And with those immor­tal words from the run-out groove of Kiss’ Destroyer album, it begins.

Yeah, I know.  Another review blog… but may­be, just may­be, I can offer you some­thing more.  Between the reviews, lists and essays, I hope to bring you into an aes­thet­ic where the con­cept of “schlock” is allowed to play a val­ued role instead of lurk­ing in the shad­ows.

But first, we must rede­fine the term.  For longer than you or I can remem­ber, the word “schlock” has been an epi­thet – a nasty term that refers to goods of the low­est, shod­di­est qual­i­ty.  Such “schlock” is cranked out quick­ly, on the cheap and aimed square­ly at the low­est com­mon denom­i­na­tor.

The time has come for that def­i­n­i­tion to be laid to rest.

There is no shame in lov­ing blax­ploita­tion epics, vin­tage Kiss albums or “paper­back orig­i­nal” hor­ror nov­els as much as (or even more than) the clas­sics cho­sen for us by the crit­i­cal intel­li­gen­cia.  More impor­tant­ly, you’re not igno­rant, slum­ming or being per­verse if you har­bor such sen­ti­ments.

Before I go any fur­ther, let me assure you that I am not an extrem­ist.  I enjoy art-house films and Rolling Stone’s Top 100 albums as much as my beloved schlock.  This blog is not an attempt to dis­miss the con­ven­tion­al stan­dards of worth­while mass-media art.   Instead, it is intend­ed as a sup­ple­ment to what you already know, one that offers an alter­na­tive way to approach what lies out­side the approved crit­i­cal canon.

My moti­va­tion for writ­ing  the reviews and essays con­tained here is my sin­cere belief that one must explore any medi­um in all its forms to tru­ly under­stand it and appre­ci­ate its pos­si­bil­i­ties.  Concepts like “good taste” and “crit­i­cal con­sen­sus” are stum­bling blocks that hold us back from a true under­stand­ing of what is and what can be in art and enter­tain­ment.  These ideas have led me to an aes­thet­ic where every­thing is appre­ci­at­ed and eval­u­at­ed on its own terms.

In this spir­it, Schlockmania has been designed as an open-mind­ed crit­i­cal forum where any­one inter­est­ed can explore the hid­den plea­sures of pop cul­ture that have been for­bid­den by the old-guard arbiters of taste.  At this blog, “schlock” means all the inter­est­ing, lesser-known stuff that isn’t cool or accept­ed as part of the cul­tur­al norm yet remains worth­while in its own quirky, defi­ant way.

Here’s a quick break­down of the blog’s var­i­ous sec­tions and what you can expect from them:

Schlock-Optic:  this will be the heart of the site, with reviews of movies new and old.  Theatrical releas­es, new dvds, old dvds, even stuff that’s only avail­able on cable or VHS.  Made for tele­vi­sion films and t.v. shows are also fair game.  If you can watch it and schlock is involved, you’ll find it here.

Schlock-O-Phonic: this sec­tion will cov­er the musi­cal end of the schlock spec­trum.  Rock & roll will be a main­stay, as it tends to deliv­er the most schlock, but oth­er gen­res will also be includ­ed — dis­co, R&B, sound­tracks, lounge music, etc.  New CD’s, back-cat­a­log stuff, out-of-print mate­ri­al and pre-CD obscu­ri­ties will all be dealt with.

Schlock-U-Ments: print­ed mat­ter of all sorts will be cov­ered in this area.  The main focus will be on books and mag­a­zi­nes that explore schlocky sub­ject mat­ter but nov­els and comic books will also make guest appear­ances.

Schlock-Ephemera: This is the catch-all sec­tion for any­thing that doesn’t fit the oth­er three cat­e­gories.  At this time, I’m think­ing this is the ide­al place for essays, lists and trib­utes.  Site updates will also fall under this head­ing.

Simply put, any medi­um that pro­vides that off­beat, kinet­ic rush of good schlock is fair game, as is any aspect of the expe­ri­ence (vis­cer­al, emo­tion­al, intel­lec­tu­al or psy­cho­log­i­cal).  I’ll do every­thing I can to con­vey the feel­ings and thoughts cre­at­ed by that rush in what you read here – and per­haps this mate­ri­al will open up some new avenues to help you find your own schlock­ma­ni­a­cal obses­sions.

In any event, Schlockmania will be giv­ing your def­i­n­i­tion of taste and your cul­tur­al stan­dards a nice work­out.  I humbly hope you have some fun along the way.  Be hap­py, be free and dig in.