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AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Fangoria Scream Greats – Beetlejuice

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies with tags , , , , , , on October 21, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

It’s Monday, time for another Scream Greats poster. This one was inside Fangoria #76 from 1988 and it features a great image of Beetlejuice.

Just a few issues earlier, in Fangoria #74, also 1988, they featured a set visit to the movie.  The cover page to the article featured an alternate version of the Scream Greats photo.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Fangoria Movie Friday: Christine

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, books, Fangoria, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, magazine, movies, pop culture, Stephen King with tags , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

Every year around Halloween I try to fill in the gaps in my Stephen King reading. I’d read a bunch of his books back in high school and in college, but then I lapsed for a while. So a few years ago I decided around Halloween each year I’d pick up a book I hadn’t read of his and read it for the spooky season. Over the last 10 years or so I’ve read the uncut The Stand, The Talisman, Salem’s Lot, The Shining and Needful Things. This year, I decided to finally read Christine. And since I’m reading the book, I thought I’d watch the movie as well, seeing as how I’d never seen it.

book movie

I was always fascinated by the idea of the story and was eager to dig in. I read the book first. And the book is actually a lot longer than I was expecting. The copy I read had over 500 pages. It’s typical early King, long on setup. But once you get past the halfway mark, things amp up considerably.  But don’t take that as a disparaging remark to the first half.  The fact that King takes the time to set up the concept and we get to live with the characters a little while, it makes the events in the end really affect the reader.  You know and care about the characters, so the horrific events at the end hit you hard. Since King is playing the long game we really get to know Arnie and when the changes start coming you can really see it.  Little events build up to bigger events until it all snowballs in the end to, honestly, catastrophic results.  And I like the motivations and explanations of Christine here in the novel.

I really enjoyed Christine as a horror novel and a King novel.  Is it my favorite?  No, but I’m glad I read it.  The next King book I’m going to tackle will probably be The Dark Half.

So after reading the book, I watched the movie.  Directed by John Carpenter, who was originally supposed to direct an adaptation of King’s Firestarter a few years earlier but it fell through.  After reading the book, I was a bit disappointed with the slightness of the movie.  I get it, it only has like 2 hours to do what King did in 500+ pages, I totally acknowledge that.  Carpenter’s directing is pretty great.  The movie is shot fantastically.  The car looks awesome.  I love the burning car sequence.  It’s just so relentless and horrific looking.  Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed with how the movie answers the motivations of Christine.  It’s different than the book and it just feels so…bleh.  It was evil from the day it was made?  Really?  Huh.  I didn’t love that, but I really liked the kids in the movie and overall I’m happy with how it turned out, but not surprisingly, I prefer the book.

Fangoria did cover Christine a few times.  With several articles.  The movie got a cover story in Fangoria #32 in 1984.

Fango 32 cover Fango 32 article

King’s novel would get a review in Fango’s Nightmare library a few issues earlier, Fangoria #30, in 1983.

Christine novel review 1 Christine novel review 2

It’s a positive review, for the most part, but the author uses so many metaphors it’s tough to really say for sure.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Fangoria’s Monster Invasion column

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, magazine, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , on October 17, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

Let’s talk about Fangoria’s Monster Invasion.

Fangoria ran the Monster Invasion column for years. It was a collection of rumors and up-and-coming news for movies, TV shows, books, etc. Most of the news revolved in some way around the horror genre, but it would occasionally cross over into sci-fi, fantasy, etc. Actually, many of the Fangoria family of magazines would run a similar column. One of my other favorites was Comics Scene’s “Comic Screen”.

Anyway, I combed through a few choice issues and found some neat news tidbits from within the Monster Invasion column.


Here’s an item from Fangoria 23, 1982.  It mentions Stanley Kubrick’s next movie.  He had directed The Shining in 1980 and everyone was speculating what would be his next movie.  This says that Arthur C Clarke’s 2010, the sequel to Kubrick’s 2001, is on his production slate.  That movie would get made, in 1982, with Peter Hyams as director.  It also mentions that John Milius (Conan, Dirty Harry) just finished an original script that would be Kubrick’s next.  I’m not sure what that Milius project was supposed to be, but Kubrick’s next movie wouldn’t be released until 1987, FIVE years after this article.  And it would be Full Metal Jacket.


