Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fangoria Flashbacks: Issue #16

Fangoria 16 December, 1981:  Ghost of a Chance

Another leapfrog as we move onto #16 featuring a wonderfully icky Dick Smith effect from Ghost Story.  This is a solid issue to end 1981 but as tends to be the case with winter issues of the magazine, it's slightly on auto-pilot.

Notable Notes
  • We begin with the editorial which heralds a few changes to the mag:  bumping up the issue per year count from 6 to 8, a new art director and the appointment of David Everitt as Deputy Editor.
  • Skipping over the letters section, we'll move on to the first big article, an interview with British makeup f/x artist Chris Tucker.  Tucker chats about his work on The Elephant Man and Quest for Fire.  There's also a little info on a future project, KrullKrull is one of the many sci-fi epics to come out on the heels of the Star Wars movies and is actually fairly decent, despite some pacing issues.
  • Batting second is another Rick Baker piece, this time focusing on the young artists working at his studio.  It's a good piece, highlighting some guys who will become quite accomplished in their own right., one of whom is Steve Johnson, a personal favorite of mine.
  • Just an aside, I notice that whenever the horror slate is a little anemic, the issues tend to get really heavy on f/x articles in the early days.  As years go by, this will  change to longer retrospective pieces.
  • Another repeat interview comes up as Dick Smith talks about Ghost StoryGhost Story is an adequate adaptation of the Peter Straub novel and Smith's work is easily the highlight.  Best part is that not only is this a two part interview covering the man's entire career up to that point, I actually have the issue that follows this one so for once we'll have a little continuity in this series!
  • To the article itself, it covers Smith's background with a rather luxurious amount of detail and Smith is a fantastic interview.
  • Up next is Alex Gordon's column, this time he writes about the fantastic Bela Lugosi film White Zombie.  It's probably his best movie and Gordon, as usual, brings a nice personal touch to the proceedings.
  • Part five of the 'horror in comics' series is next and it's a decent piece, as is the conclusion to the Ray Harryhausen interview.
  • Some shorter pieces are up next with an interview with Ghost Story  and Carrie screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen and part 2 of a set visit to Swamp Thing that focuses on an interview with Adrienne Barbeau and a brief chat with supporting actor Nicholas Worth.  Both pieces are efficient and well done but the sheer number of articles in this issue gets to be a bit much.  Sometimes it's possible to have too much going on!
  • More Ghost Story stuff as the author of the novel, Peter Straub, gets a bit of time in the spotlight.  I like it when a new film gets some attention but if you really stop and think about it, we've had three articles on the same movie, a little overkill in my opinion.
  • Moving onto other matters, we get a nice preview of Basket Case, a solid little grindhouse movie from Frank Henenlotter about two brothers, one of whom is relatively normal and the other who...isn't.  It's a good look at the film and Bob Martin does his usual excellent reporting job.
  • To the Monster Invasion section, we get a blurb about Tom Savini suing over an erroneous credit on a film poster, previews of Poltergeist, The Hunger and a little note on Videodrome, from David Cronenberg.  We wrap things up with a few book reviews.
Issue 16 is a solid yet unexceptional edition.  Post-Halloween is generally a dead time for the genre, as can be seen by the multiple Ghost Story  and f/x articles.  It's about as good as can be expected from a December issue.

Coming Soon:  Fangoria 17-Independent Grue!

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About Me

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