R.I.P. Chas Balun

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Darth Tanner
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R.I.P. Chas Balun

Post by Darth Tanner » Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:19 pm

What a crappy way to end the year! When I first heard about this I was hoping it would turn out to be a hoax, but this (along with other things I read) pretty much confirms it:

http://www.fangoria.com/home/news/15-ri ... -2009.html

Geez, that makes three horror icons we lost just in the past month. I remember reading his first "Gore Score" book back in the early 90's and that got me into a lot of the Eurohorror and schlock I still watch to this day. Not to mention Chas was a great contributor to the horror scene and assisted with a few of the great DVD releases I have in my collection. Anyone who is a true fan of horror owes this guy a great debt and the genre certainly won't be the same without him.

R.I.P. Chas....and thanks for everything
"I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the heavens. Although I have taken the form of Gaius Caligula, I am all men as I am no man and so... I am a God." - Malcolm McDowell, CALIGULA

[url=http://www.dvdprofiler.com/mycollection.asp?alias=ctanner5]My DVD collection[/url]

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Post by Chris Slack » Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:32 pm

Holy shit, that is horrible news! Chas was personally responsible for introducing me to the wonderful world of uncut Eurohorror. When I met him for the first time at a Fangoria con in 90 or so he invited me to his house to see some of his memorabilia and hooked me up with a ton of tapes and we have kept in touch ever since. I knew he was battling cancer but I had no idea it was that far along. RIP my friend, thanks for everything.

There have been a lot of passings this year but Bob Wilkins, Forrest J. Ackerman and Chas Balun passing away really hit home as they have all contributed significantly in making me who I am now.
"Regrettable... I was hoping for a colleague, but at least we have
another experimental subject..." -Mesa of Lost Women

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Post by ROBERT » Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:00 pm

I once wrote to Chas in 1994 about not being able to get Deep Red Alert anywhere.I explained I was a long time reader and had virtually everything he wrote(which I still have) even going all the way accross town to a seedy comicbook shop to get one missing issue of Deep Red. All except the Alerts which is why I provided the addresses of two independent bookstores that agreed to stock it for me. What I recieved was unexpected. Both issues of Deep Red Alert 1 and 2 free of charge along with a personal letter thanking me and graciously answering all my annoying fanboy questions. That's why Chas is so great to so many people, he genuinely loved his readers and would always go that extra step for them even without being asked.

R.I.P. Chas, you'll be missed.
"I don't want to be called an "artist." "Acting like an "artist" is synonymous to acting like an asshole."

Asia Argento

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Post by Remo D » Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:08 pm

