More Bad Influences!
Three years ago, when I drew up a listing of various periodicals that
had helped inspire the content of this site, I figured I was committing
my biggest-ever waste of time. Nobody, it seemed, was interested in
magazines any more, or print media in general. What a surprise, then,
when LOOKING BACK ON
SOME BAD INFLUENCES went on to become one of my most popular
It was so popular, in fact, that I was
inspired to dig through my magazine collection in search of more
eighties and nineties-era bad influences. In truth all the really good
stuff was aired in the previous article, but most of the 31 mags
described below are worthy, even if all are, obviously, extremely dated.
ART? ALTERNATIVENo complaints here:
a magazine dedicated to alternative artists like Robert Williams, J.K.
Potter, Joe Coleman and
H.R. Giger--all guys I
like--with colorful reproductions of the artwork under
discussion and a bold, imaginative layout.
BONE SAWA graphic anthology edited by THE CROW’S James
FROM INSIDE’S John Bolton that’s very
much in the mold of TABOO and FLY IN MY EYE (see below) in its
concentration on all things freakish and grotesque. As such it’s pretty
strong, though far from the most potent anthology of its type. It seems
Bolton and O’Barr were warming up for bigger and better things that
never occurred, as BONE SAW only saw a single entry.
Full disclosure: I’ve only ever seen one issue
of this 1980s-era magazine dedicated to movie scoring--issue #15 from
1986--but it’s a good ‘un. I like it primarily because it features an
interview (reprinted from the L.A. READER) with the late Jerry
Goldsmith, who bitches at length about having his score for Ridley
Scott’s LEGEND replaced. As the interviewer makes clear in his preamble,
Goldsmith is “obviously upset” about the situation, and has plenty of
choice words about Scott…even though a decade later Goldsmith would
himself replace another composer’s score (for AIR FORCE ONE). Where, I
wonder, was CINEMASCORE then?
ECCOThis slim, text-heavy periodical explored “the
World of Bizarre Video,” and arguably did so better than PSYCHOTRONIC
and its ilk. True, ECCO’S formatting--three columns of eye-straining
text per page--was a constant irritant, but the articles and reviews
were usually always well written and informative, illuminating many of
the darker corners of the cult movie landscape (although to be quite
honest, I’ve had negative feelings about this ‘zine ever since I tried
ordering videos from outfits touted in ECCO’S editorials and got ripped
the fuck off!).
TRASH CINEMAAs with quite a few of the mags I used to
read, the once-revelatory info contained in EUROPEAN TRASH CINEMA has
long since been bested by innumerable books, blogs and DVDs focused on
the type of “Trash Cinema” ETC once had the exclusive dirt on. But it’s
important to remember that back when ETC was in its prime (in the early
nineties) it was the only truly worthwhile resource on the films
of Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Jess Franco, et al.
FANTACO 1991 HORROR YEARBOOKI only have this one edition of the
early-1990s FantaCo Horror Yearbook series, put out as an adjunct to the
once-thriving FantaCon Horror Conventions.
Truth be told, I never thought much of this periodical
back in the day, being taken up as it is mostly with ads and lists of
magazines, collectibles, movies and so forth, together with short essays
by Chas. Balun and FACTSHEET FIVE publisher Mike Gunderloy about the
evils of censorship (evidently a big concern back in ‘91). These days,
however, I find perusing THE FANTACO 1991 HORROR YEARBOOK a profoundly
nostalgic experience: its literary merits may be scant,
but as a 1991 time capsule it can’t be bettered!
FANTASTIC FILMSThis solid “Magazine of Imaginative Media”
thrived during the late 1970s and early 80s. In layout and content it’s
like a combination of STARLOG and FANGORIA--the very mags, it seems,
that did this one in--with articles and interviews about then-current
sci fi/fantasy/horror flicks.
FLESH & BLOODAnother stellar 1990s cult film oriented
publication from the UK-based FAB Press, who also put out the essential
EYEBALL. Like that mag, this one is extremely slick and well designed,
with much revealing info on films like AFTERMATH, A GUN FOR JENNIFER and
LOST HIGHWAY, as
well as the oeuvres of Tinto Brass, Stephen Sayadian and Bigas Luna.
