When did the term ‘second- and fourth-hand’ first start to be coined?
Aussie horror fans have been obsessively researching the term for years, with horror fans using the term as a shorthand for ‘old-school horror’ to describe the type of films that had existed in Australia at the time of the early 1980s.
In his book The Horror Files: A Portrait of the Secondhand Film Scene, historian David Evans explains that the term was first coined by the late horror writer James Laidlaw in 1979.
He used the term to describe films from the early ’80s, when film studios were still very much ‘the business of the day’.
“In his book, Laidlaws describes how in the early days of horror cinema, a couple of big studios were making a couple films a year, and they’d have them in a box, and there’d be a little box on the bottom with a big piece of cardboard, and on top of that was a film camera,” Evans told news.com .au.
“‘And then it would be shot in that box.’ “
“But they’d shoot that in a basement and it wasn’t always the best, it was always the worst.” “
“So in the mid-to-late 80s, it would just get bigger and bigger, and then it’d all come to a head and everybody would start calling it ‘second hand’ and it became a real buzzword.” “
But they’d shoot that in a basement and it wasn’t always the best, it was always the worst.”
“So in the mid-to-late 80s, it would just get bigger and bigger, and then it’d all come to a head and everybody would start calling it ‘second hand’ and it became a real buzzword.”
Evans says Laidaws first film, The Belly of the Beast, came out in 1981.
Evals first experience of secondhand horror came in the late ’70s when he went to see The Twilight Zone with his friend Paul Maclean, who was an amateur filmmaker at the same time.
“It was the first time that I’d ever seen a film that was not shot in a studio,” Evans said.
“We were in a hotel room in the middle of nowhere and Paul MacLean was doing his editing of a film, and I was in my hotel room and I’d just seen the Twilight Zone episode that was coming out, and so I was really struck by the fact that we were all at the hotel in the same place.”
The experience led Evans to become a fan of the series, and by the time he began writing about the subject in the 1990s, he was already an obsessive horror writer.
‘The thing about secondhand films is that they’re cheap, cheap, cheaper than anything else out there’ “The thing that I’m really fascinated by is the way they’re so cheap,” Evans continued.
“[They’re] cheap in the sense that you can get them for less than $30 at a secondhand shop, and you can buy a lot of them for under $100.
The thing is that the things that they cost are actually very cheap.
You can buy the cheapest film camera in the world and a lot cheaper than a second-rate film camera.
In fact, the cheapest camera that you could buy in the 1980s was the Zeiss ZX1, which costs $30,000, which is about $200 less than the $100,000 Zeiss Zeiss M-150.
That’s the kind of camera that I would consider to be the cheapest, and when you get into the fact of the cameras that you’d be buying, they’re very inexpensive, and the thing about it is that you’re getting cheap films, you’re also getting cheap film stock, and that’s the thing that’s really exciting about it.
And then the things about it are just really interesting.
There’s nothing that’s better than seeing a film for the first and second time, and not knowing that it’s the same film that you saw 10 years ago.
It’s a completely different experience, it’s something you don’t get again.”
With Evans’ love for films such as The Binky, The Dead and The House of The Living Dead, he had a keen interest in the subject of second hand film, so when he was approached to write about it, he knew he had to get involved.
“I think there’s this very strange thing that happens in Australia in terms of a whole set of film genres that are basically second- or third- and even fourth-tier,” Evans explained.
He went on to write