I first heard of Andy Milligan in the early eighties. It was from a small press magazine called Demonique or some such thing. It was there that I also learned of a film entitled LEMORA, but more of that another time. The films of Andy sounded too bizarre and back then there was no way I was going to get to see any of them. I looked with my limited access in the wilds of Kalamazoo Michigan, to no avail. As the years went on I read a few more things concerning Mr. Milligan, but it wouldn't be until the new millineum when I would first be exposed to his work. I ordered a VHS of THE RATS ARE COMING, THE WEREWOLVES ARE HERE! and from that point on I was hooked. This low budget spectacle was grindhouse extrodinaire. I couldn't get enough of it. Later I would pick up the Something Weird Milligan double feature of THE GHASTLY ONES and SEEDS OF SIN. I have watched every second of that disc repeatedly. In the disc was a little essay and it mentioned the book that I present for your entertainment today. I found a copy at www.oldies.com for a measly three bucks and decided to order it immediately.
Now, I like a good biography. Two of my favorites are; EDIE by Jean Stein and George Plimpton and NIGHTMARE OF ECSTACY:THE LIFE AND ART OF EDWARD D. WOOD JR. by Rudolph Grey. This book blows them both out of the water. While I like the style of the other two books and the way they use personal recollections of many people to form a cohesive history of their subject, neither of them get as dirty as author Jimmy McDonough does with THE GHASTLY ONE. The book is a time capsule of the off off broadway scene juxtaposed with the ins and outs of exploitation film making and distribution on 42nd Street. The fact that Mr. McDonough uses many quotes from MIlligan and is actually with him at the time of his death, paints a much more intimate portrait of a madman than any other book is able to do. The Andy Warhol book, HOLY TERROR comes close but it's author, Bob Colacello seems more concerned with himself than his subject. HOLY TERROR comes off as way too whiny for me. In THE GHASTLY ONE we are given our subject with no flourishes or retouches. Andy Milligan is laid bare before us and we realize that in spite of his forced medium (you really can't say chosen it just doesn't play out that way) he manages to make films that are still discussed today. Love him or loathe him, there is no middle ground with Andy Milligan.
www.amazon.com has thirteen copies of this priced at less than 10 bucks plus shipping. www.oldies.com is still selling copies for three bucks. There is no reason in the world that anyone who is serious about film in any form should not own this book. It will be the best and most disturbing thing you will ever read and you'll be glad you did it.
Here's the link to amazon for the book;
Here's the link for Oldies.com;
What are you waiting for? Go and get this book! You can thank me later.