Welcome to Fangoria for Dummies Issue #13, the two year anniversay issue to be exact. If you're looking for horror movies on the cover of issue #13 you'll have American Werewolf in London and The Beast Within, but I'm not sure that Dragonslayer qualifies no matter which trio of super giants produced the film (LucasFilm, Paramount and motherfucking Disney). Hey, I guess it's a monster movie magazine too. I think I can get behind dragons as horror creatures. After all, Q, the Winged Serpent was a fantastic AIP picture (even if Q was really a deity from middle America). I can't believe the slight fantasy laden VHS cover of my youth could have kept me from it for so long. I'm sure there will be plenty of goodies inside to supplement the taste of our gore gore reader (remember last issue?). I'll say that in the note from Bob Martin this time around the old boy says that the magazine is evolving just as he had planned. Seems that just because a horror magazine hadn't gotten "juicy" before doesn't mean it couldn't. It will. This issue has a Romero interview which just makes me wet. Yes, like that... No, I'm not ashamed to get the bucket out.
I love the Postal Zone. I love that we get to rehash some old arguments and realize that the same issues have been going on since the beginning of horror history. For this issue, as always, we'll take a little insight from the editor and the fans. First off, the above captioned comment by reader and editor sums it up for me. All you need is the right horror flick at the right age with the right combo of trauma inducing moments and you've got a therapy session a week for the rest of your life. It's that simple (although more is better to cement the crazies). Second, Mr. John Squires over at one of my super faves, Freddy In Space recently posted a delightful piece about movies that Roger Ebert aka Fuck-Pig Numero Uno actually liked. While I realize that Mr. Ebert and all critics are entitled to their opinion, I love slamming him. I'm sorry. Since I was a kid I watched he and Siskel on television (when their show was on actual TV) and always found them a bit off-putting. Still, Siskel and Ebert ocassionaly have done a good deed or two for the horror community. One reader took time to give an informal score card of the horror opines of the dasterdly duo.
It's respectable to be certain, but there are too many films that these guys have used for punching bags too. I guess that we give them that power by reading or listening to their reviews and commenting on them. At least they look equally strange and make funny with the banter. Here's the FiS piece which is thoroughly enjoyable as always:
Beyond that Alex Gordon is back discussing some very Karloff-ian history. He touches one some of his lesser known films, The Haunted Strangler and Corridors of Blood. The most fascinating part of this article is Gordon quoting Karloff talking about horror films and calling them "fairy tales" and that the term horror is really a disservice to younger audiences who can easily decide for themselves what is right and what is immoral. I wholeheartedly agree. We lost Grimm somewhere around age eight to Pokemon (if not younger). We lost Aesop at age 10 if we even had him at all. The Bible... what Garden of Eden, Where!? What do we have left? Well you can either have a high pitch voiced talking mouse do it or you can have a guy with a drill turn up to your friggin' slumber party. Don't drink that beer, Jason Voorhees put you on the naughty list. Alex Gordon juxtaposes Karloff's quote with that of Herbert Kretzmer of the Daily Sketch who think that British censors didn't go far enough with the X rating bestowed on much of our beloved fare. He believed that horror, while it banked much dinero, was the lowest form of entertainment. I guess something can be said for that. After all,I'd be the first one at the public execution during feudal times. Badder ratings mean better ways to exploit those ratings for profit. Ban it in a few more countries and the kids will have to see the picture!
Now I can't say much about this next film, Mind Warp except that it's good to see a couple familiar names makin' movies. One is Roger Corman at the director position (who's second half of an interview have been postponed till next issue) and Sid Haig. You saw him in Coffy and Foxy Brown, now get a load of him in space gear! Roger Corman is unhappy as the rest of us STILL ARE with the MPAA. Here's an image they think the MPAA will cut and, also, above is Side Haig in some fancy Italian Space Suit shit.
1980's Gore Pre-CGI Brain Scalp Shot. The only set pictures that strike me this well from my childhood were from Fango's coverage of the Unholy and Demons 2.
So we've had Joe Dante under the gun in a recent Fango piece and now it's John Landis' turn. He seems less than thrilled that the Howling guys beat him to the effect "he" came up with 1969. I'm not entirely sure that I like him taking the credit for the transformation seen in the Howling especially with a talented fellow like Bottin doing the work. Then again, Bottin and Rick Baker did work closely. I love both transformations quite a bit. I like the Howling more as a film in its entirety. I like the werewolf in the Howling more (I guess I like Wile E. Coyote Mr. Landis). I think there's something about Dee Wallace I can get behind. You know John Landis is one guy I'm just not sure I understand. One minute we've got him talking about going to every monster picture he can catch even alone if he can't find anyone "stupid enough" to go with him and then he takes a movie like Friday the 13th and throws it under the bus. At least he and I can agree on one thing, Curse of the Werewolf starring Oliver Reed was crap. He's a smart guy and I love his films. Imagine getting Bottin and Baker to team up with Landis and Dante on a co-production? London werewolves vs. the wolves of California! This will not happen. I'm okay with that.
