Friday, October 19, 2012

Fangoria Flashbacks: 1993

Another shorter than I would prefer article but after this one there will be a few full runs.  First, we have to get past 1993.  We're looking at seven issues today and one of them is very, very special to me.

1993 gets off to a great start with issue 120 and at last, Army of Darkness has been released.  It had a few delays, going from being a Dino DeLaurentiis production to a Universal release but it's well worth it as the film is just plain fun as is the coverage provided by the magazine.

Other goodies include a nice long piece on The Creature from the Black Lagoon; a look at one my personal favorites-the comedy Freaked (with a different title), more Dracula coverage courtesy of interviews with Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder and a little on horror comics.  Issue 120 is a little on the sparse side in terms of quantity of articles but it makes up for it in terms of quality.

Plus, one slight correction from the last installment, I believe this issue is the last one with a gold out poster.  It's a shot from Dawn of the Dead, an excellent way to end the feature.

Issue 123 is another theme issue, this time it's on bugs and unlike the last special issue there is coverage of other stuff outside of the theme which gives the issue a better flow.

First off is a huge piece that covers the entire history of bugs in cinema.  Yep, everything from giant insect flicks to stuff like The Fly this alone would make the issue a classic.  But wait, there's more!

We get a retro article on the 70's flick Squirm; British paperback horror novels, the new Joe Dante film Matinee, plus new stuff with Stuart Gordon's sci-fi flick Fortress and the obligatory Stephen King coverage.  This is just the tip of the iceberg as issue 123 is an easy choice for best of the year.  I've only mentioned half the articles in this one, it's really jam-packed.

After the mega-issue that we just looked at, almost anything would be a little disappointing but #124 does a pretty good job of keeping the ball rolling.  Granted, it helps when you're revving up coverage of Jurassic Park.

In addition to covering the big hit of the summer, we also get an interview with star of the original The Thing Kenneth Tobey; a look at Dario Argento's latest film Trauma (with f/x from Tom Savini), a bit on Robocop 3 (Hey, they covered the first two, why the hell not), a look at the Roger Corman produced Carnosaur plus a few other goodies.  It's a very good issue.

And now it's time for the main event, the one thing that sent me on the road to horror fandom.  Ladies and germs, this is the first issue of Fangoria I ever owned.

Of course, the huge closeup from Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday got my attention and the coverage of the movie is, as you would expect, quite good.   Other highlights are a nice piece on the career and techniques of Lon Chaney (Sr., not Jr.); more on Jurassic Park, a nice look at the new Stephen King adaptation Needful Things, plus a few other tasty treats.

Issue 125 may not be the best issue ever, but it's still pretty damn good.  Hell, it was good enough that I've been reading the damn magazine for almost twenty years.

#127 is a bit of a step down (though still good) with more Jurassic Park and Friday 9 coverage with effects articles covering Stan Winston and the guy behind the visual effects from Jason Goes to Hell.  We also get some zombie movie coverage with a little retrospective on Night of the Living Dead; Return of the Living Dead 3 coverage, a chat with the production design team for most of George Romero's films and we also get an interview with the director of Needful Things to wrap up an okay, but not great issue.

#128 is another decent but not outstanding issue with coverage of Pumpkinhead 2; the rather crappy Man's Best Friend (Jaws by way of Cujo), a chat with British producer Tony Tenser, a look at Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, interviews with directors Brian Yuzna (Return of the Living Dead 3) and Dario Argento and finally, a report on the second annual Chainsaw Awards.

Issue 128 is decent enough but late 1993 was pretty damn thin in terms of films worth writing about.

Another special issue finishes off the year as for #129, it's all werewolves.  Like the bug issue, we get a huge history of werewolves in cinema, accompanied by looks at An American Werewolf in London, werewolf horror fiction, and the HBO film Full Eclipse.

To fill things out,we get coverage of the second Addams Family film (they covered the first as well); a piece on Spanish horror icon Coffin Joe and a great interview with Lance Henriksen.  The Tony Tenser interview concludes in this issue as well, making this a very good edition.

1993 was an interesting year for the genre and the magazine.  The genre found itself being relegated to backup status again with a few high-profile outings like Jurassic Park standing out.  Due to this, Fangoria had to struggle a little to fill out their issues but they did a pretty damn good job of it.  1994 will be more or less the same with a few differences.

Coming Soon: Fangoria 1994

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About Me

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