This one jumped out at me mostly because, as I write this, I’m reading Stephen King’s Christine for the first time. This article starts off telling us that Universal has canceled their plans for a John Carpenter directed adaptation of King’s Firestarter. Which I would’ve loved to have seen.  The article then mentions that this cancellation may have been initiated by the poor box office returns of Carpenter’s The Thing!  Which seems absurd now because The Thing is considered a horror classic.  Anyway, the article goes on saying that Carpenter has another King adaptation in the works, for the upcoming novel Christine which, at the time this article was written, hadn’t come out yet.  But we now know that Carpenter’s Christine would indeed come out the very next year in 1983.


A few issues later we get some followup on Firestarter. Universal is moving forward with Firestarter and Mark Lester was picked as the director. And that is how the movie would actually move forward. The screenplay would be written by Stanley Mann and it would be released in 1984.


Here in Fangoria #9 (1980), Fango is calling out a 3-D revival!  They are hearing rumors all over the place of upcoming movies planning to use 3-D including Halloween 2, Creepshow, and a possible Friday the 13th sequel!  Only one of those things eventually got the 3-D treatment.


Here’s a 3-D followup from Fangoria #15 (1981).  Last time, they are speculating about a revival, this time they are talking about an actual revival of 3-D movies in the wake of the success of the comedy western, Comin’ At Ya!.  It even predicts that studios should start cranking out 3-D movies very soon to capitalize on the success of this movie.  They also mention that John Landis is prepping a Creature from the Black Lagoon remake and they hope he plans on using 3-D when filming it.  And I would have watched the sh*t out of that.  At the end of the piece, Fangoria wonders how long this 3-D revival will last after the flood of sub par 3-D junk studios will undoubtedly put out wears out the format’s welcome.  It’s funny how Comin’ At Ya! is name dropped as the progenitor of 3-D success here in this article when NO ONE today remembers that movie.  Everyone remembers Friday the 13th Part 3 and Jaws 3, but literally no one remembers Comin’ At Ya!


Here’s the final 3-D followup from Fangoria #32 (1984).  The previous article is called “3-D Revival”.  This new item is called “3-D Dead?”.  Which pretty much sums it up.  Fangoria, having called the revival, is now calling the death.  They say the technology itself is the reason for the demise.  It’s just not up to snuff.  And all the crap studios put out with sub par 3-D just killed the format.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: The One and Only Vampira

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine with tags , , , , , on September 30, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

Okay, I took last year off from doing AWESOME-tober-fest.  It was a nice break and I enjoyed reading other people’s Halloween countdowns without having to worry about doing my own.

Now, this year, I decided to come back.  I currently plan on doing updates every weekday in October, but if I miss one here or there, I’m sorry.  And this year, for the first time, I’m going to do a sequel to one of my previous themes.  I’m going back into the well and do Bloody Best of Fangoria ALL MONTH.  Articles, posters, covers, ads, all from the pages of the greatest of horror magazines, FANGORIA.

Should be a lot of fun, let’s get it started.

For this first week of AWESOME-tober-fest, I want to cover one of my favorite horror personalities, Elvira.  I discovered her within the pages of Fangoria and I want to take this week to celebrate the Mistress of the Dark.

BUT FIRST, before I get to Elvira, I want to showcase one of Elvira’s predecessors.  Back in the early 80s Fangoria did a series of interviews in successive issues talking about famous horror TV show hosts.  They were very prevalent, especially on local TV stations, in the 60s and 70s.  One of the interviews in this series was with Maila Nurmi, who portrayed Vampira.  Vampira was one of the very first TV horror hosts in the 50s.  She also was an actress and appeared in Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Here’s the article:

Vampira 1 Vampira 2

I’m not going to lie, this is a *weird* interview. It’s ostensibly an interview with Nurmi about being Vampira, but it’s told almost stream of consciousness style by Nurmi, and it feels like it’s in character as Vampira. WEIRD.

We learn she originally dressed as Morticia Addams for a costume party and won first place. She was such a hit that a station manager wanted to hire her to liven up their late night movies. So she had to alter her costume a bit to differentiate it from Morticia and became Vampira. She went on the air in May 1954. And then, according to her in the article, she was off the air in December 1954. I guess she was too risque? Nurmi doesn’t really lay it all out nice and neat for you in the article.

