Sunday, November 28, 2010

85% Horror, 10% Sci Fi, 4% Advertistements, 1% Bugs Bunny

This solemn week, the Dr. is bringing you something of a gem. The Freak-You-The-Fuck-Out Fangoria Fright Night! Two reasons... 1. Tom Savini! 2. Jack (don't call him John) Nicholson! We're looking at lucky number seven in the series of Fangoria classic back issues.

They finally got over the Sci-Fi hump. Front cover features The Shining, Vincent Price (part II of a retrospective), Hitchcock, Hammer and Savini's Maniac!(of course we've also got Galaxina and The Terror Factor... whatever the hell they are). The important thing to note is that Leonard Nimoy isn't on the cover (he isn't even in the fucking magazine). George Lucas created icons are not on the cover (but they could be again?). Christopher Lee's fantasy movie endeavors are not on the cover (and boy is he happy) and Godzilla is not on the cover (not that displaying him on the cover is a bad thing but we need to get this horror party started).

The editor starts off with a tribute to George Pal, Alfred Hitchcock and Mario Bava. Touching. He details the rise and fall of each icon. Kind of felt more like an E True Hollywood Story circa 1980. It's always nice to see Bava included in there.In the early stages of Fango you don't get nearly enough in the vain of Italo Horror. Moving on...

As the header reads, "Take one part Caroline Munro, one part Joe Spinell and season liberally with the effects of Tom Savini.... How to Make a MANIAC!" The blood flows in this brief synopsis of a slasher classic. I mean the blood is on the page here. Full color bloody, gory beauty. I'm sure the Godzilla readership crowd turned straight to their toilet bowls after this nod to Mr. Savini. This is post Dawn of the Dead and Friday the 13th. Really seems like Tom was going for the gross out.
Side Note: after watching Friday the 13th and Dawn of the Dead again recently they don't feel as gory as I remember them i.e. not as much gore per frame. They gross outs are great but not constant. Maniac! starts the gore per minute clock ticking.
The article content from Fango is weak at best. I guess if you focus on Caroline Munro's reaction to Tom Savini's brilliance (puking) the article will write itself, right? There is a piece intercut with the main Maniac! article that talks about the secrets behind Savini's effects which is worth a read, but the main article is no more than a slight recap of the story and a name dropping extravaganza. The next article makes up for that.

The Curse of Frankenstein and the history there of dons the next couple pages. You've got the power trio of the late 50's; Peter Cushing, Terence Fisher and Christopher Lee (you know this). Mary Shelly's classic (butchered of course). But in this article you get a little, bit, more. Peter Cushing never considered himself a horror actor, but did you know that he was in Orwell's 1984 (yes, really)? Did you know that he greatly admired James Whale's 1931 depiction of the monster? Well he did! Did you know that Chris Lee joked that he would have to go to America to act in pictures because they actually made use of "taller actors"? I'm sure this interests the geeks, but I think the crown jewel of this article, the one thing that should be treasured is the critical "acclaim" this entry received.
The press was not as kind as the public. One critic, shocked by Phil Leakey's elaborate make up effects, suggested that the British movie-rating system add a new classification "Certificate SO - For Sadists Only."
First gore pic? I'm not so sure H.G. Lewis would approve, but I'm sure there was no lack of fire engine, red paint on set. Hammer age starts now!... or THEN! (rather) Retrospectives are like time travel, but Back to the Future hadn't been released when this article was written. Dr. Brown save us all!

These movies are my favorite (which movies?). Movies that changed title along the production line, were initially written about in Fangoria and are seemingly impossible to find. I give you. The Terror Factor... or... Virus... or... Day of Resurrection... or... Fukkatsu no hi (original title). That's a mouthful for sure, and I think the worst part is that I've never heard of any of these titles, never seen the movie and George Kennedy and Chuck Connors are in it. Say "Hello" to my little Netflix, Terror Factor or whatever you're called now! And of course it's unavailable and the release date is unknown. Torrents? Who knows!? (check out if you're really interested in seeing this sleeper).

You know what's really fun about reading a magazine introducing a movie from the early 80's? A movie that you've seen a thousand times? Everything! Issue number seven talks about The Shining as if you've never seen Jack Torrance do that thing that he does with the fire axe or that you've never seen the smooth, creepy bartender pour Jack a drink that's not there. It's as if you're looking at the Overlook Hotel for the very first time; at Danny Torrance's mouth agape as he sees into the future for the first time... They don't even know how quote able this movie is going to be... THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS WILL DO FOR HORROR CINEMA!!! Again, these little retrospectives can fill you with you strange emotions (like finding a rare, altered gem or somehow making you feel what the 15 year old boys who were reading Fango felt in 1980). Buy your back issues, kiddies! Live in the past!

Vincent Price interview. The Corman Years. AIP. Samuel Z. Arkoff. Roger Corman. Edgar Allen Poe. HP Lovecraft. If I keep name dropping I might have a blog within a blog to write about. The gentleman of horror, Mr. Price gives some real insight into what he loved to play (the Gothic mystery vs. the rip off horror pic). His favorites were the Phibes and Theatre of Blood style horror comedies. Did you know there was going to be potentially, almost, maybe, sort of a third installment in the Phibes series? Scripted and everything! Couldn't get the director on board and apparently the script wasn't very good. :tear: This interview has a filmography running along the bottom, stills for a few AIP pictures (one with Barbara Steele, hot). This is a real gem. A real reason to go grab this one and not just because Jacks' on the cover.

There's a nice bio article about Hitchcock who had died in April of 1980. Nice suspense filmography. This one gets into his early work and his boyhood and moves along right up to Dial M for Murder (brilliant, one of my favorites) and Rear Window (bless that Jimmy Stewart). Dial M for Murder was shot in 3-D... can't you tell today? :tee hee hee:

Points of interest:

-Chris Walas has a creature creator spotlight (worked on Piranha, Galaxina and Island of the Fishmen [score!].

-The Watcher in the Woods gets Fangoria's first "Spoiler Alert".

-Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter gets the "movie you missed in 1972" treatment. I wouldn't be surprised if we couldn't put this article out in the latest edition of Fangoria and elicit the same feeling of wonderment for the new, new Pepsi generation. FYI... nude scene... Caroline Munro... BE THERE!!!

-We are not going to discuss the Chuck Jones, animation great, article. It feels inappropriate at best to see Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck in Fango (unless they have grown tits or are covered in blood/gore).

-Scanners, Halloween 2 (no director set yet), Escape from New York all are about to come out. I don't think I realized that Escape from New York takes place in 1997. Hysterical. Oh yeah and a little picture called Zombie is about to come out (also Inferno with a "lavish production", whoa!)

Hey creeps... next issue... Gary Kurtz, the force behind The Empire Strikes Back!... I put a vomit bag under your keyboard. I know... the Star Wars/Horror magazine domination of the early 80's is more horrific and putrefying than anything Fango has written about so far. It gets better, promise.

Until then... may your vomit pails be full and your eyes remain in their sockets(even after you've attempted to rip them out).

- The Doctor Abides (where's the Ipecac?)

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