It's Only a Movie: Reel Life Adventures of a Film Obsessive
in this area because I had actually heard of Dan O’Bannon (who was now probably best known as the co-writer of Alien ) and was familiar with Romero’s back catalogue, which I had devoured during late nights at the Phoenix. Moreover, I recognised scream-queen Linnea Quigley, who was rapidly becoming a cult star thanks to low-rent slashers like Savage Streets and Silent Night, Deadly Night . In short, I ‘got’ the movie – and therefore I ‘got’ the gig.
    Since my Return review attracted no abusive letters or legal suits and didn’t actively bring the magazine into disrepute, it was considered that I had basically done a good job. A month or so later I was invited to attend a preview screening of Romero’s Day of the Dead (the official sequel to Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead whosethunder Return had sneakily striven to steal) and felt as though I’d been given the keys to the city. Despite the fact that I’d had precious little published I now viewed myself as a fully-fledged film critic, ready to swap pithy cinematic epithets with anyone and everyone. I was sure of my opinions, certain of my judgement, and immutable in my prejudices, both personal and political.
    I thought I was the next Barry Norman-in-waiting.
    In fact, I was a mouthy know-nothing upstart.
    Over the years, very little has changed.
    In the TV Movie of My Life, the Manchester years would be represented by those cod dreamy flashback sequences in which you can’t tell whether what you’re seeing is real or imagined but you’re pretty certain that everyone’s wearing a wig. What I remember most is the sheer intensity of it all – the fact that everything seemed like a matter of life and death. The most emotively fraught battles were in the area of gender politics, with American author Andrea Dworkin’s tub-thumping tome Pornography: Men Possessing Women being required reading for concerned gender warriors everywhere.
    Dworkin hung like a dark shadow over the sexual-political landscape of the eighties, a terrifying voice of doom who explained in thunderous Moses-like tones that everything I’d ever suspected about being a worthless piece of crap was essentially true. If you’ve never read Pornography: Men Possessing Women and you like a good scare then believe me you’re in for a treat – it is one of the most upsetting books ever written, and will leave you wanting to kill either yourself or others. It is ferociously argued and hectoringly delivered – Leon Trotsky was a lightweight compared to Dworkin. Its central thesis (as the title pithily suggests) is that pornography is not only rape but also the perfect expression of man’s wide-ranging subjugation of women over the centuries – a weapon of war, an act of violence, a tool of slavery. Over several hundred incendiary pages, Dworkin conjures a history of prostitution, child abuse, torture, imprisonment and mass murder, and relates – not to say attributes – it all directly to the glossy pages of Hustler magazine and the writings of the Marquis de Sade. By the time she gets to the end of the book she is describing her own soul as having become almost possessed by the demonic presence of porn, and being haunted at night by Gothic apparitions of vile and violent sexuality.
    Substantial credence was lent to Dworkin’s polemic in the early eighties by her association with Linda Lovelace, the former star of the seventies porno-chic blockbuster Deep Throat who had since conducted a dramatic volte-face and become a militant poster girl for the anti-porn lobby. Claiming that her husband/manager Chuck Traynor had beaten, threatened, and otherwise violently coerced her into prostitution and porn, Lovelace published hair-raising accounts of her ordeals which Dworkin was now helping to publicise. Together with fellow campaigner Catharine MacKinnon, Dworkin even took the battle against porn tothe courts, arguing that it violated the civil rights of women, with Lovelace as one of

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