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The Story Behind the Return of the World’s Scarcest Monster Magazine

By Cyberschizoid (AKA Richard Gladman)

Back when I was a kid growing up in a dull backwater town somewhere in England one of my greatest pleasures was reading and collecting monster magazines. From an early age I was addicted to such titles as House of Hammer, Quasimodo’s Monster Magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland (via mail-order only) and Starburst. But as far as I was concerned one of the greatest of them all was Monster Mag, a full colour, glossy, 16 page magazine which folded out into a giant 2ft by 3ft poster depicting gory scenes from the latest horror movies of the time. Aside from the bloody contents, youngsters like myself were lured into buying Monster Mag by the tawdry taglines which invariably featured on the front cover; “FOR SALE TO ADULTS ONLY!”; “AND LOTS MORE FULL GLOSS GORE!” and “OPEN IT OUT IF YOU DARE!”

The magazine was launched in 1973 by Roger Cook and ran for fourteen issues. It was then briefly revived by publishing legend Dez Skinn for three issues before morphing into Dez’s now iconic House of Hammer horror movie mag. Even as a kid I quickly became aware of who the writers and editors of these various publications were and Dez Skinn became something of a role model and inspiration to me. Fast forward too many years to mention and I finally got to publish my own monster magazine, Space Monsters, which pays homage to its illustrious predecessors, particularly Famous Monsters, House of Hammer and The Monster Times.

But even with the success of Space Monsters I was still not quite satisfied. For years I’d harbored the idea of producing my own Monster Mag-style poster magazine, even long after they were no longer in vogue; I had a great name for the mag, a strong idea of the cover design and a whole bunch of gory movies I wanted to feature over several issues. I got some quotes from my printer to check if it would be financially viable and had a sudden brainwave! Instead of just copying the concept and format of Monster Mag, why not try to revive the original title itself; literally just picking up where volume 2 number 3 had finished back in 1976?

I figured that I had to find out who owned the rights to the Monster Mag title and began to put the feelers out over the social networks. All roads appeared to lead back to Dez Skinn and so I started to think about the best way of approaching my childhood hero. Now, life can sometimes take a rather serendipitous path and just a few days after my “brainwave” I was sitting at home waiting for the torrential rain to stop before heading to the local post office to collect a parcel. The rain continued but I decided to brave the elements and run up to the post office before it closed. Once there, one of the customers in the queue questioned me about the shoulder bag I was carrying, which just happened to be from FrightFest. As I began to explain about the festival it dawned on me that the man I was talking to was none other than Dez Skinn himself! To cut a long story short, I introduced myself and we popped to the pub for a quick pint and a chat whereby I brought up the Monster Mag idea. As luck would have it, Dez still had the rights to the title and had occasionally pondered the idea of reviving it himself only to dismiss the thought as he didn’t believe there would be enough people interested to make it worthwhile. After discussing the various print magazines, websites and classic horror movie festivals and screenings which have proved successful even throughout the recession, it was agreed that there is indeed a massive potential audience of loyal fans who would love to see a Monster Mag revival.

There is more of this tale to tell, including the obstacles Dez Skinn had to overcome to recreate the long-lost English language version of Monster Mag issue 2 but I will leave that to the man himself – if he ever gets time between his numerous exciting projects!

You can order MONSTER MAG #2 from EBAY and DEZSKINN.COM

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SPACE MONSTERS‘ DEDICATED MONSTER MAG PAGE

SPACE MONSTERS available from CLASSIC HORROR CAMPAIGN

SPACE MONSTERS DIGITAL available from DEAD GOOD NEWSSTAND

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  KONTINENTAL X is a fascinating old-skool fanzine for fans of 70’s British horror, Euro-sleaze, old monster magazines, UK weekly comics and other esoteric nostalgia written and published by Cranston McMillan. You can pick up back issues of KONTINENTAL X for only £1 each (!!) from the Strange Vice online store so hop on over there and start collecting!

 Kontinental X Dark Shadows

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