The Femme Fatale of the month is PJ Soles. This is an excellent choice that I would have made for the first Femme Fatale. I adore her. I wish her the best in all thingss. I hope to meet her someday at a convention or high school prom. Stripes was incredible and, shock and awe, I have never seen Rock N' Roll High School which still confuses me given my love of her, the Ramones and Rob Bottin (find the mouse!).
And there's Albert Finney in Wolfen. So it's a Howling, American Werewolf in London, Wolfen kinda year. All of 'em made it fairly big. I get minimally excited about Wolfen. There's no big reveal. The transformation isn't there. I'm actually glad that I saw this film older rather than when I was about eight years old like it's lupine brethren as it carries a particular resounding sociological message that wouldn't have been as apparent when I was wee. I'm also a sucker for Finney although not so much Gregory Hines. Nice wolves. Not much else to say. Moving on.
So when I read that there was going to be a set visit for the Beast Within I assumed something of interest would happen. Not much here guys. There's a fun story about a Bible being opened to a suggestive chapter, a failed stunt and yet another discussion of gore's place in cinema. It's really very boring and yet somehow there will be a second installment. To tell you the truth, other than a brief image in this book An Album of Horror Films I cannot remember much of the movie other than the film didn't hold up to the image in the book. I'll have to rewatch it. The poster art tells me so.
After a brief stop over with Ramsey Campbell and Charles L. Grant with a discussion of horror writing and how to make writing horrific rather than shocking, we get to the the GEORGE ROMERO INTERVIEW. Romero loves his 16mm film. He loves the idea of shooting Creepshow in 3-D but it won't come to pass and he knows it. He loves working on movies with a budget of $200,000 and under and would love to make another of that ilk. He also thinks that Cronenberg is finally getting the respect he deserves and that Don Coscarelli is definitely up and coming (IF funding comes through for Phantasm II that is). He also loves Tobe Hooper's Salem's Lot (and so do I) but lose the Kinski make up job. Overall you've got a man who's been in the horror biz for some years now and urges young filmmakers to dive in head first and learn the business, not just film making. He's all about the video cassette market. Wait till he sees what the 80's will bring. I'm got excited for him just reading his interview with full hindsight. It's not a terribly long interview and Fango themselves say they'd been trying to get it for some time. It comes out on the tail of Knightriders but not soon enough to catch up with Creepshow on a more intimate basis.
The second part of the horror comic article is about magicians in comics. While there are some obscure references to Tor and Dr. Fate there's nothing that gets you in the gonads. Kinda boring. Not even an image I would say was striking. It makes you long for the Dragonslayer feature... ooo and that's coming up next.
Now I know for a fact that I watched the Dragonslayer as a kid, but I couldn't tell you much about it. I seemed remember more of the Ewok films than this future classic. The effects budget were off the chain and had hundreds of people working on it. It had three major production companies in its corner. I just don't see the hype. I'm glad that Hollywood decided to give dragons a good serious try and that they wouldn't abandon them along the way. We all know the dragons in Harry Potter are beyond phenomenal bordering on more terrifying than some horror movies released in recent years. It's probably at least part personal flavor for my monster picture that Dragonslayer doesn't stand out to me. I'll give it another go around with my daughter. I still thin Ewok's Battle for Endor is scary so why wouldn't this get a little cred.
Carl Fullerton is the man you hire when Tom Savini is busy or at least that's what the director of Friday the 13th Part II did. Steve Miner gave Fullerton a shot on this one and it came out swimmingly (save the fucking MPAA putting their razor to some of the best sequences). What I got on this piece about the man that would be Tom Savini's replacement was that effects work is more like apprenticeship/guild work in the medieval weapon making. I'd say it's one of the few professions left that really hangs on to the legacy and maybe more trades would be better to do so as well. Fullerton will go on to work in many significant films including Warlock, Friday the 13th Part III and some big name movies that you may never have heard of (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia...). This guy did the original make up for the Coneheads on Saturday Night Live based on Akyroyds sketches. Nuff said.
In the works are everything from Cat People to stills of the Howling. Madman, Blade Runner, Videodrome, Deadly Blessing and a friggin great contest for Romero fans. See below:
Remeber that little piece I did during the month of October about the great novelization of horror films? Well this is the creme de la creme. My quest continues. Also, Dead & Buried by genre favorite Dan O'Bannon had all but disappeared at this point with no sign of release until Avco/Embassy stepped in to do the distro. What a creepy little film.
I'll leave you with the promise that the next issue should include the a recap of the second half of the Corman interview. We should also be seeing more of Dead & Buried and American Werewolf in London as well as STUDENT BODIES!!! I know you can't wait for that one. Hilarious. Here's some portfolio work from the great Bernie Wrighston form his Frankenstein portfolio. I adore this man's work. I really need to collect it. I really need to become indepedently wealthy. Ce la vie!