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Monday, March 1, 2010

SFX Magazine Does Horror!

I recently had a copy sent to me of the brand new SFX special magazine on horror, and would like to give you all a preview of what is a very impressive and jam-packed issue. My thanks to editor Ian Berriman, whom I really hope is able to pull off making this a much-more regularly published periodical.

Most of you may know SFX as a UK-based genre entertainment magazine, mainly dealing with fantasy and sci-fi. Imagine if Starlog and Empire had a baby. Anyway, from time to time they put out a special, and this latest one is entitled simply "Horror", and tackles our favorite subject head-on, in an oversized, glossy format that's to die for.

Think I'm just saying that because they sent me a free one? Well, check out some of what's inside:
  • The cover story is a countdown of the Top 20 Horror Villains, basically an expansion of a poll conducted on SFX's website. And while I'm peeved that the online voters predictably left off some of the more vintage baddies (Dracula is the only Universal monster included), it is a fine list nevertheless, with some pleasant surprises like Sadako, Pennywise and my main man Dr. Anton Phibes.
  • There's a very candid excerpt from Robert Englund's new autobiography, Hollywood Monster, in which he recalls first meeting Wes Craven, and how Freddy Krueger almost wore a newsboy cap instead of a fedora.
  • Rick Baker talks in-depth about his approach to designing the Wolfman makeup, not even pulling any punches with regards to some of his disappointment in the finished product. I thought it rocked, Rick.
  • The A to Z of Friday the 13th. B is for Betsy Palmer. S is Savini. You get the picture. Good clean fun.
  • Horror's Hidden Treasures is a superb piece in which 34 leading horror creators are asked to recommend a relatively obscure or underrated book/movie/whatever (although the obscurity of some is debatable). Clive Barker, for example, really wants you to check out Eyes Without a Face. Not the Billy Idol song, silly.
  • Writer Russell Lewin goes on a mad mission to make it through every single one of Britain's 74 infamous "video nasties". Best of all, the article gives a complete list, so you sickos can more easily track them all down yourselves!
  • Yet another superb piece, My Life in Horror, spotlights five beloved character actors/genre icons: Brad Dourif, John Saxon (Yes!!), Ingrid Pitt, Kane Hodder and Ken Foree. Worth the cover price alone. Well, not literally, but you get the idea. It's really good.
  • A suitably lurid and gaudy rundown of the delicious phenomenon of Spanish horror, including the likes of the late Paul Naschy, the Blind Dead series, The Awful Dr. Orlof, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, The Orphanage and lots more.
  • Not enough for you? OK, how about a piece on the history of American horror comics, spanning the EC days and Seduction of the Innocent, through the Warren magazines, DC and Marvel's '70s horror dalliances, the Vertigo boom, all the way to the present day genre of Steve Niles, Robert Kirkman and Mike Mignola.
There are tons more juicy tidbits throughout, but you get the picture. This is, in short, a fine publication that does the horror genre proud. Aside from the magazine itself, it even comes in a deluxe package that contains goodies like horror-themed pub coasters (Winchester, Slaughtered Lamb, etc.), Freddy and Jason pins and a vintage double-sided Halloween/The Thing movie poster. Having worked on special magazines like this in the past, I can tell that a lot of passion and care went into putting this together. I suggest you pick it up.


B-Movie Becky said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa, WHOA! That's so cool!!!!

B-Sol said...

This is why a really well-done magazine will always have something to offer, even with a billion horror websites out there.

James Gracey said...

I picked up a copy of this a little while ago. It was a GREAT read! My only grumble was I couldn't decide which side of the double-sided poster to put up... ;o)

Matt-suzaka said...

I have one on the way too and have been eagerly anticipating checking it out. Your giving it a severed thumbs up is a good sign too.

Splinister said...

Yes, it's a well put-together issue that shows a lot of thought.

It's a pity that editor Ian Berriman couldn't remember the phone number or emails for any of the many female horror writers, screenwriters or directors working in the genre, to give them equal attention to that granted to men in the issue. In particular you'll note that in the "Horror's Hidden Treasures" article Ian took the time to ask 34 men for an opinion, and neglected to ask even one woman.

As annoying as this was, and unfortunately it wouldn't be the first time, anyone can forgive a unconscious blunder.

I wrote about this last week on my blog, and emailed Ian for a response. I posted his reply, and my answer to him a few days later.

There was no acceptance of the mistake made, rather a line of ridiculous excuses that Ian thought might placate me and other women since, according to the opinion of his unnamed female supporter, "There aren't even that many female horror fans."

This is a classic example of How Not to Apologize.

Maura McHugh

Unknown said...

This SFX special really is superb and I hope it leads to them publishing a regular horror mag. The UK badly needs a quality horror magazine and I think these guys are definately the ones to do it right!
It maybe an idea for all horror fans to email SFX and request a regular horror mag. I know I'm going to!

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