"Fangoria - Volume 2, Issue #1" Magazine Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Published by Cinestate
2018, 114 pages, Reference
Released on October 10th, 2018
There was a time in my life when I had a lot more disposable income than I do now. I was working a few jobs, had more roommates than bedrooms, and had no responsibilities other than rent, utilities and groceries (all of which were dirt cheap when you had three jobs and four roommates). It was during this period I spent my money mainly on four things: alcohol, movies, and subscriptions to Rue Morgue and Fangoria.
As time went on, my priorities changed. I ended up with one job, bought a house, a car, and eventually narrowed down the roommates to none. With more bills (and my taste in alcohol maturing), I had to make sacrifices. With its subscription rate hitting about $50 a year and the quality of its content diminishing, I cut Fangoria from my life. At the time it was a no brainer. The internet was popping, my once-favorite horror mag wasn't, and if I recall correctly, the sub wasn't even monthly. It was less than 12 issues a year.
When Fango ultimately closed the doors to its magazine at the beginning of 2017 (with not even a print release since the end of 2015), I felt a tad responsible. I realize it wasn't all just me that caused its folding, but there was part of me that felt like maybe I should have at least alternated my yearly subscriptions between Rue Morgue and Fangoria. I grew up with Fango, after all, who was I to kick it to the curb? But at the end of the day, I probably wouldn't have changed a thing. Let's face it; those last few years of the magazine weren't the best as far as content. So when the return of the once-great genre mag was announced, I was cautiously optimistic. Having gotten my fat, grubby hands on the first issue, I'm genuinely excited about this new…chapter.
First, let's talk about the size of this sucker. When I learned that the new subscription price was going to be about $80 (currently on sale for $60) for four issues, my heart sank. With the competition of the internet, how on Earth could that cost be justified? I'll tell you how, over 100 pages of simply fantastic articles by some amazing writers and filled with those full-color pictures you know and love.
It's rare that I read a magazine cover to cover; there are just some features that don't interest me. But that certainly isn't the case in Fangoria's inaugural rebirth. After an introduction from the new editor-in-chief Phil Nobile Jr., there are plethora of fascinating articles that follow from not just topics that you'd expect – the upcoming Halloween sequel; the Suspiria remake; Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich – but also pieces from folks like the founders of the magazine Norm Jacobs and Kerry O'Quinn about how the magazine started; Tony Timpone talks about how he came on board; and Michael Gingold writes on how the column "It's Not a Horror Film" came to be. While these pieces might be old hat to some, it was new to me and I ate every piece up.
In addition to the terrific staff writers, there are several familiar names found in bylines of these pages: Don Coscerelli (Phantasm, Bubba Ho-tep), Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, Dead Night), Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, The Green Inferno), Grady Hendrix (Paperbacks from Hell, We Sold Our Souls), and a personal favorite, S. Craig Zahler (Wraiths of the Broken Land, A Congregation of Jackals), just to name a few.
One noticeable change is this updated Fangoria not only covers movies, but there is a really cool column centering on special effects called "How To…Slit Your Own Throat" in which Tate Steinsiek provides step-by-step instructions (with pictures, naturally) on how to create this effect. Man, I hope this is an ongoing column. The ellipses after the "How To" lead me to think it is.
There is even a short story from Chuck Palahniuk found in these pages!
I freely admit I had some reservations when Fango announced its return. Naturally I was happy for the magazine and its fans, but I was worried that it would be short lived if it did the same old thing that led to its closing. But I was wrong. So, so very wrong. It didn't knock on my door asking gently if it could come back into my life, it kicked that door down and put its foot on my neck demanding I give it another chance. And I will, and I'll be better for it. Fangoria is dead. Long live Fangoria.