Okay, I'm a sucker for UK horror and sci fi magazines. For one thing, they're larger magazines. When ours keep shrinking--I wonder how much shorter and narrower our magazines and comic books will get--the Brits keep their format robust: a tad larger and you could easily display your tastes quite well on any standard coffee table. Forget digital: no current horror or sci fi magazines do it well.
For another, the coverage is fairly good, even when you toss in the usual publicity accolades and shallow interviews for upcoming movies, current movies, and most everything in-between; it's written without that snarky, glammy, and sometimes pretentious Video Watchdog tone you've got to suffer through from our Canadian and American creepy-print cousins. Instead there's a nicely sophisticated understatedness replacing the know-it-all bombast, you know what I mean? Toss in a few stickers, a keyring Ghost that smells and looks a lot like one of those plastic-goop Mattel Creepy Crawlers, and a 2012 Cult Movie Calendar and, zoinks!, I'm an easy target.
Of course, you might shake your head and counter that Gorezone (or GZ) didn't fit this rosy picture I've painted. You would be right. I admit it didn't. It was in a category all its own; and not a good one, either. It lost its direction a while back and became insufferable to read. Then again, I don't think reading was the actual goal as the male-centric eye-candy was more prominently positioned for attention.
But given all this, is this special SFX edition magazine, The Paranormal, any good? Well, yes, definitely. Television shows and movies, a look at Daniel Radcliffe's upcoming The Woman In Black through an interview with director James Watkins (Eden Lake), and an excellent examination of one of my favorite literary supernatural investigators, Carnacki, the Ghost Finder, created by William Hope Hodgson, are worthy of your attention. (I double-dare you to read The Whistling Room in the dead of night, alone, without the television or iPod on.) The only onscreen portrayal of Carnacki was ably done by Donald Pleasance for The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes television series in the 1970s. They chose The Horse of the Invisible story for that episode, probably due to budgetary reasons. How Hollywood and the Indies haven't yet exploited Carnacki is beyond me.
Also in Jane's script, one of the big references we talked about, believe it or not, was J-Horror. We're both really big fans of films such as Dark Water and Ringu, and they are very definite sources when it comes to approach and tone. I think those films have a real mastery of dread. So it's an English ghost house film meets Japanese horror--there's your high concept! (from James Watkins' The Woman In Black interview)
A listing of ghost stories in print to savor on long winter nights, a top 50 list of ghostly movies, a top 10 list of best Supernatural episodes, and more in-depth interviews (note the key term here, "in-depth" ) fill in the main-article crevices. Even author Colin Wilson's work is examined, and there's a brief go at Ti West's The Innkeepers, which I'm hoping is much better than his lacklustre and boring House of the Devil. While the focus is on Britishly works (The Stone Tape, for instance), the coverage is broad enough to entice and satisfy most horror fans, even if you don't drink tea and think a scone is something orange and placed by road workers onto busy streets. And if you're ever headed to the UK, there's a haunted pubs guide for you, although I wonder if Will Salmon, the bloke who compiled it, was sober at the time.
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