Category Archives: Books

Looking Back: The First Issue of TOXIC HORROR Magazine!

In the late-’50s, when the Universal Monsters were wrapping up their run and giant atomic monsters started to take over the horror cinema, Forrest J. Ackerman and James Warren began publishing the “world’s first monster magazine”, the highly imitable Famous Monsters of Filmland. It was, perhaps, the most important magazine concerning horror cinema ever published.

Naturally, a slew of spin-offs and copycats popped up soon afterward, all doing their best to cover what horror movies had to offer, all in a very similar style and tone.

But by the late-’70s, the type of horror that was showing at the local cineplex was vastly different than the fare that had been shown 20 years earlier: the kills were more violent, the sex completely uncensored, and the gore utterly gratuitous. The taste of the common horror fan had changed, and there needed to be a magazine which represented this new wave of cinema.

Enter Fangoria Magazine, “The First in Fright, Since 1979”.

From its debut, Fangoria pretty much dominated the horror movie magazine market. But by the mid-to-late-’80s, horror had become such a massively successful and popular genre, Fangoria decided to publish a few sister magazines to cover everything that was being released. In 1988, they debuted Gorezone Magazine (which I’ve covered before), a darker and more gruesome outlet which ran for 27 issues. And one year later, in 1989, they released the short-lived Toxic Horror. TH was canceled after just five issues.

Looking back, it’s clear that TH was the sort-of loosey-goosey experimental sibling to Fangoria’s trusted, name-brand output. Fango had fun, sure, but at times TH feels downright goofy. (Check out their fictional story, The Booger Man, below.)

Still, those of us raised on ’80s horror, we took what we could get when it came to paper mags which showcased the goopy, gory stuff. This was long before the Internet was a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye; so the more horror magazines, the better.

Without further ado, let us hop in the family car, head to the local grocery store, b-line it to the magazine aisles, and go back to 1989, where the first issue of TOXIC HORROR awaits us. Enjoy these scans from a few select pages of my own personal copy of TH #1 (and forgive any blurred edges!)

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Looking Back: the First Issue of GOREZONE!

May 2016 marks the 28th anniversary of GOREZONE, the bi-monthly ‘sister’ publication of FANGORIA Magazine which made its debut in 1988. At the time, GOREZONE was intended to act as a sort of companion piece to its more well-known counterpart, covering the bloodier/weirder/more obscure stuff that Fango didn’t. Can you imagine? So many noteworthy horror films were being released, multiple magazines were necessary to cover them all. What a time to be alive!

GZ ran for a brief but bloody 27 issues, ending its run in 1994. Despite a short magazine stand life, it was a hardcore horror fan favorite. It was nastier, slimier, and darker than Fango, and it wasn’t afraid to showcase the splattery stuff, oftentimes as close-up and vividly as possible. Thanks to the powers of nostalgia, GZ was revived in 2013, albeit with one minor limitation – it is now only available via direct subscription. Continue reading Looking Back: the First Issue of GOREZONE!

Remembering… Cracked Monster Party & Monsters Attack!

mags
A small section of Dr. Jose’s personal (very used) collection.

Growing up, I’d say most of the things I was consuming artistically fell under one of the four following categories: funny, gross, weird, or scary. Funny like The Three Stooges, “Weird Al”, and MAD Magazine; gross like Ren & Stimpy and Garbage Pail Kids; weird like Liquid Television and Pee-wee’s Playhouse; scary like Fangoria Magazine and the vast amount of horror flicks I watched as much as I possibly could.

The most magical and exciting items from that nascent period were the ones that blended one or more of the aforementioned tastes. It’s hard to explain but to my developing and easily-awed brain, by combining such weird and creative preferences, it was as if someone really got it, somehow understood me personally and intimately, and was able to cater to my individual tastes. Things like the Garbage Pail Kids and Liquid Television, those were mine. Too weird and arcane to be understood or appreciated by the masses. Were other 9-year-olds enjoying those things, too? Of course. Adults, as well. But little me didn’t think that: there was no way other people — especially kids my age, my peers — could possibly be comprehending these things and enjoying them the way I was. I suppose this is the point when nostalgia starts germinating in our small bodies and turns into some sort of weird, protective ego in our adulthood. Or maybe I was just a screwball kid, who knows. Continue reading Remembering… Cracked Monster Party & Monsters Attack!