Fangoria is a magazine specialising in horror, slasher, splatter, and exploitation films. The seminal magazine had been in regular publication since 1979 until the last couple of years when the publication appeared only occasionally and then ceased completely. Posts on the Fangoria website began to appear less and less frequently.
On 15 February 2018, it was revealed that there were plans to publish Fangoria in print format. Texas-based entertainment company Cinestate and producer/CEO Dallas Sonnier announced that they have bought the brand. Familiar names, including Phil Nobile, Jr. as Editor-in-Chief, S. Craig Zahler, Ashlee Blackwell, Samuel Zimmerman, Grady Hendrix, Meredith Borders, Rebekah McKendry, Preston Fassel, and significantly, Fangoria stalwarts Tony Timpone and Michael Gingold will apparently be involved. For the full press release visit Screen Anarchy’s news report here
Fangoria was first planned in 1978 under the name Fantastica as a companion to the science fiction media magazine Starlog; just as Starlog covered science fiction films for a primarily teenaged audience. The first issue was entirely designed around the original “fantasy film” concept for the magazine, and proved to be an abysmal failure, as were several issues that followed, all continuing with the same conceptual approach.
The first issue was entirely designed around the original “fantasy film” concept for the magazine, and proved to be an abysmal failure, as were several issues that followed, all continuing with the same conceptual approach. By the time that issue number four was on the stand and number six was in preparation, the publisher confided to editor Robert “Bob” Martin that the magazine was losing approximately $20,000 per issue.
Two phenomena allowed Martin to reshape the magazine and bring it back from the abyss of debt. First, was the immensely positive audience response to one of the articles that appeared in the first issue of Fangoria, an article that celebrated the craft of special makeup effects artist Tom Savini, and his gory special effects for the 1978 film Dawn of the Dead.
Second was the palpable stench of defeat that was surrounding Fangoria. With its demise all but certain, senior employees and the two owners of the publishing firm stood back from the fray and allowed the untried young editor to take the lead, reshaping the entire book according to what he believed would work.
Issue seven, with a cover story on Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining, was the first issue of any national magazine to wholly concern itself with horror film as produced in the closing quarter of the 20th Century, with no trace of daintiness about its subject matter. It also was the first issue of Fangoria to achieve a profit.
Subsequent issues would sharpen the focus, but by issue twelve, the formula was well-set and remained largely unchanged.
Martin continued as editor to 1986, with co-editor David Everitt added in the early 1980s, and after leaving Fangoria worked with film director Frank Henenlotter on the screenplays for Frankenhooker and Basket Case 3: The Progeny. Everitt left the magazine shortly after Martin’s departure, and was eventually replaced by longtime editor Tony Timpone.
In the late 1980s and early 90s, Fangoria tested numerous international horror markets, releasing issues of the magazine modified for various foreign languages. These publishings (released in Italy, Japan, Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere) lasted only a handful of editions before being discontinued.
In 1990, Timpone brought current managing editor Michael Gingold on board, having been previously introduced to his horror-themed fanzine, Scareaphenalia.
In February 2010, Chris Alexander, a Toronto-based former writer for Rue Morgue, succeeded Tony Timpone as Fangoria’s new editor. Under his management, the magazine altered its image again, reverting to a layout similar to what it had in the early 1990s. The cover’s layout was again altered (this time by graphic artist Jason Beam) – keeping the new logo, but honoring reader requests to bring back the embedded photos and a horizontal “film strip.”
In 2011, Alexander resurrected the original logo, presenting a classic Fangoria look, coupled with illustrated covers and a bottom page filmstrip that Alexander freely admitted to “borrowing” from long defunct monster magazine Castle of Frankenstein. The new covers often feature original painted portrait artwork from filmmakers and artists like Marvel Comics’ Nick Percival, impressionist UK animator Ashley Thorpe and Australian artist Michael Broom. The changes reflect Alexander’s editorial focus on horror history as well as a more experimental aesthetic.
Starting in 1985, Fangoria has sponsored annual horror movie conventions known as the Weekend of Horrors in Los Angeles, New Jersey, and Chicago (with Austin, Texas added in 2008). These conventions were later known as “Trinity of Terrors.”
In 1990, Fangoria created Fangoria Films, with the goal of financing one feature film a year under this banner. The first film was 1990’s Mindwarp, starring Bruce Campbell. They created Children of the Night in 1991 and Severed Ties in 1992 before ceasing production. In 1996, Fangoria Films re-emerged as a distribution company, occasionally using their “Gore Zone” label, to release twenty low-budget horror features over the next ten years.
From 1999 to 2003, they partnered with Bedford Entertainment to attain wider releases of certain Fangoria titles Movies released during this time included I, Zombie: A Chronicle of Pain, The Last Horror Movie, Slashers, and Dead Meat. In 2004/2005, Fangoria Films produced and distributed Fangoria’s Blood Drive, two DVD compilations of award-winning short horror films. The first volume was hosted by musician-turned-filmmaker Rob Zombie.
In March 2013, Fangoria‘s website was revamped and re-launched.
In 2015, after 28 years, Michael Gingold was apparently dismissed by the magazine and replaced as Editor-in-Chief by Ken W. Hanley.
On 13 February 2017, Fangoria announced that the magazine will no longer be published but that their website and social media presence would continue. A.V. Club provided some of the background information to this bombshell news, plus the departure of Editor-in-Chief, Ken W. Hanley as announced via Twitter.
In 2019, Fangoria was relaunched online and in irregular mail-order magazine format.