Posts Tagged ‘Famous Monsters Retro’
Horror movie magazines; I’ve been reading them ever since I was a kid back in the days of Monster Mag, House of Hammer and the very first issues of Fangoria. They were my doorway to the classic monsters, exploitation movies and brand new horror films that I was way too young to go and see at the local cinema in the days before videos, dvds and the internet. You would think that in this modern age of advancing technology these magazines would have died out, completely replaced by websites, “aps” and digital downloads. And yet you couldn’t be further from the truth! There are more monster movie magazines being published in print than ever before and for fans of classic horror films of the ghoulden age the choice of publications geared specifically towards this end of the market is phenomenal!
It’s hard to pick out which magazine is the leader of the pack in terms of classic horror film and nostalgia-based coverage since they all have their own particular strengths. In the UK we have Bedabbled! which focuses specifically on British horror and cult cinema. What is interesting about this journal is that it delves deeper into the more obscure films, pushing aside the obvious Hammer and Amicus coverage in order to look at some of the mostly forgotten or ignored genre gems such as Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly (1970) and Nothing But The Night (1972). You can read our exclusive interview with Bedabbled! editor Martin Jones here. Also from the UK is Cinema Retro, which celebrates films of the 60′s and 70′s. Admitedly, their coverage crosses all genre boundaries but if you are a fan of classic cinema you must seek out this magazine and their analysis of classic horror films is extensive.
Over in the US there seems to be a whole bunch of cottage industries built around classic horror film coverage with a plethora of magazines devoted to our favourite old monster movies. The worlds first regular fantasy film magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland began way back in 1958 and has gone through various incarnations over the years but one of its most interesting spin-offs is the irregular publication Famous Monsters Retro. Back in the early 70′s, due to the publication of a FM spin-off called Monster World, the original Famous Monsters magazine jumped from issue number 69 to 80. Now Famous Monsters are filling in the gaps with these retro-styled magazines, produced and featuring content as if it were still the 1970′s! Pulp paper and bad puns included! The most recent issue however, featuring the never-published “final issue” of 1982 FM#192 has been heavily criticised over at the Classic Horror Film Board magazine forum for its poor quality printing and photo reproduction.
And speaking of Famous Monsters of Filmland, former FM editor Ray Ferry now publishes his own classic horror film magazine Freaky Monsters. Taking its approach from the ghoulden days of the original Famous Monsters mag, Freaky Monsters’ layout is virtually identical and is full of Forry Ackerman-style puns and wonderful images from the early black and white movie classics.
A nostalgia fans dream, Scary Monsters magazine is published quarterly by Dennis J. Druktenis, is printed on old-school style pulp newsprint and really captures the look and feel of those old monster movie magazines of yesteryear. Scary Monsters is now in its 20th year and is more popular than ever with its focus on fandom, monster memories and the classics although it reminds me more of the old Quasimodo’s Monster Magazine from the 70′s than Famous Monsters of Filmland…but that’s no bad thing!
Monster Bash is a glossy black and white publication which stems from the phenomenally popular Monster Bash Classic Monster Movie Conference which takes place on various dates and at different venues across the United States. Now published quartely, Monster Bash is a nice, simple, nostalgic magazine with an emphasis on classic monster movies and television shows from a black and white era. It includes some lovely personal reminiscences from fans and film makers alike alongside some beautiful stills and rare photographs.
Undying Monsters is a relatively new kid on the block currently approaching its fifth issue and once again nostalgia is very much at the forefront of this publication both in its look and its content. Undying Monsters specialises in old-school “filmbooks”, retelling the full plotline of a classic horror movie illustrated with numerous stills and screen shots. The magazine’s strengths are the superb visuals and its obvious love and knowledge of the subject matter. Although some fans question the need for “filmbooks” in this modern age I think they are somewhat missing the point since these magazines are purposely harking back to a bygone era with nostalgic affection.
For those classic horror film fans looking for a magazine that delves a little deeper than just filmbooks and nice visuals there are two that immediately spring to mind that should cater to their needs; Monsters From the Vault and Little Shoppe of Horrors. Monsters From the Vault is published twice a year and features in-depth articles on old horror and sci-fi films from some of the best writers in the business. Editor and publisher Jim Clatterbaugh says ” Monsters From the Vault’s sole purpose is to keep the memories of the monsters of my childhood alive and well “ and he has most certainly succeeded in his aim.
One of the most respected genre magazines on the market, Little Shoppe of Horrors has been running since 1972. Each issue is so detailed that it is more like a book than a regular magazine. The emphasis has always been on Hammer Films but coverage has extended to Amicus and other British horror over the decades and some issues focus exclusively on one aspect of the genre. Particularly coveted by classic horror film fans are special issues focusing on the Amicus film company, the making of Blood On Satans Claw and Hammer’s 70′s Dracula movies. The latest issue takes an in-depth look at Hammer’s most recent release The Woman in Black.
Finally, honourable mentions go to the excellent Mad Scientist (giant monsters, classic Dr Who and sci-fi), Creepy Images (a German magazine with English text focusing on exploitation movie memorabilia from the sixties to the eighties), Filmfax (cult movies, b-movie stars and pop culture nostalgia) and Mondo Cult (an eclectic collection of articles covering the whole cult and classic movie spectrum). Most of these magazines are now available to buy in the UK from specialist stores such as Forbidden Planet and The Cinema Store as well as via mail-order from the exemplary Hemlock Books. So if you’re a fan of classic horror, science-fiction and fantasy films treat yourself to some copies of these magazines, kick off your shoes, pour yourself a glass of wine and take yourself on a trip to nostalgia heaven.
Article by Richard Gladman
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