Oct 24, 2016

Video Watchdog (1990 - 2016)

Video Watchdog #183
(the last issue, released in spring 2016)
It comes with a heavy heart (though perhaps not a great surprise, unfortunately) to report today's news from their website, that Video Watchdog's print run is being discontinued. Since its debut in 1990, Tim and Donna Lucas' magazine has been an invaluable resource for fantasy film. Tim and his contributors have tirelessly presented the minutiae of the genre, and have summarily won the trust and admiration of not just genre fans, but those who appeared before and behind the camera. Video Watchdog was one of the many independent publications in the desktop publishing boom to offer information and criticism of genre films mainstream and obscure, and one of the few to have continued as the Internet supplanted much of them. We can mourn VW as another victim of changing times, but we can also celebrate that Tim and Donna have given us an immeasurable body of work for nearly three decades. Our hearts go out to the Video Watchdog staff and readers, and wish them all the best with their future endeavours.



Here is the announcement, pasted from Video Watchdog's blog:

With regret, we must announce that—after 27 wonderful years—we are no longer able to publish new print editions of Video Watchdog.

Some of you have been with us since the early days of "desktop publishing," when bookstores carried a wide variety of offbeat publications catering to all kinds of niche readerships. It was an exciting time, one in which Video Watchdog thrived. From the time of our first pre-publication ads in 1989, The Perfectionist's Guide to Fantastic Video has never stopped evolving—growing from 60 to 64 to 80 pages in its black-and-white configuration, blossoming into full-color with issue 100, and introducing interactive digital versions of each issue in 2013. We can confidently state that our most recent issues were among the best we ever published.

Over the last quarter century, we have always depended on newsstand sales, subscriptions, advertising, and—because all of that was still not fully sustaining—side projects in order to continue publishing. We were able to make ends meet so long as all of these facets were working together but, in recent years, it has become a losing battle. There are many reasons for this: the diminishing number of retail outlets, the sad state of print distribution, the easy availability of free information and critical writing via the Internet, and the now-widespread availability on Blu-ray and DVD of so many of the once-obscure titles Video Watchdog was among the first to tell you about. After trying many creative ways to generate sales to compensate for newsstand losses and lack of advertising support, rising shipping and postage costs, and a depressed economy, it is simply no longer possible to keep Video Watchdog moving forward.

Looking back, we take great pride in the fact that, in our time, Video Watchdog was able to present the writing and original art of the genre's most talented writers, artists, and thinkers; that it attracted the attention and respect of so many of the great contemporary masters of cinema (from Scorsese to Del Toro); and that its coverage inspired a number of people to enter the film and video businesses to promote film restoration and preservation from the inside. We are deeply grateful for the contributors and audience that enabled us to sustain our publication for so long.

The coming months will be difficult as we try to figure out what's next for us, and what awaits Video Watchdog and its readership. Please bear with us during this uncertain time, and we will keep you informed of further developments as they become more definitive.

Tim & Donna Lucas