Saturday, February 14, 2015
SHOCK CREATURES NO. 1 REVIEWED
Is it just me, or does it seem that the "commercial" (a.k.a. newsstand/bookstore) monster magazine is sputtering a bit? No less overall well-produced, but the general content seems, well, tiresome. Two of the most erudite titles, VIDEO WATCHDOG and DIABOLIQUE, seem to have stalled, and others have extended their subject matter into areas that have a marginal monster content.
"Semi-pro" and privately-published monster 'zines are visibly slowing as well. UNDYING MONSTERS has apparently died, MIDNIGHT MARQUEE finally "pulled the leever" after publishing for decades, and Jim Clatterbaugh's preeminent MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT is soon taking its final carriage to Borgo Pass. I shudder to think when Richard Klemensen announces LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS' last run.
Then, all of sudden, from the broken battlements rises a new 'zine, SHOCK CREATURES!. Accompanied by not one, but two subtitles -- "The First Classic Horror Magazine in Shocking Color...And Atmospheric Black and White", and "The Magazine of Monsters, Mavericks and Madmen!" -- it is edited and published by Mirek Lipinski. No stranger to the subject of monsters and horror films, Mr. Lipinski is offering readers a closer look into the SHOCK THEATER era of the late 1950s through the 1960s.
After shelling out $14.21 US ($12 for the magazine and $2.11 for shipping) I received my print-on-demand copy, as promised, within a few days after ink was put to paper. It arrived from the San Francisco-based self-publishing imprint -- blurb -- slipped into nothing more than a clear magazine sleeve with a backer board, sealed with an adhesive flap, with a shipping label slapped on. Thank God my postman was in a good mood that day and didn't jam it into the mailbox like he often does with my "worthless" photography magazines and my ARIZONA HIGHWAYS.
SHOCK CREATURES is a beautifully-produced magazine. The photos are crisp and sharp and the color saturation, especially on the posters, is cranked up to "lurid". The content varies in scope and depth from "Double Bill Nightmares", which covers Lugosi's THE APE and THE LONDON BLACKOUT MURDERS, to an article covering the history of the famed Shock Monster mask, to the atmosphere promised on the cover, a two-page spread of a rooftop scene from Universal's 1932 MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. Taking up half the page count are a reprint of Robert W. Chambers' weird fiction classic, "The Yellow Sign", and a 12-page pre-code story from the horror comic, ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN. While I don't mind a reprint here and there, I kinda do mind that they are readily available from a variety of sources and take up such a big part of the issue. Still, if you haven't had the fortune of reading either one (especially Chambers' legendary story), here's a good place to do it. Lipinski's two-page introduction to this, the first issue, is learned and well-articulated, and I hope that this the general tone and philosophy that continues.
So, is SHOCK CREATURES worth the trouble? Yes it is! I would get going and order your copy soon, as this first collector's edition is promoted as being limited to only 300 copies. After that, the press shuts down until the next issue. And I do hope there is an issue #2 of this promising new magazine! Click HERE to order.