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The Top 5 Favorite Movie Magazines

May 28, 2022 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
HorrorHound Magazine1 Image Credit: HorrorHound

The Top 5 Favorite Movie Magazines

I’ve been a fan of movie magazines since I found out that they existed and I’m still a fan today. I know that print in general is on the serious wane and it’s all about digital and the internets and whatnot, but there’s still something very cool about holding a magazine in your hands (it’s very similar to the whole “holding a book in your hands while reading” thing). One of my great joys in life is heading to my local Barnes and Noble and seeing what new movie magazines are out. Back in the day there were tons of magazines that came out every month, but most of the ones I see nowadays are six issues a year or less (there are some cool movie magazines from the UK, like Scream and Dark Side that seem to come out more than other movie magazines, but I’m not entirely sure they’re monthly). And while I don’t have the same amount of disposable income as I used to I still try to support as many movie magazines as I can by buying them when I see them (like Filmfax and Screem, which are both fun). And so, with this particular Top 5 I decided to rank my favorite five movie magazines that are still current and still producing issues. There is one Honorable Mention, but it’s for a movie magazine that is no longer published, but it’s something that I wanted to talk about anyway. And just so you know, you can subscribe to all of the magazines listed in this top 5, as well as buy them at Barnes and Noble, other reputable book stores out there, and even at some comic book shops that have magazines.

So what are my Top 5 Favorite Movie Magazines?

Honorable Mention

Image Credit: Video Watchdog Magazine

Video Watchdog: I started reading Video Watchdog around the end of 2011, when I purchased issue #160, which featured an image from Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan on the cover. I had seen the magazine several times before that on the shelf at Barnes and Noble but never bought one because I didn’t think it was a “real” magazine. VW was always a digest size magazine, making it roughly half the size of a “regular” magazine, and for some reason I thought that was ridiculous. But then that I saw that Jason cover and picked it up. After reading that issue I looked for it every two months (the magazine was a bimonthly thing) and became a full on devotee. It was always a hoot to see what movies and new physical media got reviewed, what movies got deep dive articles, and what the various contributors were ultimately obsessed with (Ramsey Campbell and magazine founder Tim Lucas were always must reads). VW was also one of the few movie magazines where I felt like I actually learned something about a movie or a genre I was totally unaware of. Video Watchdog, sadly, stopped publishing in 2016 with issue #183, leaving a massive hole in my movie magazine reading heart. You can still buy physical back issues of the magazine as well as digital versions (check out the magazine’s website here) and, if you’re lucky, you might find back issues of the magazine at horror conventions and places like that (I found a few older issues at my local comic book store one time and always look for “new” old issues when I’m there).

Other magazines, both current and former, that are worth checking out and remembering: Cinescape, Toxic Horror, Gorezone, Scream, Screem, Filmfax, Sci Fi Invasion!, Entertainment Weekly, Lunchmeat VHS, The Dark Side, Infinity, Ultraviolent, Cinefantastique, Delirium, Premiere, Starlog, Famous Monsters of Filmland, Scary Monsters Movie Magazine. These are the ones I remember. There are likely so many more I’ve missed.

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Image Credit: HorrorHound

5-Horror Hound: Horror Hound is a bimonthly horror themed magazine that I started reading at some point in 2011 when I decided to just up and buy the latest issue, which was all about the horror movies of 1981 (the cover had Pamela Voorhees’ rotting head on the cover as seen in Friday the 13th Part 2). I had managed to read every issue from then until early 2020, when the magazine became harder to get where I live (my local Barnes and Noble was slow to restock its magazine section once it reopened during the pandemic). I’ve since managed to pick up almost every issue since it became readily available again at my local store. Horror Hound features great interviews with current horror movie and TV show creators, typically at the beginning of every issue, as well as reviews of new indie horror flicks. There’s also usually a section in the magazine where you can find out about the latest horror/pop culture merchandise (action figures, books, comics, you know, all of the good stuff we all like). The featured articles are usually terrific and chock full of interesting and useful information (the deep dives on various franchises or subgenres are always fun because they always look at everything, from the themes of the movies or TV shows or whatever to the merchandise that was created over time). I’m also a big fan of the overview articles on the various home video companies over the years that pop up from time to time. Horror Hound also has little info bits on the bottom of just about every page of the magazine, filled with horror news and whatnot. And the magazine covers are always eye catching as hell. Check out the magazine’s website here).

