Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fangoria Flashbacks: 1990

If 1989 was more of the same, 1990 was the year that Fangoria had to diversify just to fill out an issue.  We get more crossover material with Starlog, a trend that will continue into 1991 and the end result is an interesting if somewhat bland run of issues.  1990 was a mild year for the genre as the big boom of the 80's fizzled out the previous year.  Let's take a look...

We kick things off with issue 91 and a nice selection of new stuff and retro articles covering such films as Tremors, Bride of Re-Animator, Basket Case 2 and of course, more Nightbreed.

There is also a nice interview with low budget filmmaker S.F. Brownrigg who made Don't Look in the Basement along with a few others.  The thing about Fangoria I've always loved is that they more or less equal attention to the low budget stuff as well as the big studio productions.  Another nice piece is an interview with actress Hazel Court who did a bunch of films with Vincent Price in the 60's.

All in all a solid issue.
92 is a decent enough issue with good pieces on Tales From the Darkside: The Movie, Tobe Hooper's frankly terrible Spontaneous Combustion, yet more Nightbreed coverage, and best of all an interview with Frank Darabont.  It's the best article in the magazine and allows a rather bland issue to end well.
Things start to pick up a little as we move into the summer as the main course for this issue is Gremlins 2.  The rest of the issue is given to smaller films and while the coverage is good, outside of a look at Peter Jackson's Meet the Feebles there isn't much in the way of memorable stuff to be found.
Issue 94 is a little better with more on Gremlins 2 in the welcome form of a Christopher Lee interview; a look at the third Exorcist movie, TV terror with stuff on the second season of Tales From the Crypt and Monsters, and a few other things.

One oddity is a brief article on a Lon Chaney Jr. appearance on live TV in an adaptation of Frankenstein from the 50's.  Written by the makeup artist who worked on Chaney, it's an interesting look at the perils of live television in the early days...Though less than flattering towards Chaney.

Not a bad issue overall.

Issue 95 is quite a bit better with good coverage of Rob Bottin's work on Total Recall; Robocop 2 (though it's more 'horrible' than 'horror'), a nice interview with character actor Brad Dourif, plus a few more summer horrors such as Arachnophobia and the George Romero/Tom Savini/Dario Argento team-up Two Evil Eyes.

In addition, we get a Rick Baker interview about his Gremlins 2 work and a look at the Sam Raimi superhero flick Darkman.

We also get another first person account of show business as Blood Salvage director Ken Sanders reports of his battles with the MPAA.  Around this time there were generally quite a few articles like this in the magazine and this one is pretty good though his description of the tactics he used do sort of make one realize why he had such a hard time.

Issue 95 ends up being one of the best of the year.


96 is maybe my favorite of the year as it was deep into summer and quite frankly, the mainstream stuff had been covered to death in Starlog.  As a result, this issue is an eclectic mix of Darkman coverage and looks at low budget fare such as the entertaining Syngenor (reviewed on this very site last year); the bizarre monster movie The Boneyard (Phyllis Diller and mutant poodles), the first part of an interview with A.I.P. vet Louis Heyward plus a welcome return of Fango fave Dick Miller.

Issue 96 is another winner.

97 is a slight step backwards as most of the films covered ended up being rather middling at best.  There is good stuff to be found tho9ugh with coverage of the Tom Savini directed remake of Night of the Living Dead; early coverage of Child's Play 2 and the Stephen King adaptation Graveyard Shift, more from the Heyward interview and a few other goodies.

It's not a bad issue, just sort of there.
Issue 98 is a definite step up as we get into a rather enthusiastic pack of fall horror movies.  Child's Play 2, Jacob's Ladder, Graveyard Shift, Predator 2, this is a nicely packed issue.

We also get a good Linda Blair interview and a little taste of things to come next month with a look at the TV miniseries version of Stephen King's It.  An interview with f/x whiz Kevin Yagher is the cherry on top of this very good issue.
1990 comes to an end with decidedly Stephen King-centric issue.  Kins talks Graveyard Shift, It, Misery as well as a few other things in a section that takes yup at least half the magazine.  It's all good stuff, though as 1990 may have been the most prolific year for the man as a franchise.

The rest of the issue is basically leftovers on Predator 2, Child's Play 2 and Jacob';s Ladder but the end result is a great issue.

1990 was a bit of an odd year for the genre and Fangoria in general which necessitated a change in tone, a trend that will continue for the next few years as we see more studio films covered and a set formula for the layout of articles.

Coming Soon: Fangoria 1991

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

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