It would be tempting to blame it on the full moon. Almost exactly one month ago, I woke up to the sad news of the passing of my friend and inspiration Paul Naschy—and I spent that evening pouring out my memories and my feelings on a personal blog. And now, here we are again. It wasn’t the moon’s fault, though—this particular piece of news actually transpired on December 18th, though it’s only reached us now. I speak, of course, of the grievously untimely demise of Chas. Balun—writer, artist, collector, and founder of the late, great DEEP RED Magazine. If any one person could be considered a “professional horror fan,” that would be Chas.
I suppose I became aware of Balun’s distinct and unforgettable approach to horror journalism around the same time most of us did. During the 1980s, I was on a research tear, sinking all of my scroungings on virtually every genre-specialty book and magazine I could get my hands on. FANGORIA was a given, of course, as were the works of John McCarty (SPLATTER MOVIES), Michael Weldon (THE PSYCHOTRONIC ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FILM) and Kim Newman (NIGHTMARE MOVIES), among others. But it should come as no surprise that I took a special delight in such small-press publications as THE CONNOISSEUR’S GUIDE TO THE CONTEMPORARY HORROR FILM and THE GORE SCORE… irreverent, celebratory review compendiums by one Chas. Balun which seemingly took on anything and everything in the “splatter” arena with brash, outspoken humor and colorful language. If the writing was “crude,” it was deliberately so (and thus not to be confused with “sloppy”)—and it proved to be perhaps the single most appropriate way in which to approach and deal with many of the films in question.
Even more importantly, the “splatter” boom of the decade was making itself known in American theatres from coast to coast—back then, heavily cut major studio horror vied for theatre screens with defiant, uncut and unrated gorefests, with a special emphasis on Italian imports. And as nobody held the standards of Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci higher than did Balun, the time was right for him to spin his energy into his own appropriately-named fanzine, DEEP RED.
DEEP RED went where other magazines didn’t—it scoured the world for the most outrageous and extreme cinematic material it had to offer. FANGORIA did a fine job keeping us up to date on what Argento, Fulci, et al were up to, make no mistake—but it was DEEP RED that first clued me in to the existence of Ruggero Deodato’s CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, for example. Only DEEP RED tipped us off to just what unstomachable horrors lurked in the bowels of Germany and Japan, waiting to shock those who thought they’d seen everything. Only DEEP RED went up close and personal to explore the intensity of no-budget, do-it-yourself American splatter. And while Balun’s highly readable and dependable work could also be seen in FANGORIA and GOREZONE, only in DEEP RED would he call it as he saw it with such unfettered comments as “FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD Blows Dead Ghoulies in Hell!” It was also through DEEP RED that I became acquainted with such distinguished contributors as Steve Bissette and Greg Goodsell (another good friend I met through this circle).
Naturally, it was at a Fango convention that I met Chas. for the first time (mid-to-late 1980s). I was still some ways from becoming a published writer—as I mentioned, I was still entrenched in obsessive research and collection. So it was the usual “pleasure to meet you, please sign my copy of HORROR HOLOCAUST, the world needs more people like you” greet and salute at the time. Ah, but I also picked up a copy of his video catalogue. Oh, boy. Remember, this was well before the DVD revolution, long before Anchor Bay existed, long before video companies went to town in order to provide us with virtually every mouth-watering missing scene, alternate version, director’s cut, etc. we’d only been able to read about up till then. No more 7 DOORS OF DEATH—here was the uncut version of THE BEYOND. Here was the uncensored I DRINK YOUR BLOOD. The infamous CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. Scott Spiegel’s INTRUDER in its decidedly non-Paramount version. Rafts of Italian and Japanese horror that had never seen the light of American day. Films you’d never heard of—but which sounded incredible. And always more, more, more. Sorry, but as I said, this was still the 1980s. Call it “gray market,” call it “unethical” (and make no mistake, some people did, indeed, raise hell), but the fact remained that these films were NOT available in American release, and at the time, this was the ONLY way to see them. I dare say I may have provided the entire budget for an entire DEEP RED issue run with the massive orders I made—even Chas. himself was gobsmacked. By then, we had become regular correspondents by phone and by mail—trading tapes, sharing discoveries and just plain laughing it up (how I wish I could do “the voice” for you here… “Yeah, but you gotta check out the Venezuelan videocassette—it’s got three extra nanoseconds at the end of the second reel!”). You guessed it—the coiner of “chunk blower,” the guru of gore, the go-to-guy for all the splatter that mattered… was one hell of a nice guy. Loved animals, too. And he and his wife Pat were always a pleasure to meet… just good folks.
Oh yes, we did meet again. And at that time, I was carrying my portfolio, which was stuffed with notes—and one completed article. This just happened to be the Paul Naschy article which I had just submitted to FANGORIA—response yet unknown. Chas. asked me if it was something I’d like to see published in DEEP RED. I said that I would be more than honored… but common sense kept me from signing it over right then. That, of course, is another story, but I DID go on to contribute a “Naschy 101” article as my first article for DEEP RED. But that wasn’t my most memorable contribution…
To Chas., I was always “Remo D.” I had created and lived with my hook-handed alter ego since 1986, and to my delight, it was a simple matter for me to adapt my writing style to that of DEEP RED and fully indulge my penchant for confrontational comedy with “Hand it to Remo,” my attempt to compile the ultimate list of cinematic hand removals (long before the MANOR was even a gleam in my eye)! Udo Kier himself even signed the hardbound edition (!) of the issue in which I extolled the virtues of FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN… I went off on significantly ‘adult’ material granted a “G” rating back in the day… I answered the question “What do you say to a One-Armed Executioner?...” I received contributions from Jeffrey Combs, Monique Gabrielle, John Skipp and even Clive Barker… but I digress. My point is simply that it was Chas. Balun who made it all possible. And make no mistake—it was HIS combination of humor and horror that inspired me to truly cut loose in character. He was also the one who supplied the fully uncut version of THE FLESH EATERS, and as he sat in (right behind the irreplaceable Uncle Forry) during the screening of our remake, he asked (in that unmistakable voice) “Where are YOU in this?” even as I appeared on screen under a gas mask…
My final contribution to the legacy of Chas. Balun came in the form of a DEEP RED revival published just before HELLBOY came out. I was granted an interview with Guillermo del Toro, which I combined with a deadly serious article on the works of the man I considered the most important contemporary contributor to the genre we love. The compliments I received from Chas. will stay with me as long as I live.
But the man himself also contributed to MY legacy—albeit ironically. Would it surprise you to know that Chas. himself did not care for the films of Paul Naschy? Naturally, it was never a cause for argument—if we all agreed on everything, we’d have nothing to talk about, right? But he was more than willing to accept my commission of a special painting—a rendition of “The Many Faces of Paul Naschy.” The painting was never completed to his complete and total satisfaction—as such, he never signed his name to it. But take my word for it—it was his work. And THAT is the painting that greets you during the opening of my every MANOR installment. He gave that to me along with a previous work—a monster/horror compendium that encompassed everything from the Bride of Frankenstein to Godzilla to the American Werewolf to Argento and Fulci to the Re-Animator himself. He had that painting for sale at a previous convention, but sadly, there were no takers… and it became a gift to Remo D. I had it framed.
I end this year by wishing a respectful “Rest in Peace” to yet another profoundly special friend. If you would like to send condolences to Pat or share any memories of your own, please drop me a line and I’ll make sure it happens.

Shane “Remo D.” Dallmann
My dog's breath smells like peanut butter...

...and I don't even have a dog!

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