Obsessed with film since 1982*

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about

Loving the Alien

Can you remember where your obsession with movies began? For me, it started when I was six years old. Two events in December 1982, a week apart, defined what was to come. The second was the immersion in the vivid world of Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal. It was a starkly different experience from the first, a story of extraterrestrial trauma, of childhood tears. So many tears. You see, this alien wasn’t phoning home. Oh no, this one had a head that turned into a spider and there wasn't a single schoolkid in sight saving E.T., just a bunch of snowbound blokes in beards and... The Thing onscreen… just kept… changing.

 

I’m kidding, of course. While I loved Spielberg’s second close encounter, I grew to prefer Carpenter’s gruesome shapeshifter because I've always been more attracted to monsters. Further exploration of Henson’s fantasy worlds lead me to even more of them through Labyrinth (with a man who fell to Earth) – a less terrifying but magical experience – that was also the perfect introduction to the ‘changes’ of David Bowie. By the time the ’90s arrived I was hunky dory for VHS stickers and movie lists, where I developed a healthy taste and wider appreciation of film.

 

Some things never change.

Rich Johnson

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Resume

As a D&AD Award Winner – with a background in graphic design and illustration – since 2004, I have lectured and delivered degree-level courses within the creative arts and media, including: graphic design, illustration, film studies and journalism. My first novel, The Enemy's Son (as James Johnson), was released in 2008, followed by a number of independent comics for various anthologies and collections. With a current focus on film, my credits include: Little White LiesThe Digital FixWe Belong Dead, Diabolique, Shots, Network, Rue Morgue and Fangoria along with film commentary and accompanying essays for boutique labels, 101 Films and Second Sight Films. My Devil’s Advocates book on S. Craig Zahler's Bone Tomahawk is due out soon and Studying the Superhero Movie in 2022, both from Auteur Publishing and Liverpool University Press. As well as numerous film courses delivered via Broadway Cinema. You can currently listen to me over at the FILM & PODCAST and Mondo Moviehouse.

Top 10? These go to 11

Night of the Hunter (1955)

Charles Laughton

Harakiri (1962)

Masaki Kobayashi

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Sergio Leone

Jaws (1975)

Steven Spielberg

Blade Runner (1982)

Ridley Scott 

The Thing (1982)

John Carpenter  

The Dark Crystal (1982)

Jim Henson and Frank Oz

This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

Rob Reiner 

Nightcrawler (2014)

Dan Gilroy

Bone Tomahawk (2015)

S. Craig Zahler  

The Red Turtle (2016)

Michaël Dudok de Wit 

 

*A seminal year for film from cult classics to blockbusters: Blade Runner, The Thing, TronE.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Flight of DragonsFirst Blood, The Grey Fox, PoltergeistTootsie, GandhiConan the Barbarian, The Plague Dogs...

 

... and Grease 2.

 

‘I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can’t stop eating peanuts.’ - Orson Welles

film &

A Thematic Journey

Through Cinema

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The Weird World Cinema Podcast

Available on:

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‘Pain is temporary, film is forever!’ - John Milius

writing

Essays, Features & Reviews

Check back regularly for updates. Short reviews and latest additions to the film library can be found over on FILM & INSTAGRAM

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fangoria

 

Hulks and Other Things

October 14, 2021

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101 Films

 

The Boys Next Door (LE)

AssassiNation: Cold-blooded Rebels and the Death of the American Dream

September 6, 2021

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fangoria

 

Year of the Wolf:

A Triptych of Lycanthropy

from 1981

September 1, 2021

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Animation Magazine

​​

‘Satoshi Kon, The Illusionist’: Anime Auteur in the Spotlight

August 30, 2021

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fangoria

 

Beautiful Beast:

An American Werewolf

in London at 40

August 21, 2021

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Second Sight

 

The Babadook (LE)

Born from Wreckage:

Traumatic Origins of a Postmodern Monster

July 26, 2021

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fangoria

 

Hell Can Wait:

Art, Trauma and Other Demons

in Jacob's Ladder

July 06, 2021

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fangoria

 

Strange Frontier:

Near Dark and the Birth of the American Vampire

June 30, 2021

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Second Sight

 

Lake Mungo (LE)

Ghosts of Oz

June 7, 2021

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fangoria

 

Dungeons Deep And Caverns Old

– Revisiting Neil Marshall’s

The Descent

April 30, 2021

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diabolique

 

Jennifer Kent

and The Nightingale:

A Song of Violence

November 10, 2020

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fangoria

 

The Lore and Lure

of Irish Horror

April 01, 2021

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Second Sight

 

Host (LE)

– Revisiting Neil Marshall’s

The Descent

February 22, 2021

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diabolique

 

Crash and Fall:

The Perilous Art

of Walter Molino

December 25, 2020

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diabolique

 

