Headpress was founded in Manchester, England, in 1990 by David Flint, David Kerekes and David Slater in order to release in Great Britain a film by cult German director Jörg Buttgereit. Entitled Der Todesking (which translates as “The DeathKing”), the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) initially considered the film's subject matter to be too controversial for general release. Ultimately however, they deemed it art and granted an 18 certificate.
With revenue generated from video sales of Der Todesking (a limited edition of 500 copies complete with a cheap postcard), Headpress the magazine was set up. Co-founder Kerekes has described the birth of Headpress as follows: ‘As much a reaction to the formulaic mainstream press, as it was to the vacuum created by the glut of horror film fanzines in the wake of the "video nasties" furore’. With this in mind, the founders encouraged contributors to write about anything they wanted.
Headpress began book publishing in 1992 with a collection of comic strips entitled Killer Komix. This was followed in 1995 by Critical Vision, a collection of new essays and updated articles from early out-of-print editions of Headpress magazine. Headpress as of the late 2000s has published over fifty titles, although of the three founding members, only Kerekes remains. For a full list of titles click here.
In late 2005 Headpress relocated from Manchester to London, finding its spiritual grounding in the form of Caleb Selah, the Headpress service engineer and subject of several ribald adventures documented by Kerekes. Some of these adventures featured in Headpress 27 and 28.
In 2008, Headpress began working closely with John Sinclair, the Detroit poet, one-time manager of the band MC5, and leader of the White Panther Party (a militantly anti-racist countercultural group of white Socialists seeking to assist the Black Panthers in the Civil Rights movement).
In 2009, Headpress announced that it would publish in 2010 Blood In Blood Out: The Violent Empire Of The Aryan Brotherhood by John Lee Brook, and Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, an investigative memoir by Robert Rosen.
The first in a series of films was released in 2010 under the collective banner of Headpress TV. These short films comprise interviews with some of the Headpress authors and artists over the years, as well as many of the subjects featured in the books and Headpress anthologies, including cult filmmaker Roger Watkins (pictured below). Headpress TV is an ongoing project, made in collaboration with Shashmedia.
Keep watching the skies. And your shoes.