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    “HANDS OF THE RIPPER” (Blu-ray Review, Synapse Films)

    Before mulling over the merits of Synapse’s new HANDS OF THE RIPPER (1971) Blu-ray, let’s take a moment to applaud Synapse’s approach to their Hammer Films licence. Instead of launching with any of the beloved Lee/Cushing classics, Synapse have instead given their famously fastidious treatment to the dustier, more obscure titles from Hammer’s twilight days. For more casual fans of the studio like this reviewer, the chance to finally slap paws on these under-acknowledged titles allows a different perspective on the storied Hammer and its long legacy of blood.

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    Stephen King’s “JOYLAND” (Book Review)

    After an uncharacteristically quiet 2012, author and multimedia brand Stephen King is resurfacing with a diverse slate of projects: From the UNDER THE DOME TV adaptation to the big-screen remake of CARRIE to the long-awaited musical theatre experiment GHOST BROTHERS OF DARKLAND COUNTY to King’s risky revisit with THE SHINING’s Danny Torrance in this fall’s novel DOCTOR SLEEP. While most of the aforementioned projects have yet to see release, it’s safe to declare that King’s new paperback original JOYLAND (out now from Hard Case Crime/Titan) will most likely be judged the runt of 2013’s considerable litter.

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    “EVIL DEAD (2013)” (Original Soundtrack Review)

    Now that the flurry of passionate yeas and nays flung over director Fede Alvarez’s EVIL DEAD remake has subsided, it’s a good time to take a deeper look at one of the more heralded changes Alvarez made with his DEAD interpretation: the score by composer Roque Baños (THE MACHINIST, SEXY BEAST), just released on compact disc from La-La Land records.

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    “THE TRIBE: HOMEROOM HEADHUNTERS” (Book Review)

    Spencer Pendleton is starting out at a new Junior High and now has to cope with all the miseries attached: cocky bullies, snobby princesses, crabby teachers, and flare-ups of his asthma. While struggling to fit in with his indifferent classmates, Spence attracts the notice of a very unique clique, former students who’ve slipped the noose of the school system by forming a stylized native gang, burrowing in behind the drab walls and acoustical ceiling tiles of their building and sourcing weapons from discarded detritus like middle school Mad Maxes. Now this clan of tween terrors wants a new recruit to share in their agenda of disruption and disobedience, and Spence must make the choice between accepting a numbingly normal scholastic career or seizing the chance to truly belong to something for once in his life.

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    “THE GHOSTKEEPERS” (Movie Review)

    Last year, writer-director Anthony D.P. Mann released TERROR OF DRACULA, a painstakingly respectful enactment of Bram Stoker’s often-bowdlerized and bastardized 1897 novel. TERROR perfectly captured the restrained pacing and hazy photography of a BBC production from decades past, and the result felt like something that might have aired stateside on public television around Halloween—a powerful fount of nostalgia for some, this reviewer included. With follow-up THE GHOSTKEEPERS set for release this year, Mann’s challenge was to try and carve out a similar impression, only now with his own original material and in a modern setting.

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    “MUTE” (Book Review)

    Leo, the protagonist of Jeffrey Hale’s MUTE (Grand Mal Press) is special. Born with the power of psychometry, he’s able to divulge past emotions and memories that may still resonate within objects or people. This talent, while admittedly handy, has gotten him locked up in a mental institution by folks not inclined to encourage psychic gifts.

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    “ROOM 237” (Movie Review)

    Maybe you hold onto one yourself? Some pet theory about a particular film’s hidden patterns, symbolism, subtext or allegory? Undertones that fly past most viewers but, once uncovered and analysed, cannot be ignored? ROOM 237 (in select theaters and on VOD today) is a unique and deceptively simple documentary that features five different people attempting to explain what they perceive to be the true meaning behind Stanley Kubrick’s film of THE SHINING.

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    Looking back at the BOOK OF THE DEAD

    As famed writer, editor, musician and vanguard to the Splatterpunk literary movement John Skipp comes aboard the Fangoria terror team (with his new monthly column NIGHTMARE ROYALE – here), the occasion serves as a good excuse to assert Skipp’s credentials in the horror universe by celebrating the underappreciated and visionary zombie short story anthology he co-edited with Craig Spector, THE BOOK OF THE DEAD.

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    “HELL’S MUSE” (Book Review)

    To avoid judging a book by its cover is accepted wisdom, but darn if the state of that cover unavoidably colors one’s perceptions. And Jack Wallen’s HELL’S MUSE (Autumnal Press) knocks on the reader’s door in a dishevelled tizzy, with bruises (editorial boo-boos like the phrase “his most perfect work” in the back cover blurb, or paragraphs of text accidentally printed twice in the author bio) and scars (blurry graphics and horrendous, confusing title typography).  Take heart, because the old axiom proves correct; HELL’S MUSE is better than its shabby outer appearance would suggest.

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    Q&A: Rob Zombie talks “LORDS OF SALEM” novel, new album and more

    For fans of Rob Zombie and his multitude of media tentacles, Christmas is coming in April. In addition to Zombie’s much-anticipated, hotly-debated arthouse horror THE LORDS OF SALEM galloping onto screens April nineteenth (courtesy of Anchor Bay), his latest, meanest solo album VENOMOUS RAT REGENERATION VENDOR lands a mere four days later via Universal music. Even with the considerable bulk of those two projects to juggle, Zombie is also publishing a novelization of his SALEM script (serialized in the March issue of Fangoria), prepping a corresponding album tour, and as a director he’s circling a departure from his horror filmography—a dramatization of the Philadelphia Flyers merciless run to the NHL championship during the 1970’s called BROAD STREET BULLIES. FANGORIA got a chance to chat exclusively with Zombie about his new album for our April issue, and also managed to grill the man on some of the other pursuits mentioned above.

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    First Fango Set Visit: SXSW Horror “HAUNTER”

    It is a conventional stance of Hollywood ingenues to rise to prominence through roles in horror movies, only to disparage their genre origins once presented with opportunities more palatable to the mainstream. This is refreshingly not the case with Abigail Breslin, teenage star of ZOMBIELAND and Oscar nominee for her precocious performance in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, whom Fango catches up with on the set of Vincenzo Natali’s HAUNTER.

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