Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fangoria Flashbacks: Fangoria #30

Fangoria #30 October, 1983-Into the Twilight

Fangoria #30 continues the mild slump of 1983 with a solid but unexceptional edition.  Not sure what the deal was, maybe it's just that '83 was a better year for science fiction since Starlog was pretty much wall-to-wall quality that year.

Notable Notes
  • Things get off to an odd start as Bob Martin returns...sort of.  I would guess someone with the mag was a fan of pro wrestling (Dusty Rhodes to be precise) since Martin makes his return under a mask as "The Midnight Writer".  Not sure what the point was but it's just eccentric enough to get a chuckle from me.
  • We jump right into things with a Joe Dante interview concerning his Twilight Zone segment.  Easily the best part of the film, (though I sort of dig John Lithgow hamming it up in the last one), it's classic Dante with lots of nods to 50's genre films and a darkly comedic tone.  It's a good piece, as one would expect.
  • We delve into the world of classic British horror again with an interview with director and cinematographer Freddie Francis.  Francis has a ton of films to his credit, my favorite being The Creeping Flesh which is one of the best Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee team-ups.  Francis is a great interview (as most of the older guys tend to be) and he delves deeply into his career.  This is one of the highlights of the issue, the other one will be later.
  • Next up is more current stuff as we get an interview with f/x artist Mike McCracken, and a chat with Lewis Teague about Cujo.  Both are solid pieces.
  • It's more retro horror host mania as we next get a piece from Maila Nurmi, otherwise known as Vampira.  Vampira was a horror hostess in the fifties and a precursor to Elvira.  Ms. Nurmi writes a solid background piece on herself giving good details and writing with a frank openness regarding the current Elvira character that is always good to see from an autobiographical piece, even if it does come off slightly bitter.  There's also a sidebar with a mild rebuttal from the Elvira producers.
  • Alex Gordon is up next with part IV of his look at A.I.P.  As before, it's a solid overview of a really classic b-movie production studio.
  • More horror from the UK as we get an interview with author James Herbert.  It's a nice piece and I always enjoy seeing authors other than Stephen King get some face time.  This is something Fangoria has always been good about.
  • John Carpenter is up next with a brief article on the release of the Halloween soundtrack and after that, we get the true highlight of the issue: A nice interview with Vincent Price.  As always, the man has more stories than you could ever hope for and isn't shy about rattling them off.  Here, he chats a bit about his current projects including House of the Long Shadows as well as some other projects.
  • Time for Dr. Cyclops and seven more terror-ific video releases!
  1. The Sinister Urge (1961): Late-era Ed Wood (as in post-Bela Lugosi) crime drama that sounds just as wonderfully bad and silly as the rest of the man's work.
  2. Blood on Satan's Claw (1971): A British supernatural thriller that I've heard is fairly decent.
  3. Frogs (1972): An entry in seventies run of killer animals on the loose films as Ray Milland and Sam Elliot are menaced by all sorts of swamp life.  It's mainly reptiles and insects on the rampage, making the title a bit of a tease.
  4. Dark Star (1974): John Carpenter's first movie, an outer space comedy I still need to see.  This was written by Dan O'Bannon who would take one or two elements from this movie and turn them into Alien.
  5. The Living Head (1961): A follow-up to the wonderfully insane The Brainiac, this sounds like a step up in quality but a step down in i1972): As I said earlier, this is one of the better Cushing/Lee films.  It's a fantastic bit of Gothic horror with Cushing turning in a really strong performance as a misguided scientist (aren't they all in this sort of movie?) and Lee doing his usual strong job as Cushing's asshole brother.  It's really an underrated gem of a movie.
  6. Bedlam (1946): We wrap things up with this Boris Karloff chiller about an insane asylum.  Sounds pretty decent to me.
  • Coming down the home stretch, we get an interview with Doug White about the f/x of Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn, another Charles Band release that was his second shot at the 3-D market.  The movie is really only notable for the 3-D aspect and for having one hell of a cheat in the title as at no point does Mr. Syn get destroyed.  On the upside, it does have Richard Moll in a role which is always nice to see.
  • Screenwriter Tom Holland is up next to chat about his scripts for Psycho II and The Beast Within (also the subject of the Scream Greats poster which is as close as that film will ever get to being called great) and I must say that as a fellow writer, I am biased towards screenwriter interviews.  In light of that, I'll just say this one is excellent and move on.
  • The Nightmare Library returns with a review of Stephen King's Christine.  Good book, good review.
  • Last up is another Twilight Zone article, this time it's an interview with makeup artist Craig Reardon
  • The Monster Invasion section takes us home and another issue ends.
Issue #30 is, like the one before it, a solid issue with some good stuff.  There's a little bit of strangeness here and there but overall, nothing wrong here.

Coming Soon: Fangoria #31, 3-D in Hell!

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About Me

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