Ah, the horror magazine....such a major player in my formative years. The yellowed, smelly newsprint pages...the poor quality photos...the bad jokes. I pored over issues of Fangoria repeatedly, getting excited about movies I wouldn't see for years, getting grossed out by graphic photos from movies like Fulci's Zombi- we are going to eat you! While Fangoria aided in my education about modern horror, it was Famous Monsters of Filmland that taught me about actors and horror movies from yesteryear, like Christopher Lee and Boris Karloff. Photos of Lon Chaney in London After Midnight scared the bejesus outta me and they do today, a bit. I still have yet to see that movie- I don't even know if it exists anymore. Any issues of FM I still have from way back are all cut up and full of holes. If I wasn't cutting out pictures of the Creature from the Black Lagoon to hang on my bedroom wall, then I was cutting out coupons to send away for stuff. A tiny plastic coffin on a chain, filled with real dirt from the grounds of Castle Dracula? Yeah, got that- and according to that link, it's ranked as the #1 Weird Dracula Item, which is pretty awesome. A jacket just like the Viper pilots wore on Battlestar Galactica? Yeah, I had one of those too, and I loved it. According to my mom, she'd have to make me take it off at night when it was bedtime, but in the mornings I'd come downstairs wearing it over my pajamas.
That was all Way Back When, of course, and those magazines were pure gold to a 10-year-old. I haven't looked at an issue of Fangoria in forever, but from what I understand it's currently little more than stapled-together press releases...but then, was it ever anything more than that? The incarnation of Famous Monsters that I grew up on- which were basically just re-prints of articles from the magazine's early years- has been dead for a while now. Apparently it's still around, albeit under duplicitous circumstances.
So what's the savvy horror fan to read in today's workaday world? I can't recommend Rue Morgue magazine highly enough, my friends. It's exactly what you want a horror magazine to be: it's smart, it's well-written, and the folks behind it are passionate about the genre. Rue Morgue goes beyond the current big-screen releases and features articles on topics as varied as HP Lovecraft, the films of the Quay Brothers, and Roger Corman. Despite what you're thinking, I'm not a Paid Celebrity Endorser- I'm just happy to have a horror magazine available that I can get into. In fact, I tend to tote around the newest issue with me for weeks on end.
In this month's issue, #54, there's a nice feature on video game horror. I was surprised by some of the titles that they covered: yeah, sure, we all played Friday the 13th on the original Nintendo system, but did you know that before there was a pixelated Jason there was a pixelated Michael Myers...and a pixelated Leatherface? Yep, back in 1983 Wizard Games produced cartridges based on Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the Atari 2600!
I want to know who that dude in the leisure suit is- taking potshots at Leatherface?! Action-packed, baby!
The moral of this story is, start reading Rue Morgue. And tell 'em Final Girl sent ya! No wait- scratch that. They have no idea who I am.