Tag Archives: fangoria

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!

The Weird World of WATCH AND WEAR!

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I love talking about the ’80s for nostalgic reasons of course, but more and more I find that I like talking about that decade because I’m awed at just how archaic it seems now; compared to today’s Instant Everything culture where omnipotence is just a click away, the 1980s feel downright Paleolithic. And it’s especially hard for me to remember that the ’80s were 30+ years ago while we as a culture are stuck in this perma-’80s & ’90s closed circuit loop. I’m sure people in 1970 felt light years ahead of 1940, but 2016 feels like it could still be 1983-1997. It’s all very weird. Okay, okay, this old man’ll stop yelling at you to get off his lawn and get to the point. Continue reading The Weird World of WATCH AND WEAR!

Fangoria’s SCREAM GREATS!

Even if you’ve never read one, you’re probably still familiar with Fangoria Magazine.

Fangoria debuted in 1979 and originally only focused on fantasy subject matter. But by issue 7 it had become entirely dedicated to horror cinema, and since it was Fangoria‘s first issue to turn a profit, they stuck with it. In fact it was the “first issue of any national magazine to wholly concern itself with horror film as produced in the closing quarter of the 20th Century.”

Loyal readers of the publication probably have their favorite sections of the magazine, especially the old issues: maybe you’re into the Postal Zone, or Video Chopping List, The Video Eye of Dr. Cyclops, or the random odd assortment of ads for toys, masks, shirts, and other over-priced goodies that I’m now wishing I’d bought because they’d be worth a pretty penny. Personally, I liked David Schow’s Raving and Drooling, and I also liked the incessant Joe Blasco Make-up Artist Training Center ads. I also like how the inside of the back cover was invariably VHS art promoting the latest Full Moon Pictures release. And dig them classifieds, baby! Continue reading Fangoria’s SCREAM GREATS!

Horror Video Ads from the ’80s!

Long before the Internet — before Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, and whatever else people use to search and share information nowadays — details on the latest movies releases (especially the more obscure titles, especially horror titles) were a lot harder to come by. A lot harder. There were newspapers and word of mouth, of course. But if you were a gorehound or looking for info on more underground stuff, having a subscription to a magazine like Fangoria or Starlog was a necessity — especially if you wanted to buy these movies. (There were other movie-centric publications, like Movieline which was actually pretty decent, but the best genre-specific info required genre-specific magazines.) Continue reading Horror Video Ads from the ’80s!

MAD RON’S PREVUES FROM HELL – 13 Days of Shot on Video! (#5)

With 13 Days of Shot On Video I’ll be reviewing a new shot-on-video horror film every weekday for the last two weeks of October. You can view all entries HERE.

mad4Mad Ron’s Prevues From Hell is such a singular, unique film that of course it could only be birthed during the ’80s shot-on-video boom.

In fact, it’s not much of a movie at all: in reality, it’s 90 minutes of exploitation film trailers from the ’60s and ’70s hosted by a man and his zombie puppet. The trailers are film stock, but the interstitial wraparound segments featuring the ventriloquist and his dummy are pure shot-on-video awesomeness. Continue reading MAD RON’S PREVUES FROM HELL – 13 Days of Shot on Video! (#5)