ABOUT CINEPHOBIA RADIO

           CIN-E-PHO-BI-A  (sin-e-fo-bi-a)
           n.

1. An incapacitating fear of seeing.

2. The dark force that through the cathode ray tube drives the compulsion to consume and conform.

3. To stick one's head up one's own arse in a desperate attempt to secure a better view.

4. A radio program hosted by Stuart Feedback Andrews and his gaggle of Cinephobiacs who irresponsibly plunder the cultures of film and television with interviews, reviews, discussions, giveaways and the occasional Gilbert and Sullivan inspired song and dance number.

 

            A HISTORY OF CINEPHOBIA RADIO


            By Stuart F. Andrews

 

Deep in the mists of time, in the golden age of 1993, I encountered a fella named Scott McLaren in my screenwriting class at York University in Toronto. He was the host of a weekly film show at CHRY 105.5 FM that was (and still is) York University’s college radio station (I believe the show was called POV). He’d recently interviewed a then unknown Quentin Tarantino following the Canadian premiere of Reservoir Dogs at the Toronto International Film Festival (then known as the Festival of Festivals, now known simply as Tiff.) I was so taken with that movie and so utterly amazed that a classmate of mine was getting such great interviews (he'd also interviewed the likes of Abel Ferrara and Spike Lee around the same time) that I hounded and harangued him for a shot at contributing to his show. He eventually relented and issued me a pretty phenomenal first assignment: a face to face with Italian horror legend Dario Argento who was in town for the premiere of his latest film Trauma at the Midnight Madness program at Tiff.

 

I’ll never forget that enounter. First, there was the anxious ride in the elevator up to his floor at the Sutton Place, then the long walk down the dimly lit corridor. Next, the dull, ominous thuds on his hotel room door and then the sudden appearance of his characteristically macabre visage, beckoning me through his door into darkness for God only knows what manner of black gloved torment he had in store. So there I sat, a delicious young malchick, locked on the two evil eyes of one of my all time favorite horror heroes and armed with a battery of questions plucked ever so cleverly from my Mast & Cohen film theory textbook (an archaic tome designed to decimate the budding enthusiasm of wide-eyed film lovers the world over.) Only problem was - he couldn’t understand a bloody word I said!  Not a smidgeon. I suppose the weird admixture of my Liverpudlian and North American accent proved too great a test for his limited grasp of the English language. But what’s even worse, I couldn’t decipher a frigging word he said in return! And it wasn’t so much his confusion as to what I was actually saying but he has a very unusual, stream of consciousness logic that is often as abstract and dreamlike as his films. I have since come to greatly admire this aspect of the man but at the time, I felt like the reluctant star of Enemy Mine: The Musical, half expecting someone to burst out of the closet at any minute to tell me it was all but a cruel (yet hilarious) joke. Nevertheless, I somehow survived the process intact and thanks to a masochistic streak that proliferates to this day, I continued to dabble in these ill-advised, radio misadventures.

 

In 1995, I suggested to Scott that we change the relatively forgettable name of the show to the (at least it was from my estimation) edgier sounding Cinema-Phobia. He argued that Cinephobia sounded better. He was right. (Incidentally, there’s a film review site from Australia called Cinephobia that launched in 1997 that has no connection whatsoever with this site. I’m sure they had no idea about our show when they launched their site and I assure you, we didn’t steal the name from them either!)  So Cinephobia reigned on CHRY until 1997 when Scott and I parted ways and left the station.

 

            In all honesty, the show had very few listeners (if any) and as such, we got away with absolute near-murder. As a couple of pathologically irreverent anti-journalists, we excelled at the art of ‘drunken interviews’ and devised a very workable ‘good cop / bad cop’ routine designed to traumatize ignoble hacks we deemed unworthy of practicing the sacred art of cinema. It worked something like this: I’d hit them with a ridiculously obtuse question like, “Where do you stand on the endless debate surrounding ‘non-diegetic, external synchronous sound’ versus ‘extra-diegetic, internal non-synchronous sound?’” And while they were trying to process that gobbledeegook, Scott would quickly follow up with, “If you were an anal suppository, whose asshole would you liked to be shoved inside of?”  (This is all very true by the way. It’s hard to imagine we pulled these manoeuvers but such is the wonderful, undeserved arrogance of youth. Oh, how I miss it!)  In those days, it wasn’t uncommon following an interview for neophyte directors to chase after us down the hallway to beg for mercy.

 

All nonsense aside however, we took the interviews very seriously. At one point, we developed an absurdly strict method of writing down the ten most obvious questions for whatever filmmakers we were scheduled to interview. Then we’d force ourselves to discard the list entirely, asking only what we could come up with beyond that initial ten. This was a very difficult and ambitious approach that (mercifully) I abandoned a long time ago.

 

But we had a good run while it lasted and scored interviews with internationally renowned cinematic craftsmen (and craftswomen) like Peter Jackson (Heavenly Creatures), Roger Avery (Killing Zoe), Jennifer Lynch (Boxing Helena), Shekar Kapur (Bandit Queen), Nick Broomfield (Tracking Down Maggie), Shinya Tsukamoto (Tokyo Fist), actor Peter Weller (Mighty Aphrodite), film scholar David Bordwell (The Cinema of Eisenstein) and perhaps our greatest conquest, the infamous Alan Smithee, the anti-auteur responsible for such under appreciated treasures as The Birds 2: Land’s End and the amazing Cheech Marin vehicle The Shrimp on the Barbie.

