The fanzine is a product of a person or group of people’s desire to show the world how awesome they think something is.
Done purely for this purpose, with any profit made going back into the zine, it is a labour of love and a show of the creator’s artistic talents. The term fanzine was first seen in the 1940s, but it was really the ’60s and ’70s where the media format really took off, with a huge explosion of fanzines in the ’80s leading to a collapse of the market in the ’90s.
Recently it seems that there has been more interest in the format again, with a new group of people taking the reigns and creating their own fanzine to share with the world. Books like Xerox Ferox cover the medium in depth and there is even a fanzine convention held in Brooklyn each year. With such diverse topics in print and the sheer amount of these titles for sale, it makes it hard to list them all, but we have put together a brief and compact selection of film related fanzines which we have come across that you might want to take a look at.
With social networking becoming such a powerful tool for group interaction, it is hardly surprising that groups that may have normally had to meet in small, local based gatherings can now interact globally. This brings certain groups to the media’s attention, and one of these groups is the VHS community. Sites like Horror VHS Collectors Unite and VHS Misfits are the go-to place for VHS collectors. VHS related fanzines are incredibly popular in these circles, with many of the mentioned group members taking their passion for the format one step further by writing about it.
Dan Kinem and his Tapemold fanzine and Matthew Desiderio’s Blood Video share a similar digest size format and cover some of the weirder examples of the VHS genre. Featuring exclusive interviews with obscure directors and stars of movies you may never have heard off, both are a great way to find out about movies that are only available on the VHS format. Both fanzines pride themselves on finding movies you never knew existed. Josh Schafer’s Lunchmeat magazine may have a more glossier design and bigger size, but it still shares Dan and Matthews’ love of the obscure with articles focusing on cult VHS actors and movies. Regular features on VHS maintenance and oddities also appear in each issue.
Moving away from VHS now but still in the realm of obscure movies, we have a selection of fanzines focusing on some great unknown films. Tim Paxton’s and Steve Fenton’s Monster! has Tim and Steve reviving his old fanzine from the 70s and bringing it back for a new lease on life. Focusing on all things monster, from low budget to box office and foreign releases, Monster! is full of creature related features. On the other hand, Brian Baynes fanzine Time Shifting is a very crude and small creation (only about the size of a cigarette box), but shows the same love of and enjoyment of film that Monster! does, with issues focusing on Blockbuster Home Video adverts, video cassette stickers and rock and roll horror movies.
Brian Harris created Wengs Chop, a fanzine that covers the more bizarre elements of cinema. Filled with reviews on a number of obscure and hard to find movies, it mixes amateur, analytical and ballsy reviewing styles to create an eclectic range of writing. Every type of horror and exploitation movie is covered no matter what the genre or country of origin. Peter Chiarella’s Grindhouse Purgatory focuses on the exploitation and adult only movies of the 1960s through to the 80s. Though its content is strictly adults only, it covers some fascinating stories concerning the films, stars and stories surrounding New York’s infamous 42nd Street. Dave Kosanke’s Liquid Cheese also mixes information on X rated films with grindhouse and exploitation hits from numerous decades. With its eye catching covers and content covering horror events as well as movies and stars, it makes a great companion read to Grindhouse Purgatory.
UK published Necronomicon (written by the devilishly sounding Necro Neil) delves into a variety of different subject matters, including special edition issues focusing on series or stars (for example the Psycho series appeared in a recent issue). The layout looks very raw with pieces seemingly ripped straight from a typewriter or other magazines, giving it a very homemade and fascinating look. Filmish is a fanzine by Edward Dross that uses a comic book format with Edward as our narrator, who takes us on a cinematic journey through different topics surrounding film. The latest issue on food explains how important food is in film and how many movies have concentrated on this as a vital part of their story. Bruce Lee Review is a none-profit fanzine by various writers which takes the idea of focusing on one element of cinema and takes it a step further, concentrating its entire output on the works of the Kung Fu legend himself Bruce Lee. Whether it is films about his life, his teachings or films that were inspired (or in some cases ripped off) from his work, it is all covered here.
Finally we have Kseniyah Yarosh and Matt Carman’s I Love Bad Movies, which is pretty much what you would expect from the title. A variety of different writers from all walks of life look at one key topic of conversation. Each issue focuses on a genre or medium of film and each writer picks a film that entertained them with its sheer awfulness. This brings up an incredibly mixed array of movies ranging from low budget to mainstream films. British made Kill You Last by Will Jones is an action based fanzine focusing on up to date films and very low budget movies, and has a great gallery inside to accompany the articles. Deathwound is an A4 black and white fanzine which combines horror, VHS and death metal into one package. The great thing about this fanzine is the roughness to it. Cross-outs and errors have deliberately been left in the fanzine to give it a distinct look.
This small selection is really only skimming the surface of a very big print based pond. Places like Etsy and Storenvy have fanzines for pretty much every topic you can imagine. It is great to know that in this world of digital access that hard copies of things are just as relevant now as they were when fanzines first emerged from the print presses.
Do y ou have any favorite fanzines to add to the list? let us know in the comments section below or on the GEEK Facebook page.
Images: Headpress and above mentioned fanzine creators