Friday, July 8, 2011

Fangoria Flashbacks: Issue #10

Fangoria #10 January, 1981: So good, your head will explode!

We're back with the ultra-rare tenth issue.  I seem to be able to only find even numbered issues from the early run of the magazine for some strange reason and there are some large gaps up until 1988.  So be aware, the numbering sequence from here until about issue #72 will be somewhat erratic at times.

As you can see from the cover, the David Cronenberg classic Scanners gets the big cover photo with the most memorable image from the movie. The rest of the cover is great too with the film strip promising us looks at the hallucinatory (with Ken Russell at the helm this is to be expected) Altered States, retrospectives on The Outer Limits and Tex Avery; and a preview of Mother's Day, a proto-Troma production.

The streak of consistency which started with issue 7 and grew in the sadly all but impossible to find issues 8 and 9 is on and will continue for quite some time.  Needless to say, I'll try not to repeat myself too much for the next eighty articles or so.

Notable Notes:
  •  The letters section highlights a bit of a divide in the readership over the level of gore in the photos used by the magazine.  This will eventually morph into a debate over censorship as we are now hitting the point where the Video Nasties controversy was starting up in Great Britain.  This trend will continue for a good portion of the decade.
  • Siskel and Ebert are mentioned and I really wish I had the issue containing the interview with them.
  • Scanners gets the lead off article and ends up being a solid look at the making of the movie, as tends to be the case with Bob Martin articles.
  • Mother's Day is up next and it's another good article.   It's one of those movies where I really only want to see one or two bits in it (near the end when the killers get what's coming to them) and thanks to YouTube, I can.  Beats having to sit through the entire movie.
  • Ed Naha (who edited the very first issue) contributes the Altered States piece which focuses on the incredible Dick Smith makeup f/x.  Smith also did work on Scanners, with the two highlights being the cover shot we spoke of earlier and the finale which manages to be even more gruesome.
  • Probably the highlight of the issue for me is the "Anatomy of Terror" piece, a huge article on what makes the genre work featuring a veritable who's who of early eighties horror starting with John Carpenter.  I really wish that anthology film with segments from him, David Cronenberg and Walter Hill that gets mentioned would have been made.
  • Avco Embassy is up next with talk of Phantasm and George Romero also has a spot.  This is seriously one of the greatest articles I've ever read simply going on star power!  Ade in bits with Wes Craven and some guys from Roger Corman's New World Pictures and you have maybe the best article in the entire run of the magazine.  I mean it, this is one of the best things I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
  • On the retro side of things, we have interviews with writer Theodore Sturgeon who talks about his career in television (Star Trek and Tales of Tomorrow), Hammer scribe Jimmy Sangster (the article is the usual loving Hammer tribute we get from Fango), another animated apes article (this time featuring Mighty Joe Young) and the second half of an Outer Limits piece.
  • We also get a nice tribute to Tex Avery who passed away the previous year.  As with the Chuck Jones article, I won't dispute this article showing up here.  Looney Tunes shorts are just that cool.
  • As always, the Monster Invasion section is full of previews of things to come.  Highlights for me are Contamination (reviewed right here on this blog), Swamp Thing (maybe my favorite comic book movie) and The Great Muppet Caper (If you don't love the Muppets, you have no soul).
  • On the slightly negative side, we get another lame Count Fangor comic (with an ad for a mask on the last page of the magazine to boot) and for some reason, that Faeries project that took up a 16 page insert in issue 5 makes a reappearance with a piece covering the making of (it ended up being a television special).
Those last two elements aside, this is a truly brilliant issue.  The huge horror article alone makes it a genuine classic in the magazine's run.

Coming Soon:  Fangoria #12:  Head in the fridge, blood in the magazine.


    1. Why oh why can't Fangoria be released as a hardcover or an big volume type of format with the older issues? That would so rule! Like collect issues one through 10 on up.


    About Me

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