Friday, October 26, 2012

Fangoria Flashbacks: 1994

And now we come to a run of full years.  The next three editions of this series will cover the full run of issues Fangoria put out.  1994 was a bit of a slow burner in terms of good horror films.  There was a little in the first half and things pick up the last quarter but for the most part, it was a another slow year for the genre.  Lots of low budget stuff is covered along with a little more in the way of television coverage.

As far as the magazine goes, there was a bit of downsizing as 1994 saw the last of the Bloody Best... and Horror Spectacular special issues.  They still did the occasional special movie magazine but for the most part, it's just Fango all by its lonesome from here on out.  I may get into a little of the special stuff at some later date.

Issue 130 starts us off and it's not too bad considering the drought the genre was in at the time.  A nice cover story on Phantasm III and a tribute to the recently departed Vincent Price highlight this one.

Other good articles are another retrospective piece on The Exorcist, an interview with Danny Elfman and a look at Spanish horror flick Accion Mutante.  Overall, a decent start to the year.
Thing stay on a fairly even keel with 131as while the upcoming Wolf starring Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer may get the cover, the bulk of the issue is given to small productions and other side aspects of the genre.

Highlights are an interview with Brazilian horror icon Coffin Joe; low budget flicks such as Skeeter and Body Melt, the aforementioned first look at Wolf, an article on Leprechaun 2 and a retrospective of an early Tom Savini outing called Deranged, based on the real life story of Ed Gein.  We also get the debut of a new column on horror video games.  Essentially a video game-centric version of the Dr. Cyclops section, the debut reviews a few Dracula tie-in games as well as the second in the Splatterhouse series.

Issue 131 is a good template for how the rest of the year will go.  More of a focus on smaller films as the big studios are taking a bit of a breather; a wide variety of articles covering the entire width of the genre and an overall polished feel that really makes for a great issue.

Issue 132 could easily be called the ultimate low budget Fangoria issue.  With the exception of news on The Stand (the massive 4 hour mini-series that's quite good) and a retrospective on The Hills Have Eyes, all of the articles are on smaller films and the issue is still a knockout.  No honest to god highlights as the entire issue is just plain solid.  Good stuff.
133 is pretty much more of the same with some good coverage of The Stand and The Crow (Brandon Lee's last film) along with more articles on smaller films.  My favorite is an article on the f/x house used by Charles Band's Full Moon Pictures.  Another solid issue.
With the summer now in full force, the magazine goes a little mainstream with its big 15th anniversary issue.  Another werewolf special, this has coverage of Wolf; a look back at Hammer's Curse of the Werewolf, Howling VII (dear lord) and of course, an interview with Spanish werewolf star Paul Naschy.  In terms of non-werewolf content, there are filler articles on the underrated The Shadow and an interview with Phantasm co-star Reggie Bannister and first news on the new Nightmare on Elm Street flick.  It's very good issue.

135 is a return to the style of the first few issues of the year as we have an impromptu second Lovecraft issue as the new John Carpenter film In the Mouth of Madness (great movie sadly delayed until early 1995), Charles Band production The Lurking Fear and the anthology Necronomicon which stars Jeffrey Combs.

The issue is another winner as besides the aforementioned articles, we also get some international goodies such as an interview with legendary composer Ennio Morricone; pieces on New Zealand and Australian horror and some other goodies.

136 is a blend as we get a little more mainstream content.  In the fall of 1994, two big studio films were put out: Mary Shelly's Frankenstein (directed by Kenneth Branagh) and the adaptation of Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire starring Tom Cruise.

We get first news on Frankenstein here along with more on In the Mouth of Madness; a first look at God's Army (retitled The Prophecy), news on a fourth Texas Chainsaw Massacre film, a chat with character actor Richard Lynch and a major highlight in the form of an interview with the legendary Jack Nicholson.  It goes without saying but this is easily the best issue of the year.  Hell, I haven't even mentioned the X-Files coverage that also turned up last issue.  Simply a fantastic issue of Fangoria.

137 brings in the Interview with the Vampire coverage but the real big draw is the return of Freddy Krueger in Wes Craven's New Nightmare.  Also on tap is more coverage of Frankenstein; news on the Tim Burton bio-pic Ed Wood, a little on The Shawshank Redemption and a look at an Italian horror movie called Dellamorte Dellamore which is an oddball take on the zombie film.  Overall, a very good issue.

Aside from the continuing coverage of Interview with the Vampire, New Nightmare and Frankenstein, we get more on Ed Wood, the beginning of a production diary on Clive Barker's Lord of Illusions (yes, just like Nightbreed they're going to ram this one down the reader's throats with similar results) and a huge retrospective piece on the John Carpenter classic Halloween.  Another very good issue.
We close out 1994 with another strong issue as 139 brings us more Interview with the Vampire coverage in the form of an interview with Tom Cruise and a chat with Stan Winston on his f/x work for the film; more Lord of Illusions and Frankenstein, news on the direct to video Darkman sequels plus some other goodies such as an interview with Robert Englund and a tribute to the recently departed Peter Cushing.

1994 was a very, very good year for the magazine as the genre had a bit of a rest for most of the year.  Longer articles, more variety, this is a great year of Fangoria.

Coming Soon: Fangoria 1995

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