Category Archives: Horror Film Magazines
The Hourglass Sanatorium (1973) | Wojciech Has’ mind-blowing psychedelic classic restored on Blu-ray
Wojciech Has’ cinematic universe of Byzantine sets, hallucinatory images and galleries of grotesque characters is brought to life in his psychedelic masterpiece The Hourglass Sanatorium.
Set in the pre-World War II era, a young man named Joseph (Jan Nowicki) visits a strange dilapidated Sanatorium to see his dying father Jakob (Tadeusz Konrat). Upon arrival he finds a hospital crumbling into ruin, where time is slowed down in order to maintain his father’s life signs. Joseph must venture through the many rooms of the sanatorium, each filled with sinister worlds conjured from his memories, dreams and nightmares…
Adapted from a collection of short stories by Polish-Jewish writer Bruno Schulz, and funded by the Polish Arts Council, the 1973 Polish film dispenses with traditional narrative, fashioning an audiovisual mosaic that blurs the line between reality and fantasy. Truly mind-blowing
The Hourglass Sanatorium is now available in a restored version on Blu-ray from Mr Bongo Films.
The Mad Ghoul (1943) | A look back at the vintage Famous Monsters of Filmland filmbook
With the 1940s Universal horror The Mad Ghoul out now on DVD in the UK (check out my review here), I thought I’d share with you something from my personal collection. It’s the filmbook that appeared in Issue 130 (featuring Basil Gogos’ fab Peter Cushing painting on the cover) and Issue 131 (with Christopher Lee on the cover baring his fangs as Dracula) of the cult magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. Truly of its time, the article by Eric Ashton perfectly sums up the silly fun that this vintage Universal oldie had to offer.
Monster Mag | The long-lost second issue of the cult British film magazine is back in print!
Deemed unsuitable to an all-age market due its provocative images, the entire English language print run of the British film magazine Monster Mag was destroyed by HM Customs & Excise back in 1973, which resulted in the German and French editions becoming highly sought after. Now, 41 years later, series creator Roger Noel Cook and relaunch editor Dez Skinn have produced an authentic limited edition full-size digitally-remastered reproduction of what must be the word’s rarest horror film magazine.
You can purchase them now (while they last)
by cheque or postal order by post,
payable to Quality, to:
QUALITY – MONSTER MAG #2
345 DITCHLING ROAD
BRIGHTON BN1 6JJ
UK: £9.95 each + £1.25 postage (add 25p for each additional copy).
International, click here: MM#2
MONSTER MAG | OPEN IT OUT IF YOU DARE!
Published between 1974 and 1976, the British horror magazine Monster Mag was unlike anything else being produced in the era – it folded out into a large pin-up poster, featuring a suitably salacious image from a horror film (usually Hammer) or a horror star (like Vincent Price). It was made by Top Sellers and edited by husband and wife team Roger and Jan Cook.
But the outrageous images got the magazine into trouble with the second issue. As Monster Mag was published overseas, it had to be approved before getting back into Britain. Issue one escaped Her Majesty’s Customs & Excise, but the second issue didn’t (hopefully not on account of the great pic of Vincent Price as Dr Phibes on its cover, which ended up as a poster in Issue 10). The entire run got seized and destroyed, making the English version the most covetable horror zine ever (and makes its digital reprint worth hunting out – especially for those wanting to complete their collection).
After that early hiccup, the magazine continued until issue 14, when it was finally cancelled. During its run, the magazine size changed constantly, which was very confusing for collectors (I could never get my head around the numbering system). The early issues turned into a poster that was ‘Over 2 feet by 3 feet’, according to the taglines, before it went down to A4 a couple of times, then bounced back to a larger size.
Three further issues (known as Volume Two) were produced in 1976 by Dez Skinn (prior to House of Hammer being launched, another favourite of mine). These had a much more professional look, and had two images for the main poster image. But the much-promised Double X Special issue wasn’t produced – until now. Dez Skinn never finished that issue but, hot on the heels of the Issue 2 reprint, he has returned to ‘the beige folder that he used to collect pics’ for the XX issue and has come up with a brand-new issue that’s very much like the Monster Mags circa 1976, and in the original larger format.
For anyone growing up in 1970s Britain – and Australia (like me) – there was a real thrill in purchasing a copy of Monster Mag. There was something naughty and forbidden about them – the fact they were next to the girlie mags in my newsagents might have something to do with that. There was also something tantalising about those blood-splattered images and overly hyped articles (badly laid out for the most part), that made the films seem way gorier – and sexier – than they ought to have been (Rocky Horror was one of them). Monster Mag was indeed a unique piece of marketing that certainly gave me a thrill in my impressionable youth. The new digital reprint of Issue 2 and the all-new XX issue have only resurrected those feelings. Now, I want to find the one I have hunted forever for – Issue 10, with the poster of Vinnie as Dr Phibes. Do you have a spare? Maybe Dez can reprint this one as well (hint! hint!).
Read more about Dez Skinn’s memories of Monster Mag here:
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