IN MY EYEA young Steven Niles edited this TABOO-esque,
staunchly adult-oriented graphic anthology series that, if I’m not
mistaken, lasted four trade paperback formatted issues. The contents
weren’t as strong overall as TABOO, but there were some terrific entries
nonetheless. Bill Wray’s adaptation of Ramsey Campbell’s
autobiographical essay “At the Back of My Mind: A Guided Tour” was
fairly resonant, and a wordless photographic narrative by J.K. Potter
FORCED EXPOSUREAnother of those highly attitudinous punk
zines so popular during the nineties. This one is better than most,
largely because its interests stretch beyond the punk music scene. Issue
#17 is particularly strong, containing in-depth interviews with
Jodorowsky and author Rudy Rucker, as well as revealing book
reviews by the great Lewis Shiner.
PAGESA short-lived labor of love by editor John
Martin, who in this mag explored Italian exploitation cinema and its
leading practitioners (Argento, Bava, Fulci, Margheriti, Steele, etc)
long before it became fashionable. Much of the info contained in these
pages can now be found in more readily available books like SPAGHETTI
NIGHTMARES and IMMORAL TALES, but one wholly unique thing GIALLO PAGES
has in its favor is a lengthy 1992 interview with Quentin Tarantino,
wherein he talks exclusively about his enthusiasm for pastaland trash
cinema (with special attention given to Enzo Castallari’s INGLORIOUS
BASTARDS). It may just be the finest QT interview ever, and that’s no
As far as I know, this “Newsletter of the AMOK
Bookstore” lasted just one issue. That’s too
bad, as it showed definite promise.
The AMOK crew were more knowledgeable about freaky and
subversive books than anyone else, and that knowledge was fully evident
in THE HARBINGER. It contains revealing info
on William Cooper’s infamous conspiracy tome BEHOLD A PALE HORSE, Bill
Buford’s AMONG THE THUGS, John Gilmore’s Black Dahlia study SEVERED and
quite a few other worthwhile non-mainstream publications.
HORROR SHOWTo modern readers this mag reads like a
warm-up to the superior CEMETERY DANCE, and in truth that’s pretty much
what THE HORROR SHOW was. Edited by the popular horror scribe David B.
Silva, it was one of the first independently produced horror magazines
of the eighties. Its premiere issue appeared back in 1986, when the
genre was at its height, and its last a few years later, just as the
genre began its 90s-era decline.
As with the aforementioned CEMETERY DANCE, THE HORROR
SHOW contained serious-minded fiction, editorials and reviews. It was
never as strong as CEMETERY DANCE (or even MIDNIGHT GRAFFITTI), but
again, THE HORROR SHOW was one of the first out of the gate, and for
that deserves credit.
INIQUITIESOf the many literary horror rags listed
herein, INIQUITIES’ three issues are by far the glossiest. Printed on
expensive paper and filled to bursting with photos and illustrations
(and, in the special John Skipp and Craig Spector issue, an LP of Skipp
& Spector rock tunes), INIQUITIES was nothing if not slick. It was also
quite edifying in its knowledge of and enthusiasm for the genre; the
publisher and co-editor was the late Buddy Martinez, a mighty sharp dude
I was once lucky enough to work under (when Martinez oversaw the final
issues of GAUNTLET magazine).
So why was INIQUITIES so short-lived? I think it’s
because it appeared in the early nineties, the commencement of the
genre’s decade-long eclipse, and definitely the wrong time to
start up a horror mag!
REMAINSA nineties-era horror fanzine, and one of the
better ones. I admittedly never procured too many issues, but the few I
did pick up remain treasured possessions.
Among other things, it was from MORTAL REMAINS that I
learned the truth about the infamous snuff film scare that involved
Charlie Sheen, the GUINEA PIG: FLOWER OF FLESH AND BLOOD video and the
late Chas. Balun (the details of this account, as presented here, were
confirmed by Balun himself in a FUNERAL PARTY interview).
Fact: a couple of MORTAL REMAINS’
writers were called away to write for BLACKEST HEART magazine, one of my
favorite nineties’ underground publications, and in my view a definite
confirmation of MORTAL REMAINS’ qualities.
