Sunday, March 27, 2011

Retrospective of Fear: Fangoria Issue #8 – Fulci Lives!

For $1.95 you could have owned one of the single most bad ass covers that Fangoria ever produced by a magazine creation company. Monsters… Aliens… Bizarre Creatures… AND ZOMBIES!!! Fangoria #8 features Fulci’s Zombie, “Beware the walking dead!” Solid white background with classic Fango lettering and, in the middle, the infamous eye socket full of worms and a half grimace of broken teeth. It is rotten (and rotting). It is disgusting. It is beautiful. You can truly tell that Fangoria established their horror identity in this issue. Here’s why.

The way you absolutely know that Fangoria has taken a turn to be the true horror specialty magazine that you know and love today is that Bob Martin bashes Gene Siskel in the head with a hammer. Repeatedly. Without warning. Martin talks about Gene Siskel’s review of none other than Friday the 13th. Not only does Siskel go out of his way to pan the movie and play the moral voice of American with his critique of its violent content (it’s a fucking horror movie you review slut!) he gives away the ending, demands an X rating and then encourages his constituency to write letters to the head of Paramount. The last thing the horror genre needs is a negative letter writing campaign from concerned parent groups who have forgotten what their privates look like much less what they’re used for. Martin, perhaps my new/old hero, gives the address to Siskel’s editor at the Chicago Tribune and encourages retaliation. I may just write a letter right now. Even though that pretentious fucker, Siskel, is dead. It would be my reverse phone call from the grave. “Hi, Gene? How’s the heart? Oooo… sorry to hear that. Hey, did you see that Friday the 13th is still alive and well in the box office with the recent remake? Ya. It outlived you, you bowl of ball wash”. :click:

Please send letters to:

Gene Siskel
c/o The Chicago Tribune
435 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.

Tell ‘em the doctor made you do it and make sure you include just how much you love Cunningham’s opus and Savini’s Crystal Lake Period. If you really do decide to do this make sure you get the check for an updated address for the Chicago Tribune… use Google.

Side note: Immediately following the editor’s note there’s an entry in the Postal Zone about a parent angry with Friday the 13th for labeling children with Down ’s syndrome monsters. I’m afraid some things probably haven’t changed. When is someone going to get on Hatchet’s Victor Crowley for having a cleft palate already? Jesus!

On to the movies and the magazine!

Fango interviews Scatman Crothers on his role in The Shining in which he talks about his relationship with Nicholson, the pain of falling repeatedly during the ax scene and the onset fear of the mighty Kubrik. There’s a delightful ditty that Crothers writes and sings to/for Kubrick while in the Overlook lobby and the last line is “Stanley always wins.” And you know he does. From a hotel in the Rocky Mountains to New York fucking city it’s ZOMBIE!
The opening of the article on this beloved zombie classic pays tribute to White Zombie, Night of the Living Dead and draws the distinction between the marketing efforts of Italian financiers and the legitimacy of the ties between Dawn of the Dead and Zombie. Fulci is smart to stay out of the whole marketing thing. It continues to bedevil new genre fans to this day. Sequel, prequel? Zombie, draws from voodoo origins but with Romero’s living dead aesthetic. I haven’t seen enough praise for Gianutto De Rossi for the makeup work that has haunted an entire generation of Zombie goers. Maybe it’s just that I live in America or that Savini seems to win out in the name dropping contest, but De Rossi creates some truly disgusting images without nearly as much recognition for his work. The article also unveils the origins of the zombie vs. shark sequence. Never let it be said that one shark trainer cannot become a zombie and battle a Great White shark. Bet the original actor who was supposed to play said zombie truly feels like a pussy today. The Great White was on tranquilizers for fuck’s sake! Who wouldn’t want to be in that scene (gulp)?