Image Credit: Fangoria Publishing

4- Fangoria: Fangoria is sort of the granddaddy of modern horror movie magazines (I know that Famous Monsters of Filmland was first) and is the first movie magazine I remember reading and wanting to get over and over again. I don’t remember the first issue I bought or what was in it, but I remember being super jazzed about the whole thing: movie reviews, movie news, and all sorts of gory pictures of movie monsters and how to make some of those movie monsters. There were also terrific posters (Scream Greats), like the one of Ahnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800 from Terminator 2: Judgement Day that was essentially the inside front cover and folded out. Even if I couldn’t afford to get it as a kid (or convince an adult to buy it for me) it was a magazine I liked to thumb through in the bookstore. It was always a must experience. The magazine changed over the years (posters eventually became a thing of the past), but it was still always cool to check out. When the magazine ceased publishing back in 2015 I was devastated. What would take Fangoria’s place as the premiere horror movie magazine? Would anything take its place? Fangoria eventually returned to the world under new owners in 2018, then switched owners again in 2020, and is still going strong as a quarterly magazine. Now, is Fangoria necessarily as fun as it used to be? Not really (the content of the magazine is still great, but it’s also $20 per issue. I mean, yes, you get awesome stuff every three months for that $20, but it’s still weird to pay that much money for a magazine). But is still exists and is still a force for good and hope in the horror movie world. That’s what’s ultimately great about it. Check out the magazine’s website here.

Image Credit: Marrs Media Inc.

3- Rue Morgue: I was initially reluctant to buy and read Rue Morgue because, while thumbing through it to see what it was all about, it seemed like the magazine was a weird knock-off of Fangoria that was trying too hard to be cool. I would see cool covers and whatnot but I just couldn’t convince myself to buy it (“Why read the knock off when you can still get the real horror movie magazine Fangoria?”). I eventually bought one, read it cover to cover, and immediately fell in love with it. And I fell in love with every aspect of the magazine, from its regular features (Bowen’s Basement was always a hoot, and the Coroner’s Report bit where they list a bunch of facts towards the beginning of the magazine is always a great read) to its interviews and reviews of old and new movies. I even liked the weird articles about sort of horror themed entertainment that was outside of movies and TV (I guess you could call it “horror culture”). And the annual Halloween issues, where you would get more pages and even better page layouts (the overall design of the magazine has always been fantastic, but the artists always brought an elevated game for the Halloween issue). When I started reading Rue Morgue it came out like ten months out of the year. It then changed to a bimonthly magazine. The magazine seemed to disappear during the pandemic but it seems like it’s back, at least at my local Barnes and Noble (I just bought issue #206 with a cover about “psychic children”). It seems like the paper used for the magazine has changed (it isn’t glossy anymore), which I’m okay with. All of the terrific features are still inside. Check out the magazine’s website here.

Image Credit: Shock Cinema

2- Shock Cinema: Shock Cinema is a movie magazine that I first bought at roughly the same time I bought a copy of Video Watchdog. It was a magazine much like VW where I saw it quite often at Barnes and Noble but never bought it. The cover looked weird and kind of cheap and the inside pages, while clean and easy to read, just didn’t jump out at me. But then I said “Why not?” and bought my first issue, issue #38 (it had Jim Kelly and Ed Lauter on the cover as they were both interviewed). I loved every page of it. Multiple interviews, reviews of movies that I had never heard of (movies from the 1960’s and 1970’s and 1980’s, TV movies, foreign movies, just all sorts of stuff). And it was all fantastic. Much like VW, I’ve learned something with each new issue, either from the interviews (they always feature interesting interviews with various character actors and whatnot, people you don’t see all that often get interviewed anywhere) or the reviews (the movie knowledge of the reviewers amazes me every single time). And the editor’s intro at the start of every issue, where magazine mastermind Steven Pulchaski talks about whatever is on his mind at the moment (politics, the world in general, life, movies) is always a must read. Always. Shock Cinema typically produces two issues every year, one in the spring and one in the fall, so be on the lookout for it (the latest issue has interviews with Diane Franklin and Joe Dante, among others). Check out the Shock Cinema website here.

Image Credit: PhanMedia

1- Phantom of the Movies Videoscope: Videoscope is another movie magazine that I started reading at some point in 2011. It was another sort of impulse buy. I was a little concerned by the lack of glossy pages inside (what sort of magazine is still newsprint in 2011?) but its focus on home video releases was super attractive. There were (and still are) plenty of websites that are all about telling you what’s new on DVD and Blu-ray and whatnot, but none of them are as in-depth as Videoscope, both in terms of reviewing what’s available and just telling you what’s available. And you get a real sense, from the big studio home video releases, to the boutique releases (Shout! Factory, Vinegar Syndrome, Severin Films, companies like that), to companies you’ve absolutely never heard of. A typical issue would also have multiple interviews, maybe a film festival report (lots of international film festival coverage here), regular features (indie genre icon Debbie Rochon is still involved with the magazine) and tons of reviews. Tons. And just about every genre of movie is covered. The magazine has everything. The magazine stopped publishing for about a year after its founder, Joe Kane (the Phantom of the Movies hisself), passed away in late 2020, but has recently returned under Nancy Naglin and is expected to be back on its “four issues a year” schedule. If you’re a fan of great writing about movies and want to find out what, exactly, is available to buy in the physical media world, The Phantom of the Movies Videoscope is the movie magazine you want to read. Check out the magazine’s website here.

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