Digital Wasteland #2

November 17, 2008 at 11:49 pm Leave a comment

g441Er, not exactly digital this one I’m afraid, more televisual and print-based oddities of evil deliciousness really.

As previous posts attest, there’s some good, (or potentially good), viewing around for us genre folks thesedays. Not sci-fi, (or is it sf?), or fantasy, but good old horror… or a sub-genre thereof.

Sunday night sees the first Survivors, an updated version of Terry Nation’s post-apocalyptic serial that ran from 1975 to 1978 over three series on the BBC. Here’s an article in The Independent. A poll on the above linked BBC website shows that 24% of respondents are ‘sure they’ll like it’; 51% including myself are ‘cautiously optimistic’; 7% are ‘undecided’; 16% are worried it ‘might not be that great’, and 2% are ‘sure they won’t like it’. If it’s anything as convincing as Apparitions, it’ll be another Sky Plus series linker. Here’s a rather nice fan site concerning original said series from which I purloined the truly terrifying image of mid-seventies crockery.

This Thursday sees the second episode of Apparitions, and judging by last week’s truly atmospheric opener, this is a series to follow for the next five weeks. A serious, subtle and visceral drama indeed. What the BBC need to do now is to release it in a collected form, with extra goodies such as a documentary on exorcism, or a Mark Kermode-ish feature on the sub-genre of possession in the movies, and so on. Here’s hoping the remainder of the series is as successful.

country-living-dec-05_coverChristmas is coming and I find a magazine subscription is a fine solution. My  mother adores the Country Living that pops through her letterbox every month.  Unfortunately us genre-hounds are slightly less well-catered for; there’s no way we  could pop into WH Smiths and take out a subscription to a PURE horror magazine in  the UK.

I guess there’s SciFiNow which has about 15% horror content – it’s latest issue has a  couple of nice overview articles: The Complete Guide To the Post Apocalpyse,  (obviously inspired by the Survivors series); and a feature purporting to list the  ‘greatest scare-fests of all time’. This article covers several sub-genres, (including  Hammer, Zombie, Slasher, Supernatural, Gorenography, etc.), and I can feel a poll  coming up here  on HR in the not too distant future. SciFiNow is okay, if you’re desperate for something to read in the bath, and not bothered about getting it wet, (the magazine that is).

dr16_ofc_72dpiDeath Ray magazine has just gone quarterly and their November issue has just hit the shops. Slightly more horror content, 20% I reckon, and the articles are, on the whole, more in-depth than their competitors. The company behind Death Ray, Black Fish Publishing, has recently had an overhaul and we’re led to believe, have some projects simmering – let’s hope one of these is a pure horror title. Maybe they’ll resurrect Shivers, once edited by Frightfest‘s Alan Jones, now possibly floating around in a twilight land… or just plain dead, I’m not sure. (Shivers had 100% horror content, but was a relatively lightweight publication, especially for the money). 

n4732675962_4216Gorezone is a relatively new UK-based title, that could do with some tweaking; specifically a proof-reader and a more considered layout, (although standards have improved since the first few issues), and an irritating habit of cover-highlighting pretty much every film covered in its 100% horror pages regardless of whether or not it’s a fifty word capsule review or a feature that doesn’t actually focus on said film, but rather another by the same director in an effort to appear up-to-the-minute. Glossy and rammed with space-filling imagery Gorezone has been referred to as “Vogue for horror fans”… Hmmm, extremely questionable, more like The Sport for Horror Fans. I buy it every month as it’s one of those magazines, that if I dropped it in the bath, well, it’d get wet, but I’d still give it a go. Even though it’s not in the same league as its predecessor of the same name, Gorezone has a lot going for it if it could attract a better quality of writer. I sound all high-falutin’ don’t I?

The above are just a few of the ‘genre’ magazines available in the UK, but there ARE three high-quality titles out there that warrant our specific horror-genre-centric attention that I highly recommend, none of which are the newly-redesigned Fangoria

ds136The first of these is The Dark Side, edited by Allan Bryce; the title has been going for about 15 years, and is a wonderfully glossy and personal  magazine packed full of  relatively well-written, opinionated articles and review  columns. In the past, there  has been some controversy about the sources of some  of the content in the  magazine, but hopefully this is in the past and shouldn’t  influence a decision on  whether or not to subscribe. For me, the magazine’s appeal  lies in its close  relationship with its readers and the obscure DVDs it revels in  reviewing and the  lovely ladies of horror it never fails to showcase. You can’t buy The Dark Side in  WH Smith anymore, but bizarrely it is available in some of the larger Zavvi  stores…

 image_productashxNow in its 14th issue, Horrorhound is first and foremost a horror geek’s title, covering all aspects of the blood red pop-ulture; thus expect in-depth coverage of a classic horror film and all related merchandise each issue. The latest issue features The Exorcist. The exquisite Dark Night of the Scarecrow is revisited prior to its DVD release, and there’s the latest in their Video Invasion series, which lovingly details the major video labels of the 1980s – this issue Gorgon Video, responsible for the controversial Faces of Death series – was that crocodile attack real? What about those car crash victims? I clearly remember feeling a little queasy watching the tourists slice off that monkey’s head and eating its brains… ah, such sweet reminiscence of a healthy childhood. Horrorhound is US-based, and only available via its website, or in specialist shops such as Forbidden Planet here in the UK.

84_mag_coverThe third title not to be missed is Rue Morgue magazine, from Canada.  Bill’s mentioned RM in passing a couple of weeks ago, so I won’t duplicate  his recommendation, just give you a piccy of the latest issue, and to say it’s  available from its website and a subscription is extremely good value,  (although each issue does take a very long time to arrive). Again, you can  track it down in Forbidden Planet etc.

Put these three magazines together and you’ve got a nice and comprehensive  approach to all that is horror – the past, the present and the future. But I  can’t help thinking there’s room for a UK-based title here, albeit one that will  require an international outlook and appeal. 

By the way, do feel free to get in touch if you need a link to the estimable Country Living. An aspirational title that is recommended unreservedly by my mother.

Oh, and talking about zombies… given all the fun and games in the finacial world, (you know, those experts who have put the Western world on the verge of a fiscal apocalypse), here’s a Reuters blogger on the new meaning of the word zombie. According to Forbes Digital’s online financial dictionary Investopedia, zombies are companies that:

“continue to operate even though they are insolvent or near bankruptcy. Most analysts expect zombie companies to be unable to meet their financial obligations.”

Quite a long way from its Voodon origins, eh? Financial obligations my arse. Leave our zombies alone! I’ll say it once more – WHAT A BUNCH OF FRICKIN BANKERS.

The Professor (who definitely has more horror magazines to read in the  bath than you, and who promises to feature digital stuff next time).

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Entry filed under: Digital Wasteland - Horror Roundup. Tags: , , , , , .

To edit, change nappies or clean house? That is the question by JD’L The Garbage Man cover: Take II by JD’L

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