Issue #6 was an impor­tant turn­ing point for Fangoria, with the young pub­li­ca­tion tak­ing a deci­sive turn towards the dark side of gen­re fare.  Issue #7 con­tin­ues the move in that direc­tion, bring­ing the magazine’s devel­op­ing house style into sharper focus.

A heart­felt edi­to­ri­al memo­ri­al­iz­ing the then-recent pass­ings of Alfred Hitchcock, Mario Bava and George Pal starts things on the right note.  It’s a smart, heart­felt piece that lets the hor­ror fan know that the mag­a­zine has its heart in the right place (and the brains nec­es­sary to trans­late that into good read­ing).  From there, the mag­a­zine delves into a series of film pre­views, pro­files and retro-themed arti­cles that were becom­ing its trade­mark mix­ture of fare.

The issue kicks off its arti­cles with a strong one-two punch of pieces on the William Lustig clas­sic Maniac.  The first is a mak­ing-of arti­cle built around an inter­view with Lustig that also includes a few quips from Caroline Munro.  Lustig is no shrink­ing vio­let: in fact, his per­son­al­i­ty reveals itself to be ful­ly-formed as he doles out a mix­ture of blunt opin­ions and thought­ful analy­sis on the state of hor­ror film­mak­ing.  Brusque but com­pelling, he shows the savvy mind­set that has allowed him to stay suc­cess­ful in the horror/cult-flick busi­ness for mul­ti­ple decades.

The oth­er Maniac arti­cle is an inter­view with Tom Savini in which he lays out the tech­niques used to achieve sev­er­al of the film’s show-stop­ping gore effects in great detail.  His enthu­si­asm is con­ta­gious and the piece is backed up by some gris­ly pic­tures of his hand­i­work.  Both pieces were writ­ten by Steve Swires, a Starlog vet who knocks the sto­ries out in a brisk, engag­ing style (sad­ly, he passed away in 2006 after a long career in the fan­dom press).

Budding b-flick auteur Jim Wynorski also scores a tri­fec­ta of arti­cles in this issue: there’s a pro­file of visu­al-fx pro Robert Short that allows him to plug his pro­duc­ing debut The Terror Factor (bet­ter known as Scared To Death), a pro­file of make­up fx-man Chris Walas that focus­es on his work in Galaxina and a quick­ie look at The Shining (the cov­er sto­ry).  The pieces on Short and Walas are pret­ty well-writ­ten and enter­tain­ing but The Shining arti­cle is odd­ly insub­stan­tial.  It’s a mix of canned-sound­ing pro­duc­tion info and rah-rah cheer­lead­ing that harkens back to the repur­posed press-release arti­cles that dogged that ear­ly issues of Fangoria.

It’s also interesting to note that Wynorski used the Walas arti­cle to plug the American release of Island Of The Fishmen, a Roger Corman-spon­sored rework­ing of a Sergio Martino film that boasts some added effects cre­at­ed by Walas (who also dou­bled as a fish­man in the new footage).  Wynorski worked on the a re-release of this film for New World, devis­ing a new title (Screamers) and ad cam­paign.  The last of the film-pre­view arti­cles cov­ers Watcher In The Woods, Disney’s odd­ball sci-fi/horror crossover flick.  It’s an inter­est­ing read because the stu­dio is unusu­al­ly forth­com­ing about the reshoots they did on the film: in fact, that angle is the cen­ter­piece of the arti­cle.

The remain­der of the issue’s arti­cles are devot­ed to the qual­i­ty ret­ro­spec­tives that have always been a Fangoria hall­mark.  There are two worth­while reads for Hammer Films fans: the first is a brief but illu­mi­nat­ing look back at Curse Of Frankenstein and the sec­ond is a more in-depth piece on Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter that incor­po­rates plen­ti­ful inter­view quips from writer/director Brian Clemens and star Caroline Munro.  The mag­a­zine did hor­ror fans a real favor with the lat­ter arti­cle, as the film was obscure and hard to see at the time.  There is also the sec­ond part of an inter­view with Vincent Price that starts with his work in the Poe films but broad­ens into a dis­cus­sion of his entire career, includ­ing every­thing from House Of Wax to the Dr. Phibes films.  It’s a com­pelling read and its val­ue is fur­ther bol­stered by a detailed fil­mog­ra­phy for his fan­ta­sy-ori­ent­ed cred­its.

Bob Martin caps the ret­ro­spec­tive fare with a Chuck Jones inter­view and the first install­ment in a look at Alfred Hitchcock’s career.  It might seems odd to inter­view a Warner Brothers ani­ma­tor in Fangoria but it’s worth not­ing that Jones was an influ­ence on film­mak­ers as diverse as Steven Spielberg and Joe Dante.  The Hitchcock piece is excel­lent, mix­ing bio­graph­i­cal mate­ri­al with a well-informed analy­sis of Hitchcock’s visu­al sto­ry­telling tech­niques.  It also includes a nice fil­mog­ra­phy with syn­opses that point out the famous Hitchcock cameos in each film.

As usu­al, Monster Invasion clos­es out the arti­cle with cap­sule-sized film news.  There’s lot of inter­est­ing stuff in this issue: an ear­ly report on Halloween II involves a dif­fer­ent premise with Laurie in a high-rise apart­ment build­ing, Pete Townshend’s plans to revive Lifehouse as a fea­ture film with the involve­ment of Ray Bradbury and Nicholas Roeg and even a throw­away men­tion of a David Cronenberg ver­sion of Frankenstein(!).

In short, this was anoth­er solid issue for the Fangoria crew.  The occa­sion­al sci-fi ele­ments are bet­ter inte­grat­ed into the magazine’s hor­ror-focused style and the over­all lev­el of writ­ing real­ly impress­es.  They hadn’t reached the glo­ry days quite yet — but they were def­i­nite­ly on the right road.