MOVIELINEI’m deeply embarrassed to admit I was once a
frequent reader of this uber-trashy movie mag, which appears to have
been aimed at readers who find the ENQUIRER too highbrow.
I’m referring, of course, to the old MOVIELINE
of the late eighties (when it began as a freebie given out at movie
theaters) and nineties, and not the fashion-oriented glossy it
later became. Back in its heyday MOVIELINE was without question the most
controversial movie-themed publication on the scene, notorious for its
questionable journalistic practices (ripping off titles and themes from
other mags, etc) and staunchly irreverent attitude.
And yet the mag had many fun features. It was one of
the first periodicals to feature the writing of the perpetually bitter
Joe Queenan, who’s pissed off more celebrities than seemingly anyone
else. MOVIELINE also ran an unforgettable 1994 interview with Charlie
Sheen, who it seemed was in the midst of his worst-ever meltdown (little
did we know…). Also featured was a column called “Life on the Edge”
by somebody named Christopher Hunt, a (real? invented?) Hollywood
sleaze who related his sordid Tinseltown misadventures (sexually
harassing a secretary, etc) in extremely frank fashion.
MOVIE MAKERI prefer the mid-1990s issues of this indie
film screed over its more recent, and much slicker, ones. Those early
issues have a definite homemade charm to them, and really succeed in
conveying the excitement and boundless possibility so many of us felt
about independent filmmaking in the nineties--an attitude far removed,
obviously, from the widespread cynicism and disinterest pervading the
indie film scene of today!
NECRONOMICONThis Andy Black edited “Journal of Horror and
Erotic Cinema” numbers six jam-packed installments. My own preference
will always be for the first two volumes from 1996 and ‘98 (full
disclosure: I have yet to get around to reading any of the subsequent
True, the essays contained herein are a
tad pretentious and intellectual for my tastes (I’ve said it before and
I’ll say it again: over-intellectualizing horror and exploitation films
is a BAD IDEA!), but the subject matter alone renders these must reads:
Jean Rollin, Marco Ferreri, Walerian Borowczyk, H.P. Lovecraft, H.G.
Lewis, Nazisploitation, extreme horror manga,
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW
MASSACRE, SE7EN, THE EVIL DEAD and much more, all profusely
illustrated with tons of revealing photographs.
NYCTALOPSOne of the few true collectors’ items on this
list, an unabashedly intellectual eighties era horror-themed periodical
that’s best known nowadays for the fact that it introduced the world to
Thomas Ligotti. As edited by illustrator Harry O. Morris, this mag was
highly idiosyncratic, with an overall love of surrealism and bizarre
fiction of any stripe.
Tracking down copies of NYCTALOPS isn’t easy (or
cheap), but I can assure you that doing so will be well worth your
PREVUEComic book legend Jim Steranko edited this
eighties-era movie mag (expanded from Steranko’s earlier MEDIASCENE),
which now reads like an unholy mash-up of PREMIERE and MAXIM. It
contained much gushing, publicist-friendly info on various (then)
upcoming movies, yet the overall focus was on hot, scantly-clad chicks
(with pervy layouts of eighties babes like Sybil Danning, Tanya Roberts,
Barbara Bach, etc). Of course, PREVUE’S primary attraction nowadays is
simple eighties nostalgia.
PROJECTIONSA 1990s-era British film journal, published as
a series of trade paperbacks, that was co-edited by the renowned British
filmmaker John Boorman. Of interest to us: a lengthy interview with MAD
MAX’S George Miller, a diary by Francis Ford Coppola made during the
production of BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, and another by Richard Stanley
covering the making of
All those things, FYI, come from PROJECTIONS’ first
three issues. After that it degenerated in quality, with Boorman and
co-editor Walter Donohue increasingly handing over the editorial reigns
to others, and quality control generally going out the window.
Correction: issue #5 was actually quite strong, containing
interviews with Henry Selick and Ray Harryhausen, a conversation between
Quentin Tarantino and Brian DePalma, and a piece on
Todd Haynes’ SAFE.