The Truth and Consequence of Serial Killer Movies Part 2: Murder Games

September 14, 2020

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diabolique

 

The Truth and Consequence of Serial Killer Movies Part 1: Morbid Curiosity

September 14, 2020

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We Belong Dead

 

Spotlight on Horror

August 26, 2020

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diabolique

 

The Last Zombie Picture Show

October 21, 2020

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the digital fix

 

Companion Pieces:

Paris, Texas / Lucky

June 26, 2020

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shots

 

Gorilla Tactics:

The Evolution of

Branded Entertainment

June 4, 2020

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fangoria

 

Re-Animation:

Regarding Animated Horror

May 28, 2020

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the digital fix

 

Review:

The Grey Fox

May 28, 2020

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diabolique

 

Weird Westerns Pt. 3:

Lost Worlds and Final Frontiers

May 25, 2020

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shots

 

Tilting at Windmills:

Building Branded Entertainment with Jae Goodman

June 18, 2020

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fangoria

 

Trigger Warnings:

A Headcount History

May 15, 2020

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the digital fix

 

V for Vengeance:

The Impact of

South Korean Cinema

May 15, 2020

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THe digital fix

 

Adventure Time:

Stand by Me

and the Last of The Outsiders

May 1, 2020

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diabolique

 

Why You Need to Watch...

Lake Mungo (2008)

April 25, 2020

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diabolique

 

Why You Need to Watch...

Wer (2014)

April 21, 2020

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fangoria

 

The Z-List:

French Cuisine and Quarantine With 'The Night Eats The World'

April 21, 2020

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diabolique

 

Weird Westerns Pt. 2:

Painting the Town Dead

April 15, 2020

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the digital fix

 

Review:

Primal

April 15, 2020

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fangoria

 

Little Monsters:

Children in Spanish Cinema

April 8, 2020

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diabolique

 

Weird Westerns Pt. 1:

Uncanny Origins

April 8, 2020

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diabolique

 

Perfect Execution:

Film and the Electric Chair

April 6, 2020

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network

 

Chamberlain & Dumas

March 9, 2020

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little white lies

 

How Shock Corridor reflected

the madness of 1960s America

September 2, 2019

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little white lies

 

How the politics of High Noon forged a new path for

the western

September 16, 2019

 

‘Cinema is a mirror by which we often see ourselves.’ - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

testimonials

The things people say...

Rich writes with care and beauty, examining his subjects from unexpected angles and with nothing less than the utmost due diligence. He’s a thoughtful, thorough writer whose passion for cinema is made manifest in every word.

Meredith Borders

Managing Editor

Fangoria

Rich is a rare find — a brilliant writer, a passionate, knowledgeable cineaste and a truly professional and reliable journalist.

Ramin Zahed
Editor in Chief
Animation Magazine

Rich is not only a great bloke, he’s an outside-the-box thinker when it comes to art, a writer of prodigious imagination (have you read his novel?) and a deep reservoir of film lore to boot.

Liam Sharp

Artist & Writer

Marvel / DC Comics

Green Lantern, Batman and Wonder Woman

Rich’s writing brims with insight, intelligence and always makes for interesting reading. His Enthusiasm, passion and film knowledge make him a valuable addition to any writing team.

Hel Harding-Jones

Editor

The Digital Fix

I have Rich to thank for the most thoughtful, thorough profile

I’ve ever read about my approach to our industry and the business we’ve built with that approach. More than a professional perspective or retrospective, when I read Rich’s article I thought to myself, “Yeah, that’s me, that’s us.” Rich has a way of bringing out the humanity in all of his subjects, and working with him was far

more conversation between engaged people than it was

q&a between interviewer and interviewee.

Jae Goodman

CEO

Observatory

Rich has been a recent, welcome addition to the stable of shots freelance writers. His research is in-depth, his communication is great and his enthusiasm for the subject on which he is writing is infectious, which carries through to the finished article.

Danny Edwards

Co-Editor

Shots

I was delighted to have Rich on board for our Spotlight on Horror book. His writing is incisive, intelligent and most entertaining. Hoping this is the start of many projects together.

Eric McNaughton

Publisher

We Belong Dead Magazine

Thanks again for writing such a great article about our weird wee country and its film scene! It’s wonderful to read such thoughtful work about our film history and I think you write beautifully.

Aislin Clarke

Writer/Director

The Devil's Doorway

A lovely piece on Irish horror. Thanks for shining a light!

Kevin Lehane

Writer

Grabbers

Rich’s interview was well written and encapsulated, in concise form,

the many conversations we had about my background and experiences.

He captured, particularly, the early childhood influences from the post-war period in my hometown Vienna that were certainly a big subconscious influence in my work.

 

Otto Rapp

Artist

The Deterioration of Mind Over Matter