Vampira 3 Vampira 4

What Nurmi *does* lay out all nice and neat for you in the article are her thoughts on Elvira. She said in 1981 she was in talks with the TV studio to train a new Vampira. Actually, she said the studio *insisted* that she play Vampira in a new show. Nurmi claims to have turned that down several times and said that she convinced them to let her find and train a new performer as Vampira. However, she claims, the TV station went behind her back and hired Cassandra Peterson and then created Elvira when she wouldn’t lease them the name Vampira. And then she makes it clear that she does *not* like Cassandra Peterson. As a person, or as a performer.

Fangoria, after printing Nurmi’s version of these events, then went to the TV station, KHJ-TV, and asked them their side. The program director, Walt Baker, said that yes, they did consult her for a new Vampira show. He said Ms Nurmi was to be a consultant, give them pictures, consult on constructing sets, and let them see any of the original Vampira scripts, but it was always up to the station to hire the new girl. Baker also said that he never intended Ms Nurmi to play Vampira. The person they hired was going to be the new Vampira and that Nurmi would have guest spots as Vampira’s mother.

So, as you can see, this was a pretty sticky, but interesting situation. And a few issues later, it came to a head based on the things Ms Nurmi said about Cassandra Peterson and Elvira.  Fangoria received a letter from Elvira herself. All it contained was a little poem directed at Ms Nurmi written in classic Elvira style.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest Returns!

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on September 9, 2019 by Paxton

Okay, I took a long hiatus. I took off Halloween last year. I had done AWESOME-tober-fest for 10 years in a row and really wanted to take a break. I hadn’t fully intended to do it again this year, but I got started and now I want to do it. So, expect AWESOME-tober-fest this year. In three weeks, to be exact.

This year’s theme will be a return to Bloody Best of Fangoria.

Awesometoberfest 2019

I first did Bloody Best of Fangoria back in 2014. I still have a bunch of unused Fangorias laying around so I thought I’d revisit the topic and use up some of that horrific content. However, the first two weeks of October will also have a second, more specific theme. Elvira.

Awesometoberfest 2019

I’m a huge fan of the goth, horror host and have been for years.  There’s a lot of Fangoria content featuring Elvira as well as a wealth of other pop culture things I can talk about specifically related to the Mistress of the Dark.  I’ve been having fun compiling the article so I hope you guys have fun reading it.

Expect AWESOME-tober-fest 2019 to start on Monday September 30, 2019.

Until then, UNpleasant dreams!



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2014: Fangoria Scream Greats #43 – The Lost Boys (1987)

Posted in Fangoria, Genres, horror, magazine, monsters, movies, nostalgia, pop culture, zombies with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2014 by Paxton

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Here’s Fangoria‘s Scream Greats Poster #43 featuring an image from one of my favorite vampire movies, The Lost Boys. This poster was from Fangoria #68 (1987).  Click to see it BIGGER on Flickr.

Scream Greats #43


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2014: Fangoria From Beyond articles

Posted in Fangoria, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, magazine, monsters, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2014 by Paxton

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It’s been Stuart Gordon week this week as I showcase ads and covers pertaining to his movies leading up to tomorrow’s Fangoria Movie Friday review of From Beyond.

Back in the mid 80s, Fangoria was in love with not only Stuart Gordon but his “upcoming project” From Beyond. Hard not to see why as Gordon had just released the cult hit Re-animator (which I reviewed last Halloween) and the magazine was looking for any and all information about his next project. And when it was revealed that the next project would be another Lovecraft adaptation and again star both Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton, well, Fangoria’s editors (as well as the collective Fangoria readership) creamed their horror loving jeans in anticipation.

I had no trouble finding at least six articles in my stacks of magazines pertaining to not only the movie From Beyond, but to Stuart Gordon himself as well as his two frequent collaborators, Combs and Crampton.  There were also several articles specifically talking about the make-up effects for the movie.  But I’ll focus on the main three collaborators with the one-on-one interviews they gave.

Here’s a Stuart Gordon interview from The Bloody Best of Fangoria Vol 6 (1987). I’m not sure from which issue it was reprinted.

Stuart Gordon interview Stuart Gordon 2
Stuart Gordon 3 Stuart Gordon 4

Here’s a Barbara Crampton interview from Fangoria #60 (1987).

Barbara Crampton interview Crampton Interview 2
Crampton Interview 3

And finally, a Jeffrey Combs interview from Fangoria #61 (1987).

Jeffrey Combs interview Combs interview 02
Combs interview 03


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.