Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fangoria Flashbacks: Issue #4

Fangoria #4 February, 1980:  The Search for Identity

 We skip over to the fourth issue and in a sign that things were somewhat amiss at the office, the main cover shot is given to Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  Now granted, this was a pretty big movie at the time but it was already getting tons of coverage in Starlog, making the article here on the movie come across like leftovers from big brother.

Adding to the "Starlog leftovers" feel of the issue is the piece on giant robot cartoons from Japan.  The article is good and informative, but it just feels out of place next to the coverage of Salem's Lot and retrospective piece on the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

As usual, everything is pretty well written (this has generally been the case so I won't harp on it too much unless something egregious pops up) with the Caroline Munro interview taking top honors.  We also get a glimpse of what the magazine will eventually evolve into with a piece on gore film maven Herschell Gordon Lewis.  As is the case with the retrospective articles, this is a well done, amusing interview that gives plenty of amusing details.

Design-wise there isn't much to say.  The film strip is still there in all its glory and as usual, the color scheme is very well planned, though it is a little odd to see the Fangoria logo in aquamarine.  Not the first color one thinks of when it comes to this magazine.

Notable Notes:
  •  The first two pages of the Caroline Munro interview are maybe the most eye-catching in the entire run of the magazine, which is impressive when you stop and realize we're talking a periodical famous for gory photos and monsters.  That stuff will get attention, but a scantily clad Caroline Munro will get the job done too.
  • The H.G. Lewis and Invasion of the Body Snatchers articles are prime examples of the early retrospective articles done in the magazine.  Brisk, informative and well written.  In later years, the format will expand a bit.
  • Equally nice is the piece on Curse of the Demon.  One of the better horror films of the 50's and one I still really need to see (my backlog is quite impressive).
  • A Stephen King film makes its first appearance here with an article on Salem's Lot.  More will come in the next few years.  Oh man will we ever get more!
  • Well done as they are, the giant robot article and bit on the robots of The Black Hole are just out of place.  More justifiable is the opening article on animated apes as King Kong can sort of be considered sort of a horror film if you show it to a little kid who gets scared real easy.  This applies for both remakes as well, though not for King Kong Lives.  That's just horrible.
  • The Monster Invasion section gives us one big thing to look forward to with the blurb on Friday the 13th.  Other than that and a little note about the upcoming Scanners, it mostly tells us about stuff better off in Starlog.
In the end, this a well written but tonally uneven issue.  It will get better soon but as it has been said, sometimes you need to hit rock bottom before you can get back up.

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    About Me

    I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.