The name Bill Landis might not be instantly recognizable to some of us, but for fans of exploitation cinema, he was truly an icon. So it is with much sadness that we pass on the news that Bill suffered a fatal heart attack yesterday.
For those unfamiliar with his work, Landis, who would have turned 50 next year, created the legendary Sleazoid Express, the first magazine to cover exploitation movies. Back in 2002 he and his wife Michelle Clifford (aka his “partner in grime”) published Sleazoid Express: A Mind-Twisting Tour Through the Grindhouse, a definite study of New York City’s grindhouse theatres.
From Booklist’s Mike Tribby’s review of their work: Landis and Clifford revel in old Times Square and the porno shops, dirty-movie theaters, and titty bars it hosted before Disney and its ilk made it safe for squeaky-clean consumerism. Yet, they eschew the Square’s typical denizens for a whole chapter on the Rialto, which featured “the American blood horror genre” more than nudie-cutie flicks; Herschell Gordon Lewis and his magnum opus, Blood Feast, put in honored appearances as well. Though not for every film buff, this book will draw vintage-sleaze fans from both sides of the culture-wars skirmish line.
Landis’ passing truly marks the end of an era. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends.
– Debi Moore