Like anybody else, I do things for fun, but sometimes those fun things sneak up and take over my life. Last year, I did RETRO 13, which was an awesome three-month retrospective of some of my favorite films, celebrated in art and pictures. It started as this beautiful little side hobby, then turned into a weekly column at Dread Central, which was sometimes difficult to keep up with. You know, with all the other shit going on in my life.
This year’s fun hobby came that close to mutating into a similar beast of burden.
Only this time, I kept it fun and personal.
Julia Starchild is an art series/serial novella in just five parts. We won’t be going 13 rounds with this baby because there’s no need to. This series depicts the dramatic and turbulent production history of those awesome “lost” exploitation-in-outer-space fantasy flicks, which of course only I know about because I conjured every one of them out of my own fevered imagination. This is a similar thing to my book Shock Festival, which depicted 101 equally awesome “lost” films and chronicled the life and times of the people who made them. You might even say Julia Starchild is a sort of sequel to Shock Festival, in which astute and constant readers may even get a glimpse of a few familiar faces from my alternate universe of Grindhouse film history. But the story behind Julia’s tale is a little different, folks. It is darker and more personal in tone, depicting a journey through hell, with the promise of redemption always just out of reach. It is a statement about abuse and denial, death and rebirth. It is a story about picking oneself up and completing important journeys. This is also my first new original work of fiction to see the world since I was nearly killed in a terrible accident nearly 2 years ago. (METRO was released last year but was initially written many years prior.) I am proud and happy to offer Julia here for free. And I hope you enjoy the journey.
Some will wonder why I have done this, and there are many reasons. I could tell you I just like painting Julia Lyndon, who has been my favorite Playboy playmate since 1977 and remains a stunningly beautiful muse. I could tell you that there are many truths I have to share, and because Exploitation Films are often my life’s blood, this is the method through which I choose to share them this month. I could tell you my tortured brain processes a lot of adverse circumstances and complicated ideals in very odd ways. All of those things would be true. But there is another reason I am doing this and offering it to you, constant reader, for free.
Well, it’s a way of saying thanks. A way of saying I’m still here. A way of saying I’m still an artist, and I do this not because it’s what I do for a living, but because it’s what I love, and cannot live without. I had no idea when I sat down to write Julia’s story what direction I would fly in. I just did it. I just brought her out of nowhere. I found another universe, not unlike our own, filled with horrifying truth. And great triumph.
So let’s take a ride together, into the heart of darkness.
Where only a single light shines.
A light named Julia.
Oh, yeah . . . and it happens to be my mother’s birthday today, too. Obviously, this is all dedicated to her.
Love You and I live On . . . we all do . . . happy birthday.