And in the article following that, kiddies, is a tribute to the Horror of Dracula and the recently deceased (at the time) Terence Fisher who ended his journey on this coil June 18, 1980. The readers gets a recap of the special effects efforts that made Dracula dissolve on screen which is a must read for effects dorks. Maybe it’s fitting that I’m writing this entry in the Fango Fright Night Retrospective as Michael Gough has just passed on as well. Bray Studios has passed. Cushing is no more. Lee is still with us, and I thank our lucky stars all of these fine fellows will be with us until the end of the earth.Bless celluloid and DVD’s and VHS. Bless them all. Sorry, sidetracked with emotion. In a somewhat related piece, Fade to Black’s Dennis Christopher shows up with a colorful spread featuring him in none other than his now infamous Dracula make up (the editor was not without a sense of continuity, eh?).

I won’t lie. The fact that Zombie is the cover piece juxtaposed with the interview with the Empire Strikes Back crew being significantly longer than the feature article has me concerned. I guess it’s the fucking holy trilogy right (the middle piece of the Human Centipede)? I’ll let it slide right by me like the ice planet Hoth and get my John Carpenter on. Bob Martin interviews Carpenter and discusses his “early” work. The financing falling through on Dark Star. Assault on Precinct 13 and how the little girl died so well. Carpenter says, “The really tough thing to do on this was to rig up the ice cream cone just right (so that it would blow apart, as if from the passing bullet)”. They also discuss the subsequent marriage of Carpenter to Adrienne Barbeau at which I can’t help but express my utter jealousy… why should Barbeau get to marry John Carpenter!? I mean… wait… I was fated to marry Barbeau the minute I saw her in Creepshow (several years too late I’m afraid). There’s gotta be a head shrinker who can tackle the double star crush involving but not limited to the elusive man crush… Bwahahaha!

You know what’s great about early and late Fangoria alike? They pay attention to the artists that create effects. I realize this may seem inherent to any publication dealing with things that just don’t exist in reality but putting a face to a name and a masterpiece is something truly special. Paul Blaisdell is featured in Fango 8 and recants the creation of monsters for Corman, his work on the Amazing Colossal Man, It!, Beast With a Million Eyes and the fabulous Attack of the Puppet People. Then we move onto another Science Fiction legend (and I don’t even mind because of the amazing horror coverage). George Pal (said to his bride I’m gonna give you some terrible thrills).

George Pal is responsible for some real classics including, of course, When Worlds Collide. He’s an Oscar winner and an innovator. Fango does a great bio piece on his early life, introduction to film and innovation in film by using… PUPPETOONS! Next time you catch the Time Machine on AMC you’ll thank your lucky stars Pal was the guy who brought it to you. If you don’t, a frickin’ Morlock is sure to get you. When Harryhuasen says that “working with George Pal was an enormous break in the beginning of my career. He was a kind and gentle genius,” you better listen and respect the Pal. Incidentally, Clash of the Titans is about to be unleashed on the world by Harryhausen so again, bow your head you filthy dog.

Tidbits: Does anyone remember Force Five? “An Ambitious new animated science-fiction TV series!” You’re welcome to discuss your feeling about this in our comment section below as Force Five is to Horror as Phrenology is to Medical Science (I truly hope that that holds up to the scrutiny of our readership… if not, drink more and continue reading until you forgot that I said it). The Beastmaster is about to begin production. Little does Don Coscarelli know that this film will be pivotal in establishing young Dr. Jimmy as a TV/movie watcher first and sports player/watcher second (possibly better to say dead last). Flash Gordon is on its way too. The tag line on this upcoming blip reads “Flash or Trash?” When they hear Queen’s soundtrack they’ll be forced to rethink that suggestion.

They finally got there. The whole horror thing will pan out and to date this lovely magazine will be followed by 296 issues of the best horror coverage your pennies can buy.

Keep buying back issues and we’ll keep reading them for you and telling you what we think the good parts are (it’s kind of a silly concept isn’t it?). Sad thing is the warehouse holding most of Fango’s back issues burned down leaving you with few resources to obtain this content. Guess we’re stuck together eh?

-Dr. Terror


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