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Fangoria: three hundred tomes of terror

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Keeping it nasty for over three decades...

Fangoria 300

Long ago. The grotesque, grinning face with disturbing eyes and way too many teeth leered at me in the darkened recesses of the newsagents that I had walked into looking for something to read on the bus home. Nestled among the dozens of other titles competing for my attention, the single word emblazoned across the top of the magazine cover – Fangoria – both intrigued and entranced me enough to pick it up and hand over my hard-earned pocket money so that I could discover what delights awaited me within its glossy, gory pages.

The magazine in question was issue 41 of Fango, featuring a still from the Jacksons' video for their single 'Torture' on the cover (along with smaller, bloodier pictures from Tales From The Darkside, Chud and Titan Find in the soon to be familiar film strip that ran down the left hand side), and marked the beginning of my love affair with the publication that has lasted 25 years so far, and is every bit as passionate and satisfying today as it was back then.

Fangoria 41Now, a quarter of a century after that fateful discovery, Fango has just published its 300th issue, an incredible achievement for any monthly niche magazine, but even more so in our modern age of ebooks, blogs and online sources of free news and articles.

First appearing on news stands 32 years ago with a cover featuring Godzilla, Fangoria has managed to consistently maintain its dizzyingly high standards of horror movie coverage, book and video, laserdisc, DVD and Blu-Ray reviews (the formats may have changed over the years, but the enthusiasm for their content hasn’t), and latterly video game coverage, while blazing bloody new trails in the realms of fan conventions (their legendary Weekend of Horror shindigs), movie production (their debut effort, the Bruce Campbell-starring Mindwarp, came out in 1990 on their now defunct Fangoria Films imprint), and innovative digital content, including their ever expanding website and their plans to make all of the magazine’s back issues available in digital download format, which, given that all of their remaining physical back issue stock was destroyed in a warehouse fire in December 2007, may now be the only way fans can get their hands on some of the older landmark issues without paying ridiculous eBay prices.

Fangoria - PredatorOver the years, I’ve often been found grinning like a lunatic as Fango has provided some of my own horror movie landmarks. I remember gasping at my first look at Stan Winston’s incredible Predator makeup, being delighted at the news that Freddy wasn’t, in fact, dead and would be returning to redeem himself in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, and almost jumping for joy when I found out that none other than Rob Zombie, who had thrilled me with his gloriously retro House Of 1,000 Corpses was resurrecting my favourite masked maniac Michael Myers (until I actually saw the movie, that is, neither version of which, the theatrical cut or the leaked workprint, was a treat).

Through Fango's Nightmare Library I’ve discovered dozens of authors who have become favourites, among them Brian Keene and Richard Laymon, and the Video Eye of Dr Cyclops has encouraged me check out more than a few movies that might otherwise have passed me by.

Even during the lean genre years of the early 1990s, when such classic horror movies as The Silence Of The Lambs were being marketed as thrillers, and Batman Returns and the Addams Family featured on the cover (both decent movies, but not exactly horror), Fango continued to serve up intelligent and informative retrospectives of older treasures with a nice Chianti while aggressively supporting the ever growing underground film making community.

Fangoria 300The brand has also found its way into the mainstream consciousness, appearing in comedy shows like BBC’s The Young Ones (in the 1984 episode ‘Nasty’) and The Simpsons (the 1996 ‘22 Short Films About Springfield’ entry), movies like Friday the 13th 3-D (1982) and Seed Of Chucky (2004), and even music videos, being name checked in the opening credits for My Chemical Romance’s clip for 2004’s 'I’m Not OK (I Promise)'.

Thankfully horror is now firmly back in its rightful place as a respected genre, with Darren Aronofsky’s beautifully horrific Black Swan even tipped for Oscar success, and Fangoria continues to go from strength to strength. So to mark my favourite magazine's 300th outing I raise a glass of deep red claret to all who have worked for her over the years, and have made my life (and the lives of many, many others) immeasurably more interesting. Here’s to the next 300 issues!

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Comments 

 
#1 Congrats, Fangoria! Caleb Leland 2011-02-08 18:39
If they ever stop printing this magazine, it will be a sad day for horror fans everywhere. I will say, I have been disappointed with their coverage of the Twilight films, but I guess, you have to include vampires of all types.
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