Fangoria, Issue 7
|Categories||Horror (beginning with Issue 7), originally Fantasy|
|Frequency||Monthly (10 issues annually)|
|Company||The Brooklyn Company, Inc.|
Fangoria was first planned in 1978 under the name Fantastica as a companion to the science fiction media magazine Starlog; just as Starlog covered science fiction films for a primarily teenaged audience, Fantastica was intended to cover fantasy films for a similar audience. The publishers were anticipating a groundswell of interest in fantasy owing to the plans at that time for bringing Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian to the screen, plans first announced in 1978.
The Conan film did not arrive until several years later and, when it did, no groundswell in the demand for fantasy films occurred. But before the magazine was even launched, other factors intervened to change the magazine's focus and direction.
The first issue was assembled under the editorship of "Joe Bonham," a pseudonym taken from the quadriplegic hero of Dalton Trumbo's pacifist novel Johnny Got His Gun. This was a cover for Rolling Stone contributor and screenwriter Ed Naha and writer Ric Meyers, best known for his encyclopedic Great Martial Arts Movies: From Bruce Lee to Jackie Chan.
Shortly after the publishing trade press announced the coming launch of Fantastica, the publishers of a Starlog competitor, Fantastic Films magazine, brought suit on the basis of "unfair trade," contending that its young audience would be confused by the magazine's similar title.
The launch of the magazine was delayed by several months as the court deliberated the issue. When, in early 1979, the decision was made in favor of the plaintiff, the publishers of Fantastica were without a usable name, and a pressing need to get the long-delayed issue to the printers. Some quick brainstorming sessions resulted in the name Fangoria, over the objections of Robert "Bob" Martin, who was hired as editor during the delay.
The first issue of Fangoria was entirely designed around the original "fantasy film" concept for the magazine, and proved to be an abysmal failure, as were several issues that followed, all continuing with the same conceptual approach.
By the time that issue number four was on the stand and number six was in preparation, the publisher confided to Martin that the magazine was losing approximately $20,000 per issue, not an amount that the small publisher could continue to sustain for long.
Two phenomena allowed Martin to reshape the magazine and bring it back from the abyss of debt. First, was the immensely positive audience response to one of the articles that appeared in the first issue of Fangoria, an article that celebrated the craft of special makeup effects artist Tom Savini, and his very wet-looking special effects for the 1978 film Dawn of the Dead.
Second was the palpable stench of defeat that was surrounding Fangoria. With its demise all but certain, senior employees and the two owners of the publishing firm stood back from the fray and allowed the untried young editor to take the lead, reshaping the entire book according to what he believed would work.
Issue seven, with a cover story on Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining, was the first issue of any national magazine to wholly concern itself with horror film as produced in the closing quarter of the 20th Century, with no trace of daintiness about its subject matter. It also was the first issue of Fangoria to achieve a profit.
Subsequent issues would sharpen the focus, but by issue twelve, the formula was well-set, and remains largely unchanged to this date. Martin continued as editor to 1986, with co-editor David Everitt added in the early 1980s, and after leaving Fangoria worked with film director Frank Henenlotter on the screenplays for Frankenhooker and Basket Case 3: The Progeny. Everitt left the magazine shortly after Martin's departure, and was replaced by Starlog editor David McDonnell, who handled both magazines for several months before turning over the reins to longtime editor Tony Timpone.
In the late 1980s and early 90s, Fangoria tested numerous international horror markets, releasing issues of the magazine modified for various foreign languages. These publishings (released in Italy, Japan, Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere) lasted only a handful of editions before being discontinued.
In 1990, Timpone brought managing editor Michael Gingold on board, having been previously introduced to his horror-themed fanzine, Scareaphenalia. In addition to his editorial duties at the magazine, Gingold posts the majority of the news updates at
Creative Group purchased Fangoria (and its parent publication Starlog) in the early 2000s, hoping to branch out the brand identity of the magazine to radio, television, and comics. After several failed ventures, Creative Group filed for Chapter 11 on March 21, 2008. In the summer of 2008, Fangoria and all of its related brands were purchased by The Brooklyn Company, Inc., led by longtime Fangoria president Thomas DeFeo. Under DeFeo's ownership, Fangorias brand identity was radically modified in early 2009. The most notable of his changes were the transformation of the company's long-standing logo and a drastic overhaul to the magazine's cover. Starting with Issue 281, Fangorias cover no longer carried its original logo, trademark "film strip", tagline, or additional embedded photos.
