Week 23: “Horror Magazines”
Horror magazines are part of our culture (us horror fans that is). Despite all the ready-made websites out there, there is no better place to get the most up to date information on everything horror past or present than a good magazine and I (luckily) still read many of them despite also finding time to visit many horror websites.
One of the oldest and most successful is Fangoria (www.fangoria.com). This magazine holds a special place for me as it was the first horror magazine I read growing up. I remember the cover had the creature from Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers (1992) and that was the whole reason I picked up the magazine. Fangoria always had fantastic covers that drew you in. All the rest of the articles were just icing on the cake and the magazine had some of the best written articles I had ever read (which wasn’t saying much since that was the first magazine of its kind that I’d ever read at the time). I became an instant collector right then and there and never missed an issue since. Now the magazine has had its ups and downs over the years especially in the years when there were very few quality mainstream and indie horror films but right now it is back in good form focusing on new retrospectives on classic films and influential filmmakers especially in this time when there are fewer and fewer genre specific directors emerging.
My favorite magazine right now is Horror Hound (www.horrorhound.com). It’s not as old as some of the others that will be mentioned here but they do some of the most thorough articles of all the magazines that I read. This is a magazine that really focuses on articles for the horror fan and never seems like its repetitive or been done before. Unfortunately, whereas a lot of other magazines have articles on the exact same subject within the same couple months, this magazine never seems like it follows that trend. It’s long running series on films stuck in VHS purgatory is of particular interest for horror fans as are there extended retrospectives on entire film series (no other magazine comes close to the quality of these articles). If you don’t currently read any horror magazines this would be the one to start off with.
Rue Morgue (www.rue-morgue.com) is another one of the longest running horror magazines. I love the fact that this magazine delves into all facets of the horror genre from movies to books to music to video games. For someone just wanting to read a little more about everything then this is definitely for you. My only problem is the fact that the articles are shorter, on the average, but when they do an article with extended coverage that is when it is really worth it. They also do articles on horror artists including tattoo artists which most magazines never even bother with.
Famous Monsters of Filmland (www.famousmonsters.com) is a magazine that many of you might remember as being started by Forrest J. Ackerman. It was cancelled at one point and resurrected and still goes strong to this day. It works as a magazine in the PG area as it was designed for small children as they grew up into monster lovers. It covers a lot of older television horror and does a great job in their extensive articles on specific personalities and talent. The biggest draw for this magazine is the fact that there articles are so thorough and the fact that they highlight current television shows when other magazines do not. My only problem with the magazine is that many times I don’t really care for the television show they focus on for any given issue and unfortunately that focus can take up more than half of the issue (recent issues that I didn’t care about focused on The Munsters and Supernatural, which I don’t care for). This is a minor problem (as you can see) as I still remain with the magazine because the quality is still high.
On the more extreme spectrum is the resurrection of Gorezone (www.facebook.com/gorezonemagazine) which is for the hardcore horror fan as it delves into extreme horror films such as The Faces of Death franchise, Cannibal Holocaust, and many more. It can only be purchased through the Fangoria website and it has a hefty price tag but the quality of the articles is just like that of the parent magazine so it is well worth the price. There are articles here that you can’t find in the parent magazine nor the website.
Another magazine like this (but not nearly as extreme) is the UK’s Scream (www.screamhorrormag.com) magazine which you can purchase a physical or digital copy of. The quality of the articles is good but there is too much of a scattered-brained collage of articles in each issue. They just kind of through a little bit of everything in each issue so you never know what you’re going to get and there are few regular columns in this magazine unlike in Fangoria and Rue Morgue and Horror Hound. What this magazine has are some of the best collection of photos from the films it highlights.
Another one of my favorite magazines is Diabolique (www.diaboliquemagazine.com) (which has some of the best articles written among any of the magazines discussed. Their articles are heavily researched and thorough and very informative and the articles can vary in subject matter (because a lot of the articles are queried based on a particular issue’s topic). This is probably one of the best designed and put together of the magazines as each issue is topic driven and each article contributes to the whole of the issue. I’ve never been disappointed by an issue but my biggest issue is the long wait between issues and the fact that not all bookstores and newsstands carry the magazine on a consistent basis.
The last magazine I’m going to mention is the specialized Delirium (www.deliriummagazine.com) magazine which is put out by Full Moon Entertainment and focuses on many of their own films and films they’ve distributed. Not really a magazine designed for the casual horror fan especially if you don’t like the majority of Full Moon’s films but if you do then this magazine gives you more coverage than any other magazine ever has. Each issue does highlight a classic horror film (previous issues highlight Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Shockwaves) but for the most part this one stays away from modern horror films.
Now there are plenty more horror magazines that I don’t read such as Screem (www.screemag.com), Scary Monsters (www.scarymonstersmagazine.com), etc. but there is only so many magazines that I can read on a consistent basis.
I’m a hard core horror fan and even though I now read the digital version of a couple of these magazines nothing will ever replace the feeling of sitting down with a physical copy of Fangoria or Rue Morgue or Horror Hound and letting myself be immersed in a different world…just one filled with monsters and bloodshed.