 

Fast forward to the fall of 2003, with the hijinx at CHRY all but a distant memory, and I found myself struck with the self immolating desire to dabble in the perverse arts of radio once again. So I popped down to CKLN 88.1 FM, Toronto's underground radio station based out of Ryerson University, and managed to convince Melissa Brizuela (co-host of CKLN’s weekly film show) to let me contribute interviews on her program. The show was Frameline hosted by Toronto film journalist Barbara Goslawski. It had been on the air since the late 80's and was previously hosted by such local luminaries as gay art-porn icon Bruce LaBruce (The Raspberry Reich) and screenwriter and film journalist Cameron Bailey (now co-director of the Toronto International Film Festival). Respecting the tradition and reputation of the show, the approach I took was considerably calmer than the one we enjoyed at CHRY but the year and a half I spent on Frameline produced a handful of memorable encounters with the likes Lloyd Kaufman (Poultrygeist), Don Coscarelli (Bubba Ho-Tep) and writer Joel Bakan (The Corporation).

 

 In January 2005, almost ten years since Cinephobia first invaded the Toronto airwaves, I left Frameline to launch a retooled version of Cinephobia on CKLN. It was around this time that I got a call from Rodrigo Gudiño, the publisher of Rue Morgue Magazine, who asked if I was interested in contributing spoken word segments to their podcast, Rue Morgue Radio. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance and I’ve contributed to the show ever since. (We recently picked up a Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award for Best Horror Audio Site for 2008.)

 

The second incarnation of Cinephobia ran for four years on CKLN with weekly interviews, reviews and - as I was fond of saying at the end of each show – a variety of topics often plucked out of thin air in a mad, desperate panic at the last possible minute. Regular contributors included Tim May (CKLN’s program director), Toronto film critic (and my former Caustic Critic combatant on Rue Morgue Radio) Chris Alexander, Michael Felsher from Red Shirt Pictures (the fella behind a ton of DVD reissue special features including The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hellraiser and most recently, Night of the Creeps), Kayvon ‘Superfan’ Zahedi (Canada’s most infamous celebrity stalker and the star of KayvonTV.Com) and in 2007, veteran Toronto experimental filmmaker John Porter (The King of Super 8) joined the fold to deliver his monthly Porter Report to shed light on some of Toronto’s more under represented film screenings. The run at CKLN produced some great interviews with the likes of Ken Loach (The Wind that Shakes the Barley), Terence Davies (Of Time and the City), George A. Romero (Land of the Dead), Bob Clark (Black Christmas) H.G. Lewis (Blood Feast), Linda Blair (The Exorcist), Annie Sprinkle (Annie Sprinkle’s Herstory of Porn), Terry Gilliam (Tideland) and perhaps the most notorious demolisher of film critics in the entire world, Dr. Uwe Boll (Postal).

 

In April of 2009, I teamed up with artist and web designer Craig Clark to build what was supposed to be the third incarnation of the show: Cinephobia-Radio.com. This was the third site that Craig and I had worked on together after previously building some very elaborate websites for a couple of useless bands that disintegrated almost immediately after the sites went into effect. We often joked that if we ever wanted to sink an organization, all we had to do was build a website for them. (With this in mind, we still plan to put together ‘fan’ sites for the likes of U2, Celine Dion and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security). But in what was clearly a self fulfilling prophecy, within a week of constructing Cinephobia-Radio.com, the CKLN board of directors imploded, the radio station completely shut down and Cinephobia went off the air once more.

 

After a 7-month hiatus, CKLN eventually opened its doors again and since October 2009, Cinephobia has continued to pollute the Toronto airwaves every Friday afternoon at 2 p.m.. On November 30th, Cinephobia-Radio.com finally hit the weird wide web. The inaugural episode featured an interview with legendary British actor Malcolm McDowell recorded at the 2007 Rue Morgue Festival of Fear. Mr. McDowell, or more specifically the character of Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange, had been the unofficial ‘mascot’ of Cinephobia since 2005 so it was highly appropriate that the first show would start with him.

 

As for the future of Cinephobia Radio, who knows where it will go next? There are numerous plans afoot, a ton of great interviews and tribute shows in the works and a few of the old contributors are coming back (along with some new ones) but the main thing is that Craig and I are determined to break the ‘Feedback-Crow’ curse and fully intend to see one of our websites finally proliferate on the internet! (And plus, I’m not stopping the show until I land an interview with the elusive Quentin Tarantino - which was the whole bloody reason I got into this radio racket to begin with! So come on Tarantino! You can’t duck me forever.)

 

In the meantime, enjoy the show, check back often for new content, subscribe to the podcast, sign up for the newsletter for giveaways and by all means, feel free to spread the word to your friends, family and any random strangers you may happen bump into.

 

            :- Stuart Feedback Andrews

 

            ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

            This show was made possible by the support of CKLN 88.1 FM, Rue Morgue Radio, Suspect Video, Jesse and John Kristensen, Susan Stafford, Nicola Bendrey, Beryl and Stuart Morton, Sam Carboni, Gary Pullin, Rodrigo Gudiño, Luis Ceriz, John Cowdery and last but certainly not least, Craig Clark, the official Cinephobia Minister of Propaganda.

 

To listen to Cinephobia live on CKLN every Friday between 2 and 3 p.m. EST, go to www.ckln.fm