In February 2010, Chris Alexander, a Toronto-based former writer for Rue Morgue, succeeded Tony Timpone as Fangoria's new editor. Under his management, the magazine altered its image again, reverting to a layout similar to what it had in the early 1990s. The cover's layout was again altered (this time by graphic artist Jason Beam) - keeping the new logo, but honoring reader requests to bring back the embedded photos and a horizontal "film strip." Several new staff members were also hired full-time including Sam Zimmerman, Rebekah McKendry, and Robert Feldman all of whom had previously worked with Fangoria. In addition, several new writers for both web and magazine were brought in.
As of 2010, Fangoria's publishing office is located just north of New York City's Times Square, with Alexander's satellite office in Toronto, Ontario. They also have a satellite office in Los Angeles, California and several writers based out of Richmond, Virginia.
In 2013 Fangoria announced the return of its popular sister magazine GoreZone, edited by Alexander. Under Alexander, the company also produces a line of limited edition Fangoria Legends magazines and also produced the official magazine for the band Kiss in 2012.
Fangoria branches out
Starting in 1985, Fangoria has sponsored annual horror movie conventions known as the Weekend of Horrors in Los Angeles, New Jersey, and Chicago (with Austin, Texas added in 2008). These conventions were produced in association with Creation Entertainment. After breaking ties with Creation in 2009, Fangoria began their own conventions, titling them the "Trinity of Terrors."
In 1991, Fangoria began honoring horror cinema with their annual Chainsaw Awards, which were voted on by readers of their magazine. The winners were announced at an awards show in Los Angeles, California, which was produced by Fangoria's managing editor, Michael Gingold. While the Chainsaw Awards continued in the magazine, the awards show was stopped after 1996.
In 1990, Fangoria created Fangoria Films, with the goal of financing one feature film a year under this banner. The first film was 1990's Mindwarp, starring Bruce Campbell. They then created Children of the Night in 1991 and Severed Ties in 1992 before ceasing production.
In 1996, Fangoria Films re-emerged as a distribution company, occasionally using their "Gore Zone" label, to release twenty low-budget horror features over the next ten years.
From 1999 to 2003, they partnered with Bedford Entertainment to attain wider releases of certain Fangoria titles. Movies released during this time included I, Zombie: A Chronicle of Pain, The Last Horror Movie, Slashers, and Dead Meat. Many of these films featured the Fangoria logo along the top of their video/DVD covers, while Fangoria's involvement in other releases was substantially more subdued.
In 2004/2005, Fangoria Films produced and distributed Fangoria's Blood Drive, two DVD compilations of award-winning short horror films. The first volume was hosted by musician-turned-filmmaker Rob Zombie, and the second by MuchMusic's (now called FUSE) Mistress Juliya.
With Creative Group
After their purchase by Creative Group in the early 2000s, they developed Fangoria Entertainment. This allowed both parties to agitate the Fangoria brand identity to a number of other media outlets in 2006. Creative Group also added a new "Vampire Skull" logo to Fangoria's properties, which was used extensively after its inception. As of 2010, all of Creative Group's Fangoria brands have been halted.
- Fangoria TV, originally conceived as a network television station dedicated to horror films, was eventually modified to fit a limited online format in 2006. It ceased production in 2007.
- Fangoria Radio debuted on Friday, June 23, 2006. It was a horror-themed talk radio program which aired on Sirius Radio Channel 108 and XM Radio Channel 139 on Friday nights. It was hosted by Dee Snider, Debbie Rochon, and regularly featured then-editor Tony Timpone. It ceased production in 2009.
- Announced at San Diego's Comicon International in 2006, Fangoria Comics launched in June 2007. For various reasons, the line abruptly ended in August 2007.
- In association with FUSE TV, Fangoria first televised its Chainsaw Awards in 2006. The event occurred on October 15, and was aired on FUSE on October 22. The event was not renewed for 2007, although the awards continued in the magazine.
- In 2008 Fangoria premiered a competition for its first-ever "Spooksmodel". The winner of the contest would appear at all of its Weekend of Horror conventions, as well as be featured within the print magazine. Actress Shannon Lark won the first contest, claiming the title for 2008–2009.
- In 2011 Fangoria partnered with producer Carl Amari (The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas) to create Fangoria's Dreadtime Stories, a "Lights Out" style dark horror radio drama series hosted by Malcolm McDowell and featuring original music by Fangoria editor-in-chief Chris Alexander. The show is streamed off the Fangoria website and can be heard on air on Sirius XFM.
