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The Nostalgic Attic: Space Monsters magazine (Cyberschzoid)

16 May 2014

Space Monsters magazine (Cyberschzoid)

When I was in London recently, myself and my brother-in-law took a few hours off from working to pop into The Cinema Store - always a great way to spend an hour wandering around, browsing the goods that you wish you had the cash to buy. I always spend a great deal of time going through back issues of the likes of Famous Monsters of Filmland, and any other great looking cult or horror mags they have, mainly because I feel I missed out on a huge chunk of possible childhood memories by not being exposed to these at a younger age. Dublin in the late 80's and early 90's was not the best place to be into niche movies, especially if you were young and without disposable cash. Such a hardship I suffered!

Anyways, one that stuck out to me by the counter was Space Monsters. It was probably the fantastic and eye-grabbing cover art that drew my hand to it, and opening it up to flick briefly through it was all it took for me to plonk down my hard earned cash. It was handy enough that it happened to be a 'Giant Monster Special Edition', as I had been on the look out for something that was perhaps a Godzilla-related retrospective. This was the closest I could get, and it was a perfect substitute. It's exactly what a nostalgic movie-monster nut (that's me) could want in what's essentially a beautifully put together fanzine; tons of pictures (all black and white, apart from the colour artwork inside the sleeves) and a gazillion articles to keep you going for a few hours. Article topics range from Hammer's Frankenstein series and Logan's Run through to humourous looks at Godzilla's silliest moments. Needless to say, Godzilla gets a lot of coverage in this issue, but there is plenty of time placed on other fan favorites, such as Ultraman and Kolchak: The Night Stalker, which is always welcome.

There are a few recognisable names contributing to the magazine, too, anyone who reads cult mags will know Billy Chainsaw, and Caroline Munro certainly needs no introduction. If you are a fan of old school monsters or sci-fi, and need your fix, do your best to grab this one up. It's also great for both man-children and actual children, as there is nothing nasty or poor taste in here. And besides, every kid should have a copy of something like this under their bed...

More info on the publication can be found here.

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At 16 May 2014 at 16:35 , Blogger Grimm said...

Those cover arts are amazing. I really like that Vinnie Price one! I'm always drawn to artsy covers like this. And mostly, the articles and reviews inside appeal to nerds, so it figures it'd be my type of thing lol Right now, all I really read is HorrorHound magazine, and Fangoria. But if I could find covers like these, I'd be more than eager to grab one! Great post.

At 17 May 2014 at 05:22 , Blogger JP Mulvanetti said...

Yeah, the Famous Monsters ones were always really special. The kind of artwork you could have hanigng around your home. The Space Monsters ones are great in their own way, they really sum up the 50's sci-fi madness to me. Thanks for stopping by!

At 17 May 2014 at 13:36 , Blogger Wes M said...

Yeah, the Famous Monsters covers were frame-able, that Tuskan Raider cover is a stunner ! John if you think you had it tough in Dublin, imagine my plight in Cork - at least you had a Forbidden Planet, or Tower, I had to make do with Easons and the Dark Side magazine which by the way I owe a huge debt of thanks - things really shifted up a gear for me in 1992 with issue 20 of Dark Side which profiled the Video Nasties, and needless to say the door back was permanently closed forever. When I think about it now, whatever about Cork, what about if you grew up in a hellhole like Cavan ? But I digress... I seem to remember chatting with Cyberschzoid himself on some forum and I asked him to do something on the Lost In Space series, and the BBC's Quatermass (plus the ITV film that followed later) so hopefully that might grace an issue some day... There's been a very nice wellspring of horror mags bubbling away for the last few years although I've not really indulged - the only film mag I buy nowadays in Video Watchdog (I have every issue so I'm sorta compelled to keep going!) but if I had the funds and more importantly the room I'd like to try out Little Shoppe of Horrors which always looks great. Over the years I managed to get a few fanzines - on trips to the UK or the humble postal order (the young whippersnappers of today will never know what a mission it was to get stuff, pre-Net), and I still have what I could get hold of - Shock Xpress, In the Flesh, Samhain, European Trash Cinema, Videooze, Invasion of the Sad Mad-Eating Mushrooms, Monstroid, Headpress, Divinity and a few others. I think Shock Xpress was my favourite - brilliant writing and they really mixed it up, a review of something obscure like the 1944 Spanish Horror Tower of the Seven Hunchbacks appearing alongside Dennis Hopper's Colors. I love that. And Shock Xpress's head-honcho Stefan Jaworzyn played guitar on all those great early Skullflower albums, while Shock contributor, Eyeball editor and Fulci biographer Steve Thrower was in Coil and later Cyclobe - I loved that cross pollination of underground press and underground music. I'm digressing yet again but I was on a roll there... I'm currently thinking about upgrading my Kindle Paperwhite to a Fire (or ipad even) so I can, among other things get a digital subscription to Sight & Sound who are offering access to every single issue as well as Monthly Film Bulletins. Very tempting !

At 18 May 2014 at 01:05 , Blogger JP Mulvanetti said...

Wes, I can well imagine the state of things in mid-90's Cork - I guess my problem stemmed from the fact that I may as well have been living in Cavan when I was 12, as we had no public transport in the area and I was fairly isolated from friends. I really needed my folks to be buying me stuff like those magazines, and when I had my own disposable cash (got my first paying job at 14) I was too into picking up films or going to the cinema to spend money on stuff like this.

