Thursday, December 31, 2009

R.I.P. Chas Balun

Anyone who was around in the late eighties-early nineties and had that lust for blood and guts that only the horror genre could deliver recognizes the importance Chas Balun had for (Me) the young gorehounds reading Fangoria and Gorezone back then. But perhaps more so, all those great books he put out through FantaCo. Deep Red Vol 1 & 2, The Deep Red Horror Handbook, Lucio Fulci: Beyond the Gates, Horror Holocaust etc. Each and every page of those books are filled with honest, respectful, wacky articles, reviews and insight into a genre that otherwise didn’t receive too much serious reporting. Chas coined the words Chunkblower and Gutmuncher and invented the ingenious rating system, where movies not only where reviewed and graded, but also rated by their Violence in the legendary GORESCORE. A system that definitely had me searching out more than one move I’d never have cared about before otherwise.

Balun was also a graphic illustrator and cartoonist, creating many fine pieces for T-shirts, books and comics. The before mentioned books where all fully illustrated by Balun’s artwork, and tonight I’ll be wearing my Rotten Cotton/Chas Balun Zombie t-shirt in tribute to Chas.

When I started my academic research and serious writing back in the early nineties, Chas’ books where invaluable for me as they where among the first to actually spotlight the European Genres, outside the academic sphere. There was no arty farty twisting and questioning to prove a point or line of thought – but instead taken at face value for what they where. Chas just wrote it as it was, from that important learned fan point of view. I can honestly claim that each essay or paper, or thesis I ever wrote and handed in had at least one footnote, quote or reference to the many books and insight of Chas. I don't think that I would have started, or had the balls to start writing about the horror genre if not for Chas Balun.
Chas was 61 years of age when he passed away on December the 18th after loosing his battle with Cancer. Rest in Peace Chas Balun - You where a great champion of the genre, your legacy remains and you will be missed.

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