Stephen Romano’s RETRO 13 – Death Collector


This week I am paying tribute to one of horror’s greatest fallen heroes.

The one. The only. The legendary. Phil Nutman.

Stephen Romano's RETRO 13

Phil was a storyteller and journalist. He was a novelist and critic. He was my good friend. I was proud that he called me a “brother from another mother.” Here was a guy who did pretty much everything in the horror biz—he’d written comics, short stories, and reported back from the frontlines during a crucial defining age of the post-modern horror film—the 1980s and 1990s. He wrote more than a hundred pieces for Fangoria and his exploits have since ascended into legendary. I was heartbroken by his recent death, as were many. But we live on through our lives and our work. To read more about Phil and what he means to me, visit my website. There are many words there.

Meanwhile, this week’s RETRO 13 is a tribute to Death Collector, a bizarre science fiction thriller in which Phil co-starred as a zonked-out mob enforcer.

The movie itself is one weird mammajamma, to be sure. You’ll be lucky to score a halfway decent DVD of the thing these days. But it’s certainly worth seeking out. Phil’s “acting” is a lot of attitude and sneering, as he chews gum and does sadistic things to pretty much everybody in the cast, including fellow “Splatterpunks” John Skipp and Craig Spector. Made on a budget of almost nothing by a dedicated group of go-getters in New Haven, Connecticut, the film is truly an artifact of its day.

The poster you see below was the last of my RETRO 13 pieces to be completed. It was done just two months ago, in honor of a special screening of the film in New Haven, which brought the cast and crew together for the first time in 30 years. What better excuse to give the film the poster it never received? Had Death Collector been properly released in theaters, I bet the key art would have looked something like this. I was going for that mid-to-late Eighties Cherry 3000/Circuitry Man vibe, and I think it mostly works. Phil was never more handsome as a young man, and that’s captured also. Oh, and bowling, too. That’s a big deal in the movie.

As for the reunion screening, it was a sold-out smash, as I understand. The show was curated and hosted by my buddy Joe Fay at the Lyric Hall theater in New Haven, a little hole in the wall that seats just a few hundred people. Like all the best people in the world, Joe is also obsessed with every weird little movie that comes along and a lot of the classics too. He’s done a Vincent Prince retrospective there and a festival of musicals. I think he’s even planning a Gorman Bechard fest at the Lyric Hall soon. If you actually know who Gorman Bechard is, you really need to get some help, man. I mean, seriously . . .

(HINT: He’s the director of the immortal mid-80s Wizard Video classic Psychos in Love.)

Anyway, if you’re ever in New Haven, look up the Lyric Hall. Chances are Joe will be there, slinging some rare and blood-soaked film on the screen.

And nasty old Uncle Phil will be there, too.

Just over your shoulder.


Click here for the full-size image.

Death Collector

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This poster is intended as FAN ART only and is designed to be shared, for free, for anyone who wants to own it for themselves. Download it, share it, spread the horror! And come see me at my website for more fun.



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