Requiem for Lost Horror and CultáMagazines
By: J.R. McNamara on October 2, 2009  |  Comments ()  |  Share 
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I saw my first horror movie at a Wollongong Drive-In theatre, aged 4. I couldn't exactly tell you what film it was, but I am pretty sure it was a Hammer vampire film, and my mother, who thought I was asleep on the back seat, seems to think it was Dracula 1972AD. Tragically I didn't get to see another horror film until I was taken to see Jaws a few years later. In the meantime though, I was blessed by a gift from the Horror Gods.

Like most Australian families, traditionally my father would go to the local newsagency every Sunday to get the Sunday papers and would always bring me back a comic, except for the weekend after we had seen that Dracula flick. That weekend he brought me home something different... something like I had never seen before.

This Sunday he bought me home my first issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland.

Famous MonstersNow I cannot remember the actual issue that it was, but I can remember that the editorial was titled 'You Can't See the Forrest for the Trees', a true display of horror legend Forrest J. Ackerman's perfect puns, which was only have ever rivalled by Stan Lee's awesome alliteration abilities.

This magazine began an addiction to horror journalism that continues to this day. I collected Famous Monsters until its tragic demise, and started buying good ol' Fangoria, with which I have had a mostly happy relationship with for about 25 years.

I have to admit though, that my relationship with these magazines has never been a stable one. Like a sex addicted man stuck in an unhappy marriage to a frigid cow I have always been looking for a better magazine... which is why me and Rue Morgue have been seeing each other behind Fangoria's back.

During my time as a sufferer of movie magazine addiction I have seen many horror and cult magazines come and go - some great, some not so great. Sure, the internet may have been a factor in the death of some of these magazines, but also just the fact that they weren't good enough, or didn't have the right connections to outlast the mighty Fangoria, or the upstart Rue Morgue.

Here, I wish to celebrate some of the great deceased horror magazines, post Famous Monsters of Filmland... and I respectfully dedicate this article to Forrest J. Ackerman, who stoked the fire that is my love of movies, and turned it into a raging inferno.

Even though they were short run and now deceased, I chose not to include Toxic Horror or the original GoreZone as they were sister publications of Fangoria, and in my eyes, were just bonus issues of that mag, rather than truly their own entities.

The magazines covered aren't in any order, not of my preference or of longevity, and really are only present for the sake of my old friend, nostalgia, and in the hope that others remember this bunch of periodical miscreants as well...

Slaughterhouse  

Only 5 issues ever came out of this mag, It looked fairly professional, but lacked a lot of substance, but its attitude made it appealing. It covered the usual movies and novels, but also looked at comics and had horror fiction as part of its line up. It has a special place in my heart because it introduced me to the legendary Hideshi Hino, of whom I had previously been unaware.

Scream Queens International

This was an absolute cracker, published from 1993 to about 1999. Knowing that horror fans were usually single young men, this pushed the appropriate button of tits and blood. Being published and edited by Night of the Living Dead's John Russo gave this mag some immediate street cred. This mag didn't just celebrate the B movies that Scream Queens could be found in, but also the sexy starlets themselves, usually in the nude. The magazine initially featured just girls from B movies in the nick, but eventually just produced pictorials of 'potential scream queens' to keep the nudity factor up. It sat comfortably with magazines Femme Fatales and Draculina, and there has been talk of a comeback of it since 2007.

Filthy Habits

Tragically, this one lasted only 2 issues, from 2002 to 2003, and was produced by Trashfiend publisher, Stigmata Press. Whereas Trashfiend dedicates itself to horror and exploitation of the 60s and 70s, Filthy Habits sunk into the depths of sexploitation and porno flicks of that same era....with gusto.  These two issues had been full of great info, including a pretty substantial look at the career of Annie Sprinkle in issue one.

Fatal Visions

Fatal VisionsFatal Visions was one of our very own Australian mags and ran roughly from 1989 to 2000, but unfortunately only published 20 issues. It was a black and white affair which thankfully was fairly text heavy, and therefore informative. It gave Australian's a look at the entire horror and cult scene, and interviewed and profiled underground legends of all forms of underground cinema.

Black

A more recent affair, and tragically a short lived one. Black was an attempt to try a Rue Morgue-type horror lifestyle magazine in Australia. If Fiend Magazine has been published for so long, why not Black? Unfortunately it only survived for three issues, and didn't just cover movies, it also had a sick medical facts sections, which would make your toes curl and your penis shrink.

Terrorzone

TerrorzoneThis is the mag that most generation X horror fans look on with the most fondness. Published in Australia in the early 90s, it was a sister to metal music mag Hot Metal, and while it had good intentions, it was really only a light look at horror. It was picture heavy, and was the magazine that introduced me to the joys of author Richard Laymon, so bravo!!

This is obviously not a complete guide to the horror and exploitation and cult magazines of yore, but just a fond appreciation of those missing in action. I am sure many of you have cried 'Where's Fear Magazine', or 'Why no look at Horrorfan' or 'You IDIOT, McNamara, why couldn't you find it in your black heart to remember the UK's Samhain?'

This article could have quite comfortably gone on for many pages, and if enough interest is garnered, a second one could take place, as there were some mags that I wished to include, but couldn't due to an absence of available information.

I should add a special thank you to the now deceased comic and sci-fi shop The Land Beyond Beyond, from where I purchased most of these magazines from 1986 through to about 2002.

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