with many of the greatest directors, writers, actors, and other important names in world cinema. In any single issue of Video Watchdog you would also find some of the most detailed analyses of film to be found in print alongside many essential video, music, and book reviews. I’ve used the magazine many times in the past as a guidebook to the true hidden treasures of cinema, but the first issue I ever bought featured an extensive article devoted to dissecting the various cuts of Sam Raimi’s 1992 horror-fantasy-comedy classic Army of Darkness that have been released on television and in theaters around the world over the past two decades. Quite simply, Video Watchdog is that rarest of publications that never produces an issue not worth purchasing.
Tim and Donna are currently mounting a Kickstarter campaign to digitize all 176 issues of Video Watchdog into one massive archive that anyone who owns a smartphone, computer, or tablet can access. They intend to sell individually or as a package deal through iTunes, Google Play, Windows Store, and their own website beginning in October of 2014, and they need our help. Their target fundraising goal to make the digitization of the Watchdog archive is $147,900, but so far they have only managed to raise a little over $25K. With just over three weeks to go until the campaign comes to a close, you can donate anywhere from $5 to fully funding the project and receive special prizes including discounts on the digital editions of Video Watchdog, copies of the full archive on flash drives, a one-year subscription to the print edition of the magazine, a signed and numbered limited edition Watchdog Founder statuette sculpted by Mike Parks of Mad Lab Models based on a design by famed comic book artist and author Stephen R. Bissette, and more.
Part of the money to be raised through the Kickstarter campaign will be used to pay for the creation of an App for Android and Windows 8, but the majority of the funding will go to the costly and painstaking process of scanning, cleaning, and converting each issue of the magazine into digital editions that will include exclusive interactive bonus content not available in the print format. This will include film clips, slideshows, and more available at the touch of a button. Budding filmmakers and artists can use the pages of these digital editions of Video Watchdog to hype their features, music, books, podcasts, etc. at affordable prices.
You can learn more about the campaign and donate here. This is one Kickstarter campaign I can certainly get behind, and if you consider yourself a lover of quality film writing, you should do so as well.