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A Chas. Balun Tribute

Source: Dave Parker
December 30, 2009

I first met Chas. in 1987 at a Fantaco Convention in Albany, New York. It was like finding a long lost uncle. I had already known of Chas. from his writing in "Fangoria" and his books "The Connoisseur's Guide to the Contemporary Horror Film" and "The Gore Score." He understood my love of horror films and everything that goes with that more than my parents ever would, and a long friendship started.

When I moved to Los Angeles, Chas. was the first person I called, just to let him know I was here. We talked for a few minutes, I told him I was out here with no job, but was determined to work on movies and learn how it was done. I hung up and not five minutes later, Chas. called back telling me that he had recently talked with director Jeff Burr, and he was in pre-production on a new film and I should give him a call. I did, and got a job working on the film. That film introduced me to people who I've been friends with ever since and got me started. Without Chas., that wouldn't have happened.

Over the years Chas. and I kept in touch over the phone and at conventions and he was always encouraging and supportive. In 1999 when I got the chance to make my first movie, The Dead Hate the Living, I named a character after him, and he graciously gave me a quote for the box. Having a review of it included in "Gore Score 2000" was an honor.

After that movie began a many year process of trying to get a film version of his novella, "Director's Cut," off the ground. We worked really hard to make it happen, Stuart Gordon was interested in producing it, but sadly it never happened for various reasons. It's still a regret that it never got made, and something I would still love to do.

In 2002, Mike Mendez and I made Masters of Horror, a documentary that eventually aired on Showtime, before the actual series of the same name. I championed having Chas. included in the documentary, not only because he was more than knowledgeable about the genre, but more importantly because he was the voice of the fans.

Chas. was the champion of the underdog and the underground. Without his enthusiasm and dedication for Fulci, Deodato, Re-Animator and countless other obscure movies and filmmakers I truly believe we wouldn't be celebrating many of these films and filmmakers the way we do today

Anytime I find myself burned out or beaten down by the filmmaking biz, I pick up a copy of "Deep Red," "Horror Holocaust," "Bled to Death" or any of many his works and am reenergized by his wit and attitude. He was an unselfish cheerleader that always seemed to say, "never let the bastards wear you down."

Luckily for me, and so many others, we have his writings, his artwork, the t-shirts, and the album covers to remember and celebrate this very special man.

I want to thank Shawn Lewis, Jim VanBebber, the many bands, filmmakers, peers and all the fans that have kept Chas.' talent, spirit, and his three cords and the truth mentality alive. I urge you all to write in and share your stories about Chas.

We've lost so many greats in 2009, but for me losing Chas. is the hardest. He was not only one of a kind, a good friend, an amazing artist and a great spirit, but he was also my horror dad.

There will never be another one like Chas. Balun.

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Posted by: Steven Millan on December 30, 2009 at 22:26:50

Very touching memories posted here(from Dave),for Chas. was practically a horror dad to everyone in the genre and it's painful to know that he's now gone. :( :(

Posted by: Jeremiah Kipp on December 31, 2009 at 00:19:52

I never met Chas. Balun but he was always one of those inspiring, irascible heroes in the genre world. Thanks for writing about this champion of the underground. - JK

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