You may not know the name of Mike Diana, but you should. He is an underground comic artist who courted controversy and tackled challenging and provocative subject matter in his self-published series Boiled Angel. His gleefully, graphically grotesque artwork, influenced by comics legends like Bernie Wrightson and Jack Davis, depicted acts of sex and violence and was definitely not for all tastes.
One particular issue of Boiled Angel sold to an undercover police officer in his small Florida town led to Diana being ensnared in an ongoing murder investigation in the town of Gainesville and the first artist unjustly prosecuted and jailed on charges of obscenity. The Kafkaesque turn of events that resulted in Diana being banned during his three-year probation from producing any drawings or writings and becoming a lightning rod for artistic censorship is the subject of The Trial of Mike Diana, a new documentary from cult horror filmmaking legend Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case, Brain Damage). A Kickstarter campaign has been released for the documentary, and you can learn more about it and watch a trailer below.
Rewind This! Directed by Josh Johnson Starring Frank Henenlotter, Drew McWeeny, and Charles Band FilmBuff Release Date: August 27, 2013 Available oniTunes Official Site
Videotapes once played a huge role in my life. I grew up in a family that never had much money to splurge on weekend excursions to the local cinema, except on rare occasions. Therefore, we were reliant on home video to keep us up to date on the most popular movie releases of the day. In the beginning we had to not only rent the videos, but also the VCR to play them, and a neighborhood store called Video Circus carried the early model “top loaders” that were big enough to build the pyramids of Egypt with. For years my younger siblings and I were fixated on certain movies and every time my mother offered to rent us a movie for the weekend, we were always crowing for Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol or The Princess Bride. As I got older, I started to build my own collection of films on tape; my library officially kicked off on Christmas Day 1993 when my late grandmother Betty gifted me Batman Returns, Beetlejuice, and The Rocketeer.
Once I got my first job and suddenly felt the rush of having real money in my pocket for once, I purchased more tapes and even my first VCR, which I picked up dirt cheap at a thrift store. When I was 20, I started working for a Tower Records and Video in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia and took great advantage of an amazing employee discount to build my movie collection into a literal library of cinema. Having a VCR and access to digital cable movie channels precipitated the purchase of blank video tapes that could three to four movies depending on their length and how much storage space was on each tape. Within a few years, I had more movies than I had time to watch them.