Saturday, November 20, 2010


No. 7
Editor: Michael Stein
Publication Date: June/July 1987
Publisher: FILMFAX
Color cover/ B&W interior
68 ppg. (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95
Estimated collector’s price: $9.00 to $30.00

I have FILMFAX to thank for rekindling my interest in reading monster magazines. The day of the "classic" monster magazine had faded. The King of the Monster Magazines, the seemingly indestructable, but towards the end increasingly unbearable to read FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND was fast becoming a distant memory. STARLOG, a science-fiction magazine at heart, would have the few odd article on monster movies, but it was basically a publication for Trekkies. FANGORIA was cruising along, but its focus was on contemporary horror.

FILMFAX, on the other hand, seemed to capture the feel of the classic monster 'zine, but with a decidely more sophisticated editorial style. One could speculate that this might have been CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN magazine all grown up. Indeed, it's very content screamed "literary" and could almost be looked upon as a "horror film magazine" rather than a "monster magazine". One look at the editorial and contributing staff reveals a list of talent that are now generally known as being among the leading voices in the conservation of horror film history. Up and comers like John Brunas, Tom Weaver, and Jim Knusch were right there alongside such venerable Monsterologists as Don Glut, Bill Warren and Bob Burns. And, what self-respecting monster mag would consider itself worthy without at least a little help from FJA himself? Yes, even Forrest J. Ackerman was in the mix as "Golden Age Editor"!

It was the summer of 1987. My new wife and I were traveling up north from Los Angeles on our first trip since our January honeymoon in Cambria (near Cayucos, where MONSTER FROM PIEDRAS BLANCAS was filmed!) on the central California Coast. I believe we were headed back to Cambria but decided to stay at a less expensive Bed and Breakfast inland this time instead of on the beach. Well, it was a rainy drive up and by the time we got to the place, I had what I thought was a pretty good case of the flu. Chills and headache sent me right to the sack, but, outside of my lovely wife, I had along something that brought me a few hours of comfort . . . I had stopped at a newsstand before we left and picked up a copy of FILMFAX #7. I think I was drawn to the striking cover with Karloff from one of my all-time favorite horror movies Universal's THE BLACK CAT. I spent a couple of hours pouring through the magazine before dozing off, but before that I had once more recaptured the magic and imagination, and yes, the pure thrill of once again reading a monster 'zine like it was the first time!

The contents of the this issue are nothing short of marvelous. From articles on the aforementioned THE BLACK CAT, CURSE OF THE DEMON, THE HAUNTING, THE VAMPIRE BAT, even 7 FOOTPRINTS TO SATAN, every piece was a thrill to read. This was something new . . . this was monster movies being discussed, not as some psycho/sexually repression phenomena, not in some condescending kiddie lit with corny jokes, but as film history -- with the fan in mind. What a concept! Perhaps the most exciting thing in the issue was the announcement of a restored version of Universal's FRANKENSTEIN -- on laser disc, with a videocassette "planned for the future" (see below)! How far we've come in just over 20 years!

Oh, and by the way, the trip turned out fine. The next day I woke up feeling a lot better and we ended up having a great trip. I hate those 24 bugs -- but it was foruitous this time. Or was it cosmic destiny?


Mike Scott said...

I believe this is Filmfax's 25 year, is it not? Filmfax instantly became my favorite mag when it came out. Everybody else was covering (mostly) new movies, at the time, but with FF we got nothing but classic horror/sci-fi/fantasy coverage on every page of every issue!

John said...

Indeed it is. I'm glad they incorported OUTRE into FILMFAX instead of the other way around, too.


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