There isn’t a better feeling in the world than walking into a book store or a convenience store and heading straight to the magazine racks. For some of your graybeards out there, going to a video store (gasp!) to pick up the latest rag was the highlight of a week. You thumb through a few titles that you don’t care about and there it is – your monthly dose of good ol’ fashioned horror. HorrorHound, Rue Morgue, Diabolique, Famous Monsters of Filmland and, perhaps the most widely recognized publication since its inception in 1979, Fangoria. They sit in their own little corner, vibrant glossy covers and horrifying imagery just begging you to lean against the closest wall and read it from front to back cover.
That was in a day when everything wasn’t digital. When you had to wait until movies came out to actually know the ending. When the magic of film was still a relatively unknown art – Savini, Bottin, Baker, Nicotero and his team at KNB were all magicians, dabbling in the dark arts of acrylics and latex.
These days, we have websites getting sued for spoiling major story arcs for multi-million dollar television series. The wonderful fragrance of a brand new paperback is foreign to a generation that is plugged in twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Simply put, sadly, magazines just don’t have the luster for the new age of horror fan as they do for the vintage monster lovers.
The recent upheaval at Fangoria is just the latest obstacle the horror rag community has faced. The magazine synonymous with terror has stubbed its toe as of late but seems to be back on track after a realignment of their higher ups. I read quite a few comments on social media where people were able to largely shrug off the fact that there hadn’t been a printed issue of the magazine for a few months because they were still getting their fix via the digital issues Fango was offering. As one who doesn’t particularly enjoy reading on an electronic device, this was a bit of a bummer to me. Here’s hoping the publication continues to chug along for another thirty-seven years.
I’ve also noticed as of late that a number of establishments I’ve gone to in the past to get my monthly horror fix have decided against stocking these beloved magazines. I asked two store managers why this was and was told that the issues didn’t sell often enough to warrant rack space. I found this odd, since none of the publications appeared to ever really fly off the shelves at these spots. I pushed a little further and one manager told me plain and simple, “no one cares about that stuff”. OOF!
So what was once a ten minute trek across a busy street to scoop up a few issues has now turned into a forty-minute drive. So subscribing online is certainly the only wise option, but man, it doesn’t get any better than finding the newest issue gleaming in the corner of that magazine rack.
I was talking with a few friends lately and while most insist on the physical copies each month, preferring to thumb through the issue at their lei
sure, I had a number of pals say it is way easier to just get the digital copy. “Why waste space on your bookshelf when you can just read it on your phone whenever you want?” Boy, these conversations weren’t doing much for my horror loving self-esteem, that’s for sure.
Make no mistake- horror publications are alive and well. They continue to churn out fantastic issues and wonderful commentary on the genre we love. However, it seems like as time goes by, the days of finding your favorite issues lurking amongst the People and Game Informers are slowly fading away. Reading the latest grue news via tablet or Kindle seems to be the way to go. Which is sad, for me, because nothing beats those beautiful glossy covers.