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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

We Belong Dead #9: Return of the Phantom Fanzine!


We Belong Dead is a classic horror magazine that reared its monster mask in the mid 90's and eventually went back into a state of suspended hibernation shortly thereafter. It went to dust and the years were long. Not having been a reader of WBD at the time, I can only recant the story that I've heard, but I am here to tell you that We Belong Dead did not die on that fateful day in 1996. It has emerged and ready for you to enjoy it in all it's monster kid glory. Issue #9 reviewed here for your consideration.

In the spirit of fan magazines focused around monster movies and classic horror, We Belong Dead focuses on older movies. Not forgotten gems per say but movies that continue, to this day, need fleshing out. These movies need their mythology, and fans need to be told it around the "campfire" of pulp paper or internet depending on how you acquire your periodicals these days.

From the We Belong Dead FaceBook group (in their own words):

Rising from the ashes of "We Belong Dead", the fanzine of the classic age of horror! In the words of the immortal Count "I bid you welcome". Welcome to a world of cobwebbed castles, fog shrouded streets and eerie graveyards. Welcome to a world where Karloff was the Frankenstein monster, where Christopher Lee was Dracula and Peter Cushing was the evil Baron Frankenstein. To a world where Lon Chaney Snr lurked beneath the Paris Opera House and Lon Chaney Jnr became a wolf when the wolfbane bloomed. Where Lugosi listened to the children of the night and Charles Laughton evoked our sympathy for the unfortunate bell ringer of Notre Dame.

A long forgotten age when Kong ruled Skull Island and Vincent Price held sway at the Masque of the Red Death. An age when Nosferatu repelled us and the Vampire Lovers attracted us. When the good Dr Jekyll became the evil Mr Hyde; when Karloff became Im-Ho-Tep; when Lee battled the devil as the Duc de Richleau; when Cushing was Dr Terror and Price was abominable as Dr Phibes.

Explore the House that Dripped Blood, the House on Haunted Hill, the House of Dracula and the House of Dark Shadows. Once again marvel as Dracula rises from the grave, Frankenstein creates woman, the devil rides out, the House of Usher falls, the Wolfman meets Frankenstein and the zombies have a plague...Welcome to WE BELONG DEAD!!!



Let's talk about what you'll find between the pages as brought to you by Editor, Eric McNaughton, and his staff of writers/true horror fans.

Jean Rollin is back in the spotlight after all these years. While well known to the cult horror crowd, Rollin has started to permeate the greater consciousness with a recent release of his work on Blu-ray. WBD publishes a "lost" interview with Rollin where he discusses his take on film and even a nugget or two about Jess Franco and Zombie Lake. This interview is still relevant and is a definite issue highlight.

The Hammer Dracula retrospective goes through each installment in Hammer's rather lengthy series, rating each film and offering commentary on each one. While I am a fan of each entry featured in this very special incarnation of the the great Drac, I find that some of the ratings offered to each film are a bit generous (I'm looking at you Dracula AD 1972). It's a great way to get familiar with each movie and introduce yourself to some classics you may have missed along the way. Similarly, another writer takes a look back at his favorite Ripper films throughout the ages. Some of these you may have missed.  Definitely an informative read.

By far my favorite piece centers around the Amicus portmanteau pictures of the 60's and early 1970's. One might expect me to have a certain fondness for this period of film making especially when I took the namesake for my blog from its first entry, Dr. Terror's House of Horrors. The look back at these films is done through the filter of an exploration of Peter Cushing's work, a fascinating man who intrigues me almost as much as the characters he portrays.

There are features on toys (or model kits actually), horror memories, a horror-on-FaceBook highlight article, and a look at the Classic Horror Campaign conquering the UK. Twins of Evil (which we previously reviewed in its Blu-ray release through Synapse) gets the retro treatment. Salem's Lot, the ultimate horror fan movie, gets the nod and look back. Night of the Demon is pitted against its original source material which made this writer want to take the time to actually read the source materials. I think that not having read it but enjoying the movie so much and even wearing a T-shirt featuring the movie makes me a lazy horror fan. Witchfinder General, one of the more controversial movies of its time, gets a retrospective. There's even a piece on returning a King Kong statue to its rightful home. Make sure you enjoy the Tombs of the Blind Dead series retrospective; you're gonna learn something.

Overall what you're looking at are memories and pieces of history told by adoring fans and writers who have an excellent grasp of the time in which these movies originated and with the place they play in horror today. The entire magazine is framed with black and white photos featuring movie posters, some popular some rare and thought provoking, emotive shots. There's a buffet of content; WBD does not read like a horror album or picture book for the kiddies. This is an intellectual mag by fans. More than the fanzine that it claims to be.


You can follow We Belong Dead on FaceBook HERE and pick up the magazine by email at wbdmagazine@yahoo.co.uk.

Make sure you support good ol' fashion horror publication written by fans of the genre.

-Dr. TERROR


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