"Exquisite Terror #5" Review
Written by Ryan Holloway
Published by Exquisite Terror
Illustrated by Leonardo Gonzalez
2017, 52 pages
Magazine released July 2017
If there’s one thing that brings horror fans together it’s a deeper understanding of the art form and a real passion for the origins and beginnings of things that live in the shadows or on the macabre side.
As horror films get more glossy and their small screen cousins become more like soap operas with perfect looking teens dealing with angst rather than delving properly into the subject matter, it's hard to find voices that speak to the fans, the people that understand the genre and live it like a religion.
Now on its fifth issue, Exquisite Terror is the ideal read for such fans. Edited by Naila Scargill and featuring some great design work, it harks back to the fanzine in the best possible way with interesting features and thoughts from a team of writers who clearly not only have a passion for the genre but are also very knowledgeable about it.
It’s an eclectic mix of features, starting off with a look at the movies of Dario Argento and the themes of eroticism and death. You know that any article dealing with themes of psychosexual repression is going to be delving deeper than most into the genre, and as a starting point for the issue, it's one that lets you know straight away that this is not for the fair-weather fan.
On the Trail of the Witchfinder is a very fond look at the world that Director Michael Reeves inhabited leading up to his untimely death, and then we move into stranger territory with Once Bitten, an intriguing piece on the ‘Queerness’ that exists in the werewolf film and the meaning that can be drawn from it, its eye-opening stuff.
In amongst the features there are some great interviews, the first of which is with the original editor of Fangoria Robert Martin. It’s a great look at the beginnings of an iconic magazine and how things changed for better or worse over its illustrious history.
God Bless America is a fresh look at the feud between Stephen King and the late Stanley Kubrick on the subject of The Shining and looks at the key differences that led to that infamous clash of the titans.
Another '70s classic that gets the retrospective treatment is The Omen as the writers look back on the script and the perfect setting of a Cold War weary America.
Impenetrable Sanity is a fascinating look at whether Hannibal Lecter would be legally declared insane if had actually existed, it’s deliciously technical in its approach, (pun intended).
We finish off with a very interesting interview with a friend of Robert Aickman, Ramsey Campbell, who shares memories of one of the unsung heroes of horror literature. It’s as touching as it is informative.
There is a wonderfully mature style to Exquisite Terror which is something of a rarity and although you may not always agree with the opinions within, this really makes the magazine all the more relevant in stirring up conversation and debate.
Not terribly accessible, but should certainly be recommended to any fan of horror to give them further insight into a genre that maybe they themselves don’t fully understand, a kind of introduction to the meaning of the themes of sex, political landscape, horror and their interconnectivity.
We’ll keep you posted on issue 6 but for now check out this new issue and the superb illustrations within.