Fangoria's online site features daily updates about the world of horror, allowing the Fangoria brand to remain relevant to those who do not typically read print magazines. The website also features several specialized horror blogs, including  Gay of the Dead. Written by Sean Abley, Gay of the Dead continues Fangoria's long tradition of being supportive of homosexuals working in the horror industry. Former editor Tony Timpone was very vocally supportive of Clive Barker's coming out process in the mid '90s, and Fangoria.com has continued this tradition by interviewing several members of the gay horror community, including Jeffrey Schwarz, JT Seaton, April A Taylor and Jeremy Owen.
On December 5, 2007, a warehouse operated by Kable News, in Oregon, Illinois, which contained all back issues of Fangoria and Starlog magazines, burned to the ground. As back issues of Fangoria are not re-printed, the only remaining back issues are now housed in private collections or those available on the secondary market.
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards
In other media
Fangoria has appeared or been mentioned in various media outlets, usually pertaining to its significance to the horror film industry.
- "Debbie" (Tracie Savage) reads an issue of Fangoria shortly before her death in Friday the 13th 3-D (1982).
- The film Redneck Zombies (1989) by Troma Entertainment a mental patient is seen reading an issue of Fangoria.
- One of the flatmates in BBC2's The Young Ones is seen reading an issue of Fangoria in the 1984 episode "Nasty" (an episode about them attempting to watch a VHS video nasty).
- An issue of Fangoria is featured in the trunk of Ash's Oldsmobile in the film Army of Darkness (1993).
- In the film Campfire Tales (1991), Gunnar Hansen interrupts a kid reading issue #57 (ironically a Texas Chainsaw 2 cover) with a really scary story.
- The film Brainscan (1994) prominently features Fangoria, giving the magazine a rather important role in the movie. It is through an advertisement in the magazine that the main character discovers the titular video game.
- In The Simpsons episode "22 Short Films About Springfield" (1996), bus driver Otto Mann takes a photograph of Lisa Simpson with various foodstuff stuck in her hair, claiming, "Fangoria will pay me twenty-five bucks for this shot!" Several months later, the magazine published the "pic" of Lisa with the gum in her hair.
- Chucky masturbates while looking at an issue of Fangoria in the film Seed of Chucky (2004).
- In the introduction of the 2004 music video of "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" by the band My Chemical Romance, Fangoria is listed as one of the main character's interests ("You like D'n'D, Audrey Hepburn, Fangoria, Harry Houdini, and croquet. You can't swim, you can't dance and you don't know karate. Face it, you're never gonna make it".
- Frank Rossitano (Judah Friedlander) wears a black Fangoria t-shirt throughout the 30 Rock episode, "Cleveland".
- In the 2007 film Death Proof, an issue of Fangoria is displayed in a magazine rack at a convenience store.
- In the pilot episode of the 2008 TV series The Mentalist, Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) tells a strange associate (Jack Plotnick), "If you don’t get horny reading Fangoria, then I’m Britney Spears".
- In the 2010 film Growing Up Zombie!, the mom Amanda Dyar reads an issue of Fangoria.
- On May 3, 2012 the video on demand film distribution company "Fangoria's Choice Cuts" opened via YouTube.
- Fangoria - Meet The Staff
- American LaFrance, Delphi, Haven, Marcal, Creative: Bankruptcy 08-10975, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan), March 24, 2008.
- Fangoria announces sweeping new web initiative at fangoria.com, Fangoria.com, October 17, 2008.
- EXCL: Meet the New Editor of Fangoria Magazine
- Official Website of Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors Conventions.
- Motion Pictures produced by Fangoria Films, Internet Movie Database, Accessed: May 15, 2008
- Fangoria Takes Bite out of Film Market, Hollywood Reporter (Subscription required for full article), Accessed: May 16, 2008
- Motion Pictures distributed by Fangoria Films, Internet Movie Database, Accessed: May 15, 2008
- Fangoria Comics Shuts Down, Projects, Staff Relocate, Newsarama Press Release, September 26, 2007
- Fangoria Announces Chainsaw Nominees!, Cinematical, August 26, 2006
- Gay of the Dead
- Fires Burns Fangoria, Dread Central, December 10, 2007
- Movie Maniac Comic Books - Child's Play Icons of Fright.com, Accessed June 11, 2008
- Growing Up Zombie!
- "FANGORIA’S CHOICE CUTS" WANTS YOU!