EYEThe Adam Parfrey edited APOCALYPSE CULTURE, a
still-potent anthology of real-life bizarrie, had a profound effect on
the underground. Among the offshoots of this seminal tome were the
Stuart Sweezey edited AMOK JOURNAL, Parfrey’s own CULT RAPTURE, the
HEADPRESS Journals and this thick three volume Simon Dwyer edited
In true APOCALYPSE CULTURE fashion, these books consist
of a potpourri of weirdness and subversion. The cumulative effect isn’t
as strong as it could be (frankly there are a lot of lesser entries),
but RAPID EYE still features damn good stuff, notably a lengthy
interview with screenwriter Paul Mayersberg and an excellent overview of
the books of T. Lobsang Rampa.
SAMHAINThis long-shuttered mag can no longer lay
claim to being “Britain’sLongest Running Horror Film Magazine,” but it
was one of the stronger ones (better certainly than SHIVERS!), with a
colorful layout, numerous opinionated articles and the expected
interviews with all the usual suspects (Romero, Cronenberg, Corman,
Craven, Jodorowsky, Gordon, etc).
STREETA mag dedicated primarily to pre-1960 horror
and mystery movies. You might ask why you should bother with this when
you can read the more popular FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND in its
place--and in truth you may well be better off doing just that. There is
some good stuff to be found in SCARLET STREET, however, including
several strong articles on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, all of them
must-reads if you’re a fan.
SCREEMA decent enough cult movie screed, though far
from an essential read. Still, I maintain that any mag containing
TETSUO, NEKROMANTIK, Alejandro Jodorowsky and a pre-LORD OF
THE RINGS Peter Jackson is at the very least worth a look.
CREWThis nicely formatted English
fanzine-turned-legitimate periodical was short-lived (though it briefly
attained infamy due to the fact that its August 1990 issue was
censored), but the few issues it turned out were memorable ones.
SKELETON CREW was concerned with, essentially, all things
horror-related, from comics (Neil Gaiman was interviewed), novels (so
too THE WASP FACTORY’S
Iain Banks), movies, art and so forth. That probably explains why it
didn’t last long: its focus was far too scattershot!
STARLOGStop that snickering! Yes, this kid-oriented
sci fi mag sucks, but it’s valuable to this website because a). I
used to read it all the time back in the eighties, so it must have had
some influence on how I write, and b). it directly begat
FANGORIA. I understand that back in the eighties STARLOG was by far the
bigger seller of the two, with FANGORIA viewed as its “sister”
publication--but by the end of the nineties those roles had been sharply
There’s admittedly not a whole lot in STARLOG of
interest to us (the reason I got rid of most of my back issues). Well,
okay, I do recall a couple of fun things: a two-part 1985 interview with
Harlan Ellison in which he cusses up a storm, calls BACK TO THE FUTURE a
“piece of shit” and bitches out his interviewer, as well as a Gene
Rodenberry profile in which he dismisses all religion as “idiotic
nonsense.” Both articles, you can be sure, caused substantial uproars
among STARLOG’S highly conservative readership.
VENICESorta like a low-rent L.A. centric knock-off
of INTERVIEW, complete with chintzy photo layouts of parties thrown by
VENICE’S staff and the many famous folks that attended, as well as
reviews of movies, CDs and DVDs by writers who never have a single
negative thing to say.
What makes this magazine worthwhile are the interviews
that make up the bulk of every issue. In this area the mag’s low-rentness
is actually a point in its favor, as VENICE’S publishers will include
interviews with pretty much any semi-famous person they can find,
resulting in revealing profiles on many interesting folk (as well as
quite a few losers) that the more exclusive INTERVIEW would never touch.
Best of all is the price: since its early nineties inception VENICE has
always been available for FREE at various L.A. locales.
WICKED MYSTICTruth be told, I’ve never read any issues of
this magazine--comprised, apparently, of “The Most Horrific Erotic
Literature Being Published Today”--and don’t know much about it. My
interest is solely in the Spring ‘96 issue, which contained the first
ever print listing for this site!
Yes, this is the long-running
TWIN PEAKS fanzine. I was admittedly never a huge fan of this
publication, or TWIN PEAKS in general (ditto THE X-FILES, another
program extensively covered in these pages). I do however like David
Lynch, and WRAPPED IN PLASTIC contained much info on his work outside
TWIN PEAKS, including a terrific article contrasting Lynch’s films with
those of Stanley Kubrick. Good stuff!