Friday, February 24, 2012

Fangoria Flashbacks: 1986

Fangoria Flashbacks: 1986

We're going with a change of pace for the series as I'm finding doing each issue one at a time is getting rather repetitious.  Therefore, from here on we'll be going year by year with me covering the entire year of issues (or as many from said year as I possess) and giving some brief notes (at least when I have something to say).

With that in mind, let the mayhem begin!

1986 gets off to a great start with issue #50, a special issue featuring a stack of great articles and the first appearance (the first of many over the next four years or so) of Freddy Krueger.
  •  First off is a big change as Bob Martin has left by this point.  Not sure which issue was his last but his departure is certainly a big loss for the magazine as he really steered it on the right course in its early days.  David Everitt is the sole editor at this point (this is also his last issue as Dave McDonnell of Starlog takes over for the rest of the year and a little of 1987) but the associate editor is a man who will very shortly take over the reigns, Anthony Timpone (but that's a story for another day).
  • As usual, the interviews are top notch, featuring chats with Clu Gulager, Angelo Rossitto and the great Beverly Garland.  The only gripe I can find is with the Phil Leakey interview.  Phil did the makeup for some of the early Hammer Horror films and to be frank, he comes off as a bit of an ass.  He openly admits to hating horror which is fine but he doesn't seem to regard his work too highly which is unfortunate, especially when it affects the way the comes across in the interview.  Well written piece though, and kudos to Fango for publishing it as is.
  • Dr. Cyclops has a nice selection of reviews this month with the highlights being reviews of the exploitation classic Savage Streets starring Linda Blair and the Coen Brother's debut, Blood Simple.
  • Other good articles are an interview with one of the screenwriters of Re-Animator, the writer of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and a preview of Underworld (also known as Transmutations), the first adaptation of a Clive Barker story.
    Fangoria #51 kicks off with a new editor in Dave McDonnell and a slight change to the logo as now there is an  amusing image from one of the films covered in the "O".  This month it's from the film out cover ghoul appears in, the entertaining cheese ball horror/comedy House.
    •  The overall feel of the magazine for the next twenty years or so is finally locked into place with this issue as the Monster Invasion section has been moved up right after the letters section.  I really dig this change as it serves as nice appetizer for the reader before getting into the articles.  Making things even better is the format as they now highlight two or three movies coming soon (mainly Evil Dead 2 in this case) and the rest goes into a small sidebar called The Terror Teletype.
    • Article highlights are a nice interview with actress Mary Woronov, an enjoyable interview with Steve Miner about House and his work on the Friday the 13th movies (he directed 2 and 3), a solid piece on the Return of the Living Dead f/x and a fantastic interview with Clive Barker that serves as a great intro to the author.  We also get a nice selection of articles on TV terror thanks to pieces on Tales From the Darkside, The Hitchhiker (remember that one?) and a revival of Alfred Hitchcock Presents capping things off with a Wes Craven interview where he discusses his work on the new version of The Twilight Zone (the show has gone through at least four versions that I know of).  We also get a decent preview of Critters, a fun Gremlins riff from New Line Cinema.
    #52 is another solid issue (as they all are, really, hence my altering the series format), no major changes...yet.
    • We get some fantastic stuff here with great interviews with Ian McCulloch (he's done a bunch of Italian horror films including Zombie and Contamination), a brief Tom Savini piece talking about his latest venture: A video documentary produced by Fango called Scream Greats.  It was supposed to be the first in a series on horror icons or something but for reason, things got botched and it never made it past the second volume.
    • More highlights include looks at Psycho III, the f/x of Nightmare 2 with Kevin Yagher, an interview with the legendary John Carradine, a look at the wonderfully incoherent gore fest Demons and a chat with author Dennis Etchison.
    #53 is a solid one and about as close to a placeholder issue as you can find with this magazine.  The spring of '86 was a bit on the slow side and it shows in the articles.  It's not a bad issue, just a very middle of the road one.
    • The best part of this issue is the Dr. Cyclops column which generally is not a good sign in my eyes.  He covers a nice selection of movies including The Company of Wolves, the Charles Band directed Dungeonmaster and the notorious Italian cannibal flick Make then Die Slowly.
    • Outside of that, there's a nice interview with director Gordon Hessler (he did Scream and Scream again amongst many others), a review of The Bachman Books, a collection of four novellas Stephen King wrote under his pseudonym Richard BachmanLitten and an interview with horror host Billy Cardille (also known as Chilly Billy).
    Things pick up a bit as we get into the summer of 1986 with #54.  I should also note that with this year, the issue count rises to ten a year, a fact that is announced in this issue.
    • There's a nice blend of articles here, highlighted by a good interview with b-movie star John Agar and stories on the upcoming Poltergeist II, Night of the Creeps (spelled with a "K" for some stupid reason) and Critters.  The Critters article is especially good as it highlights the Chiodo Brothers' solid f/x, though they don't exactly come off as well.
    • The Dr. Cyclops column remains a highlight with a packed house in terms of reviews.  Dario Argento's Inferno, the campy Horror Hospital, the Amicus anthology The House that Dripped Blood...Truth be told, and I hate to say it, but sometimes I enjoy this section more than any other piece in the magazine.
    #55 continues the quality with more on Poltergeist II (strange that such a mediocre movie can yield such interesting articles) as well as other big summer releases.
    •  In addition to the P II coverage, we also get a nice look at the f/x of From Beyond which we will get into a little more next issue as well as other John Buechler projects.  Even better are the looks at David Cronenberg's remake of The Fly and Tobe Hooper's first film of the year, a remake of Invaders From Mars.  He also chats about the upcoming Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.  There's also a nice interview with Lance Henriksen plus the conclusion of the Clive Barker interview that began in issue 51.  Things also wrap up nicely with an interview with the lovely Martine Beswick.
    The best issue of the year is up next as we get more coverage of the films I already mentioned plus a nice, long interview with Stephen King about his directorial debut, Maximum Overdrive.  Sure the film stinks but still!
    • It's another packed house as in addition to the Stephen King interview, we also get stuff from Tom Savini (talking TCM 2), more on The Fly, From Beyond and Invaders From  Mars, a Christopher Lee interview, a piece on Charles Band and a brief article on a little movie called Aliens.
    All in all, a fully loaded issue and I think I only mentioned half the stuff in it.  There's so much stuff that there's barely any room for retro pieces.
    Unfortunately, I don't have #57 so we're going straight to 58.  It's another damn fine issue though, chock full of great articles.
    •  To be honest, it's pretty much more stuff on the movies already mentioned as the magazine is now getting more comprehensive in their coverage of new movies.  I like it though, as more often than not they manage to avoid getting too repetitious.
    • In addition to the extended coverage, we get a typically good Robert Englund interview a look at David Lynch's Blue Velvet and some other goodies.

    1986 ends with issue #59, another solid issue based mainly around articles on From Beyond and various other late-year releases.  Highlights include interviews  with David Carradine and Vincent Price, looks at the f/x of Tales From the Darkside, and the aforementioned From Beyond piece and a look at the f/x of Demons.

    Well, that's 1986 for Fangoria.  All in all, a solid year with only one issue really standing out as being underwhelming.  Next year, however, will bring about some more changes.


    1. There was a 2nd SCREAM GREATS edition.

    2. Yep, it was on witchcraft and for some reason the focus was on the actual stuff as opposed to examples in horror cinema. Pretty sure that's why it was the last entry in the series.


    About Me

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