From Mailzines to Webzines
Looking back at the genre you can see how its grown and taken many different paths. What was once common practice in the 80’s and mid 90’s were replaced by the millennium’s digital age. 15 years ago, and as little as 7 years ago when you wanted hear the latest on John Carpenters new film, or wanted to buy the most obscure movie you could get your hands on; you had to flip to the back pages of any of your favorite horror mags. Whether it be GoreZone, Fangoria, or Deep Red, these few little pages were a gateway to a fan base unreachable in any direction.
Popular 80’s fan zines included but were not limited to Bill Landis’ Sleazoid Express and Rick Sullivan’s Gore Gazette. We would later end up seeing a new trend for a digital age that was right around the corner. Home computing and the modern usage of the Internet sparked widely around the mid- ninety’s…94-96. The first horror web sites breathed life into what would become the standard for spreading horror news and entertainment. For many that didn’t grow up in the age of old fashioned zines and were raised on the bottle of the PC, were still privileged with many horrific sources. If you wanted to get your hands on any of the old zines or mags from the golden age of horror all you had to do was log onto Ebay and bid on what you wanted. This practice, used widely by most of today’s gore hounds, enable one to become intact with a long lost culture dating back to the 50’s with the comic crazes of “Tales from the Crypt” and “Famous Monsters of Filmland”.
As a young child I remember looking at Fangoria’s Classified Ad Vault and paying $1 for a Blackest Heart Media and a Shocking Videos catalog. Every time I got an updated movie list or brand new catalog, or even a newsletter…it was like Christmas. I remember reading a 3 page fanzine I ordered out of horror mag that featured an article promoting H.G. Lewis’ Blood Feast, after seeing pictures of brains and hacked up limbs I sent in my money and ordered it on sight.
Even decades before, when my father was a child you could order movie monster models, personalized Wolfman and Dracula stamps, shrunken heads, key chains, and the ever popular monster lunch box all out of the back of a comic or horrorzine. Although that practice died out like the drive-in did, its legacy is practiced today among a younger generation. Some of the first and most popular horror webzines are The Cabinet of Dr. Casey, Losman’s Lair of Horror, Arachnia’s Den of the Deceived, House of Horrors, The Zombie Farm, Homepage of the Dead, The House of Pain, and Savini.com just to name a few. The list goes on but starts to dwindle; even some of the early webzines are no longer in operation. As much as this classic format needs to be remembered, it will always be alive and thriving in the communities of horror fans all across the net.