Chas Balun passed away in December of 2009 at the age of 61, but in the 25 years or so that preceded he wrote and wrote for quite a few horror and gore books and magazines including Fangoria, Gore Zone, and his baby (and I think his first) Deep Red. It only made it to 5 or 6 issues, but they were all great, packed full of well written commentary, exposes, criticism, and in depth analysis of some of the best horror movies that were coming out at the time.
The writing is professional but not dry or pretentious or snobbish- you can tell he just loves horror and particularly gore movies, and his enthusiasm is contagious.
This issue came out in March 1988, and features a very good article on zombie movies; long discussions of the movies Redneck Zombies, Return of the Living Dead (two of my favs), Hellraiser, and Dr. Butcher M.D.; a Sybil Danning biography, an interview with horror make-up artist Mark Shostrom, an article written by Gunner Hansen about being Gunner Hansen; letters; news; movie and ‘zine reviews; and lots of cool pictures. It was only the second issue and it came out firing on all cylinders. It’s really too bad it didn’t last longer, it was a great ‘zine and highly recommended. Try to find some and buy them if you love horror and gore movies.
Stink was a sick fixture in the sleaze/ gore/ exploitation flick ‘zine culture, and was produced quite regularly by it’s creator/ editor Nick the Yak. The issues weren’t very big, but were packed full of tons of reviews and other content lovingly dedicated to all things violent and sleazy.
Nick’s reviews were unpretentious and to the point and written from the point of view of a regular slob who just wants to see entertaining movies with lots of violence and nudity (basically, most of us). He later became a born again Christian and quit doing Stink, but I believe that didn’t last too long (the Christian thing- I don’t think he ever started Stink back up after that).
This was the ‘biggest issue ever’, and at 34 pages, possibly the biggest one they ever did. It features several pages of movie reviews, plus some music and ‘zine reviews; a report on their collection of sick shorts they were shooting/ compiling (I wonder if they ever got finished?); full page articles/ reviews of the movies Basket Case 2, Beverly Hills Girls, and Violent Shit; a report from that year’s ‘Fangoria Weekend of Horrors’ convention, a piece on that issue’s ‘Hellhoney’ Brinke Stevens (who I recently saw in a terrible newer straight-to-dvd quickie called Dead Clowns– don’t get it. Boooooriiinnng!) and former Hellhoney Michelle Bauer (back by popular demand); part 2 of a sicko fictional tale; a comparison of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Nekromantik, and Violent Shit (“which is sicker?”); and a couple of pages of old school grindhouse ads.
I miss old ‘zines like Stink– we could use their candor and non-snobbish approach to reviewing movies and non-apologetic cinematic bottom feeding. It’s fun and entertaining. Now go watch something sleazy and so-bad-it’s-good entertaining for ole Nick the Yak.
U.S.D. was a thick (tho half size) ‘zine full of death, black and thrash metal, crossover, and grindcore from France. It was put out by Laurent Merle, who went on to do Peardrop ‘zine and form Listenable Records (who put out records by such notable bands as IMMOLATION, GOJIRA, ABORTED, SOILWORK, GENERAL SURGERY, INCANTATION and tons more). They crammed so much in that it was a bit cramped, and didn’t have much in the way of aesthetic or design appeal, but when it came to exposing underground bands to it’s readers, it definitely got the job done. I discovered several awesome bands by reading it, and tho the English isn’t so great that really just adds to the charm (he’s a pretty funny writer, in a kind of hokey way. Example (from the demo reviews): “…let’s continue with a French band: MUTILATOR… oh! Excuse me! I want to say MUTILATED… I forgot to mutilate the “OR” hihi”
The one thing it doesn’t have much of is ads, probably because it’s so packed full of real content (tho back in those days the ads were just as much a way of finding out about music and ‘zines as anything else).
This was a cool little ‘zine, and I got a lot of tapes because of it…
Trash Compactor was a Canadian film ‘zine that came out in the late ’80s/ early ’90s, and unlike most other ‘zines every issue had a theme. Some of the themes included ‘Obnoxious Hippy Movies’, ‘Gay Movies and Culture’ and ‘Made In Japan’.
This issue we’re focusing on centered around actor/ producer John Ashley (Apocalypse Now!, How To Make a Monster, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Frankenstein’s Daughter, Hell On Wheels, The Big Doll House, tons more), and includes several articles on him (including a biography and top 10 film reviews), filmography, and even a recent (at the time) interview. On top of that, it also includes some art (contributed by readers? It doesn’t really say), a few other movie reviews (besides the John Ashley ones), some ‘zine reviews (including my old ‘zine Chunk Blower), part 2 of an article about comic artist Basil Wolverton, and an article on Charles Schulz. 44 pages in all.
The writing in it is a little dry and academic, which isn’t my preference, but it was still a fairly nifty little ‘zine…