The Dark Side stuff was brilliant, and it really was the only way to get info on the likes of the nasties - my intro came from a mid 90's spread in Empire or Total Film (can't remember qhich) which did a retrospective on the nasties, and as you said, there was no going back from there. I sadly don't have any of those mags anymore, they really were like bibles back then for me, but it lead me into the world of bootlegs which was a very exciting time for a young horror fan!

That really is an excellent collection of magazines you have there, Wes. Sadly I have none, as many were discarded or given to friends over the years (decisions I completely regret). I would love to see you do something on those in your stash, even scans of the covers and hints on some obscure titles would be fantastic!

Agreed fully that the days of fanzines and 'the underground' being a cultural place to go to for obscure/cult art (in all forms) is dead, much in the same way the idea of 'music scenes' are dead. Sadly, everything just exists 'on the net' now, and has no more relevance to culture than a Miley Cyrus video. But, that's the world we live in now. Still, I think you can get collections of Shock Xpress these days, so must look into it!

In relation to the Lost in Space/Quatermass mention, I'm thinking of starting to include more of that kind of thing here - I think it's all relevant as we would have grown up on these shows, unlike today where you have to actively seek them out. How are the kids of today supposed to understand the world without being raised on The Twilight Zone??

At 18 May 2014 at 07:45 , Blogger Wes M said...

The fanzine network in the UK really was a special element of film culture during the 90's, and with all the raids that happened in the second half of the decade, it genuinely felt like an underground thing. I was introduced to an awful lot of films just by combing through Samhain magazine's classified section – I have the May 1989 issue here with me now and the following Wanted ad is typical of what you would find: “TCM 2, Mark of the Devil, Blue Holocaust, Wizard of Gore, Bloodsucking Freaks, Last House on Dead End Street, Clockwork Orange, Deranged, Salo, Combat ShockUncut only, also posters of the above...” I mean, what a roll-call of films right there !

I had considered doing a Lost In Space series on my page – I was inspired by Dark Side funnily enough – they ran a two issue Star Trek Original Series Episode guide and it was extremely good, very smart and comprehensive. But it's hard work to do something like that justice. I tried to do a Hammer thing and I got so far into the series before it was quietly shelved after a posting dry-spell – I just couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to sit down with Prehistoric Women and cobble some notes together for a post... But Twilight Zone is one of those things that's great to read about, but great to write about as well – you see an episode like I Shot an Arrow into the Air, you make the connection between Planet of the Apes and y'know, you gotta get it out there !

At 18 May 2014 at 08:01 , Blogger JP Mulvanetti said...

That list of films right there was the stuff of legends, pretty much! I had never heard of Last House on Dead End Street until reading about it in Killing For Culture ten years ago, and the way it was described I felt I probably would never get to see it. Was surprising to see it pop up then on DVD, in the UK too, no less, and the Tartan DVD is still cherished!

Yeah, it's a daunting task diving into writing on such a massive subject. I think if I was to do it, it would only be occasional, as I only get through a few episodes of these shows a month, anyway. Keeping it diverse though is definitely the only way of keeping yourself interested; as you said, if you can't even face the pain of putting thoughts to paper (or blog post) it's probably best to switch over to something that appeals a bit more. I must go and have a look for some of your Hammer posts, I'm far from an expert on their output (beyond the obvious horror titles you would expect) so would love to read some more on them.

At 13 July 2014 at 20:12 , Blogger Craig Edwards said...

I was just hours ago in a shop something like the one you write about here - and it was all I could do to keep from buying far too many things I couldn't afford. I don't know how Southern Illinois in the 70's and 80's compared to your town (and Wes's) but it seemed we were out in the middle of nowhere with little stuff to draw us genre fans to.

At 14 July 2014 at 02:07 , Blogger JP Mulvanetti said...

Being in Dublin City I think I had it much better than poor old Wes, there, but you only had one or two options back when I was a kid. things are different now, as they probably are over there for you now - fans of sci-fi, horror, comics, etc aren't as shunned as they used to be (hey, we've got rights!) so there is much more to cater for all tastes. Still, London is great for it, next time I'm bringing an empty suitcase just to load up...

At 14 July 2014 at 03:42 , Blogger Wes M said...

Yeah, things were tough in Cork but luckily UK magazine Dark Side which began in 1990 was sufficiently distributed to make it into the local newsagents. Overall it had a good balance of mainstream Horror films and Euro-Cult Cinema - in particular Italian Cinema which was really hot stuff over here in the 90's - I mean the likes of Cannibal Holocaust and New York Ripper were as illegal as...well heroin. But the real value of the Dark Side magazine was that it opened up roads for me to wander down and I was a regular buyer of fanzines featured in the mag's fanzine focus section: You send a cheque off in the post and after an endless wait of six to eight weeks the Deep Red Horror Handbook drops thru the letterbox, and massive excitement all round. It was like some interesting and exotic flotsam and jetsam washing up on your desert island to relieve the boredom.... Craig, I'd love to hear more about your experience growing up, how, where you discovered films. I really thought that you guys in the US were living on top of a candy mountain and had access to everything and all of it uncut! unbanned!! It was only after discovering Video Watchdog that I realized the US had to contend with a lot of the same stuff we had over here, whether it was a case of a film being cut or hard to track down. But I was really naive - I imagined you guys had a hundred TV stations to choose from with all night Horror marathons to stay up for. I remember talking to a guy from Plano, Texas one time and was really surprised he hadn't seen The Texas Chain Saw Massacre - I mean I thought everyone from Texas would have seen that film on TV at least, but not so. I remember being hugely disappointed !


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