This isn't a metaphor for "closing the book" on Fango - nor is it a desperate attempt to revisit the magazine from an awkward angle. I also don't hafta remind you how much I love print ads (almost as much as backsides), and this publication perfectly picked the right designs to match the mood; whatever it was for, the design was on the money: masks, costumes, props, conventions, schools, clothes, posters, model kits, books, video games, and dozens and dozens of Full Moon Features. There were entire issues where these full page pitches made up for a stretch of lackluster articles on mediocre movies. They were the fail-safe; guaranteed in every mag - especially on the back. Sometimes that final image felt like a calculated parting thought, and sometimes a hasty afterthought. At any speed, either visually or contextually, it was always interesting.
I'd love to just go ahead and scan a hundred of 'em and leave them here for you to lech after, but as usual I got a buncha shit to say - so here's 6 Fangoria back covers and the gore whore who loved them.
#25 - February 1983
This era of Horror Cinema - the "Fangoria era" - is noted/blamed for over-commercializing/marketing to kids, thus softening the scariness and hardening the youth. (One Fred K. was the sole scapegoat for this.) And so here we are: two brutal masked killers with the mystique of questionable motivations compounded by a total lack of speech - represented by beeps & boops & oversized pixels courtesy of the Atari 2600. But none of that matters -- what matters is this groovy arcade that looks like it was illustrated by Alan Aldridge, brought to us by Wizard Video, the lead sorcerer in "big box" home entertainment and clearly not holding back at all on video game packaging either. (In fair condition, these go for about $300,000 nowadays, so take good care of yours.)
#46 - August 1985
If you couldn't tell, this is an announcement for the video release of A Nightmare on Elm Street from Media Home Entertainment. It's crisp, it's sleek, it's beautiful. It's also mundane, predictable, and to the point; an ad for an Elm Street movie in a Horror magazine from the 80s can feel like white noise. Or, you can drink it in the way I've drank it: a significant rendezvous of decade-defining icons (Fangoria Magazine, Freddy Krueger, Home Video) igniting an alliance that would exemplify a generation - not just of humanity, but also art, technology, and commerce. If you don't feel the weight of this, you're in the wrong place, pal.
#59 - December 1986
And then, the videocassette itself became the thing; a grail, a collectible, an object of desire with a name and a face. Let's rent a video! This one looks good! Look at the production value in this photo - and still the focal point is the tape. But again, it should be noted that this is not imagery from the movie - someone (New World Video most likely) orchestrated this whole setup of hiring a model, makeup, wardrobe, location, for this vampire chick to hold a video at you. I love when things aren't repurposed and the extra effort is put in to design an extra leg of a campaign -- this ad is like part of the movie now.
#121 - April 1993
I have plenty to say about this Full Moon movie from '92 starring Megan Ward, Peter Billingsley, and Seth Green, about being trapped inside an evil, addictive video game... Actually there isn't much else to say. Besides, I'm here to talk about the ads - which, coincidentally, this particular ad (which is just the video cover) is a pretty accurate depiction of the movie (though the graphics here are a little more attractive). Charles Band was the Roger Corman of the 80s and 90s (even more than Corman was) and Full Moon's high volume of output would sometimes allow several of their newest features to appear as full page 'mini-posters' - usually with this same composition and color scheme, creating a green & purple thunderstorm/vaporwave vibe that's rarely present in the movies.
#126 - September 1993
Before I'd seen Predator, at first glance I'd thought, "Man, that monster drives a cool car!" Upon closer inspection, the car was actually a fixture outside of the Halloween Outlet in Worcester, Massachusetts: a year-round spooky boutique that was just miles from my house, though I didn't discover it until my 30s. (Today, of course, it's become a Dollar Store.) And apparently in 1993 they were giving away a life-size (8 ft.) Predator to anyone who could answer some "Halloween trivia questions." I have some questions of my own - like how did I not put two & two together and realize there was a renowned costume shop right next door? But more pertinently - was this ad published nationally or did they print a different back cover for each region? It seems incredible to me that this armpit of a city was getting countrywide press (though I hope that is the case).
#145 - August 1995
There's a horrible irony here: I've never dressed as Batman for Halloween or any other occasion - largely because the even-somewhat affordable costumes looked like Bat-crap. Then along comes this doozy, and in terms of screen accuracy, it looks pretty good -- and while I'm sure there are folks out there who wanted to be the Val Batman, it was too little/too late for me. Though the juvenile side of me wonders: how can I find a use for a $30 "crotch piece?"