Can I send you my film to review?
Yes. E-mail me and I will send you my postal address. However, please be aware that I am not one of those people who watches a couple of movies every night. I have to fit running this site in between my day-job, my family and any paying freelance work that comes my way so it may take a few months for your film to make it to the top of my To Be Watched pile.
Do you ever turn down films?
Very occasionally. If a film is of a type that I personally dislike (such as extreme, sadistic violence) or of a subgenre about which I know nothing, I may decline because I will be unable to give it a fair review. Also please note that I do not review fanfilms; that is, any film which uses an established property but is not made by the copyright-holder. I did once and lived to regret it.
Can you review my film which is online at...?
Sorry, no. I spend enough time sat in front of my computer as it is. The last thing I want to do is watch films on it, even short ones. Also, I don’t think it’s fair to judge a film from an online version. If you want a review, you will need to send me a DVD.
Can I send you my book/comic/CD to review?
Sorry, I only do movies.
What is a ‘cult film’?
It’s anything that people point at and say, “That’s a cult film.” My (slightly pretentious) definition is: ‘any film which inspires interest beyond appreciation.’ If you look around the site you’ll find that as well as the expected SF, fantasy and horror pictures, there are thrillers, dramas, comedies, cartoons, even documentaries. Once I’ve written about it - it’s a cult film, as far as I’m concerned.
Will you interview me?
Possibly. Please tell me what you’ve done. I generally prefer to interview someone after having watched some of their work.
Can you help me find a copy of a film that you have reviewed?
No, sorry. If it’s a recent indie, I’ll have a link to the film-maker’s website so ask them. If it’s something that was commercially released or which I saw at a festival, I will indicate that. I rarely keep copies of the films that I review and even if I did I have neither the time nor the equipment for making copies.
Can I use a quote from your review in my publicity?
Of course you can, as long as you spell my name right! Please credit it to either ‘MJ Simpson’ or ‘MJSimpson.co.uk’.
Do you still work for SFX?
No, I left SFX in 1998 and last freelanced for them in 2006. Despite this, people keep referring to me as “MJ Simpson from SFX” which is both inaccurate and annoying. The only mag I write for regularly nowadays is Fangoria.
How can I become a film journalist?
Build up a portfolio of reviews, if possible on other people’s websites but preferably in other people’s fanzines (there are still a few). Build up contacts with up-and-coming film-makers. Try to grab interviews with interesting actors and film-makers at convention or festivals. I started writing for magazines before the web was even invented so I’m not sure how useful my experience could be for aspiring journos. It’s all much, much easier nowadays but that means there is much, much more competition (and fewer paying markets).
Why do you give good grades to ultra-low-budget, not-very good films?
Because, as explained on my front page, I judge each film on how well it achieves what it sets out to do with what it has available. There is no absolute scale of good-to-bad. Also, when assigning an MJS rating I make a point of never checking similar films to see what I gave them.
What are your favourite films?
My all-time favourite film is The Man Who Would Be King, closely followed by the original King Kong and the first Star Wars. My other favourite films include Bleak Future, The Specials, Free Enterprise, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Series 7: The Contenders, Looney Tunes Back in Action and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.