Welcome to What’s the Buzz, 25YL’s feature where members of our staff provide you with recommendations on a weekly basis. In our internet age, there is so much out there to think about watching, reading, listening to, etc., that it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, filter out the noise, or find those diamonds in the rough. But have no fear! We’re here to help you do that thing I just described with three different metaphors. Each week a rotating cast of writers will offer their recommendations based on things they have discovered. They won’t always be new to the world, but they’ll be new to us, or we hope new to you. This week, Emma Gilbert recommends Cinemas Underbelly on YouTube, Hal Kitchen is listening to “Monster” from Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes, Katie Bienvenue is getting into the sci-fi podcast The Oyster, and Simon McDermott is excited about Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series of films.
Emma: I’ve seen some peculiar movies while cooped up at home 80 percent of the time; especially in the beginning of quarantine, when I was locked up with nothing but the gargantuan archive of Letterboxd and the small amount of streaming services my family and I have. It was only a matter of time before I stumbled upon the existence of horror more extreme than what I thought was possible. Kuso, VG4, Ichi the Killer, ooh la la. While that’s about the extent of what I’ve personally seen thus far, I’m aware of so many more titles, and this is partially thanks to the subject of this segment!
Recently when searching through YouTube for some horror reviews, I discovered Cinemas Underbelly, a fellow with a jaw-droppingly extensive collection of extreme horror DVDs and knickknacks. He goes mostly unseen, identified only as Jonathan Doe, forcing a real focus on the subject matter of his videos, which is exploring and reviewing many of the films in his massive collection.
Seldom using film clips, he mostly rotates his DVD cases around his chosen display surface, his crisp and clean camera work showcasing the many thoughtful designs present in the compartments. He speaks softly and clearly, making his detailing of the brutal media almost calming. Nothing like a nice review of Slaughtered Vomit Dolls to settle in for the night. It’s a simplistic setup, but that’s something I appreciate. As much as I like intricate sets, I also like it when my eyes aren’t trying to process 20-something things at once.
His channel is mostly quick reviews on the many obscure films he possesses, but he also has a handful of interviews with horror icons like Teri McMinn and Michael Berryman, some panel recordings, a couple unboxing videos, and even features some neat giveaways. My favorite of his, though, is his Rarest Items in the Underbelly Collection series. He’s got some fascinating stories to go along with his collection pieces, and I’m excited to hear more! I love when passionate people show off the things they love; it’s incredibly inspiring.
Now, be warned, Mr. Doe censors nothing when it comes to the extremist imagery presented—you’re gonna see blood, guts, death, and boobs. Interested in underground horror or not, there’s no need to push yourself past what you can handle. But if that sounds fine and dandy to you, you’re curious or dabbling in hardcore movies, or you’re a longtime fan, you should definitely give Cinemas Underbelly a look.
Now, with all that said, Cinemas Underbelly isn’t all Jonathan Doe has to offer. He also has a podcast titled Uneasy Terrain Explorers Club, wherein he features many popular underground horror creators. It’s a fairly new venture of his, around three months old, but he’s off to a banging start, already having featured guests like Fred Vogel and Giovanni Lombardo Radice. And more still, he’s the founder of Putrid Productions, wherein he sells merchandise, his photography work, and special releases of some extreme horror films! If you decide to check out his regular channel and like what you see, I highly recommend checking out these other things.
At just over a year old, the channel currently sits at just a little more than 2,000 subscribers. Steadily, he’s picking up traction fast on YouTube, and I’m sure his other ventures aren’t far behind. If you’re itching to explore the furthest reaches of horror, now’s the time to jump on this gem of horror YouTube!