30th Anniversary

an exclusive interview with Fangoria editor Tony Timpone

The legendary FANGORIA celebrates its 3rd decade as the world's leading horror magazine. Besides co-running Flamedrop Productions, Shadow Realm, inc. and the South African HORRORFEST Film Festival, Paul Blom is also a Fangoria contributor.

He managed to get editor Tony Timpone away from his blood-soaked desk for a while to ask him some questions about this genre bastion.

How did you land the coolest magazine editor job in the world?

I first joined the FANGORIA staff in July of 1985. It was my first job out of college, although I had been freelancing to Fango’s sister publication STARLOG during my last year at college. I began as an Editorial Assistant to then-Editor David Everitt, who decided to move on a month after I started. Since I was fresh out of college and this was my first job in publishing, I was a little too green to take over the job myself. So I served as the Managing Editor to Dave McDonnell, who took over as Editor until I got my wings. The following year, I was promoted to Editor in Chief. Since this was always my dream job, I never wanted to leave and have toiled at Fango for over two decades. I actually enjoy getting up in the morning to go to work. Every day I realize how fortunate I am to have a job that I love. Another reason why I have stayed on board is all the great opportunities that have come my way while Editor. I helped produce the first three FANGORIA feature films, I’ve written and edited horror-related books (MEN, MAKEUP & MONSTERS; FANGORIA VAMPIRES), co-produced and emceed the Weekend of Horror Conventions, programmed international horror film festivals and many other wonderful opportunities.

Can you please give those not familiar with Fangoria an overview of its history and main aims?

FANGORIA was first launched in spring 1979 as a sister publication to our company’s science fiction publication STARLOG. FANGORIA was created as an annex for all the articles that did not fit under the STARLOG umbrella, like the Godzilla films, makeup FX stories and the new gory wave of fright flicks like FRIDAY THE 13TH and DAWN OF THE DEAD. The magazine was envisioned as a mature examination of horror in film, literature and TV, told in a mature, revealing and entertaining manner.

Knowing from experience, when it comes to reviewing movies, music and games, people often think its the best job in the world - does your affinity for movies in the horror genre sometimes get saturated because you work with it daily?

Yes, it does. I get buried in DVDs, books, CDs and comics, all vying for coverage in the magazine or our website. I rarely write the reviews of the stuff myself. As editor, I rather assign the stuff to our writers or staff members. The stuff that gets raves, then I will check out, plus I go to every theatrical horror screening.

What's the biggest scoop of your career?

Magazine-wise, getting Stephen King to write an article for FANGORIA was the most proud moment in the mag’s 30 year history. King’s essay, ”What’s Scary,” will appear in FANGORIA #289, on sale in December 2009. For our convention, having Jack Nicholson appear and discuss WOLF for our audience was a major coup.

What kind of horror movies do you personally like and who were you most thrilled to meet?

I like supernatural and psychological horror the best, and monster movies. Films like THE EXORCIST, THE OMEN, ROSEMARY’S BABY, ALIEN, etc.
The people I’ve been most thrilled to meet were Nicholson, Vincent Price and Christopher Lee.

Every movie genre is bound by trends, but do you think a specific theme can get tired much quicker when it's horror-related?

The slasher trend can get tired real fast, and the recent US box office failure of HALLOWEEN II and SORORITY ROW seem to illustrate that point. I keep thinking that zombie and vampire films are getting tired, but they show no sign of expiring anytime soon.

Do you think movie makers often try too hard to be shocking rather than really draw an audience in and scare the hell out of them?

Yes, there is some truth to that. For example, the SAW sequels are too concerned with their gruesome torture tableau than delivering real scares and coherent, stand-alone stories. Same goes for many of the “torture porn” movies like CAPTIVITY and BROKEN.

Who would you say is the future of horror?

Not sure there is one person, but the people I am keeping an eye on are authors like Joe King and Sarah Langan, as well as filmmakers such as Rob Zombie, Fabrice (VINYAN) DuWelz, Tom (THE CHILDREN) Shankland, Dennis (LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT) Iliadis, Toby (SPLINTER) Wilkins and Ti (HOUSE OF THE DEVIL) West, plus the great directors coming out of France (MARTYRS’ Pascal Laugier), Spain (the REC duo, TIMECRIMES’ Nacho Vigalondo) and Asia (THE GRUDGE’s Takashi Shimizu).

What do you think keeps horror movies relevant?

When they are informed by current events and the zeitgeist. Like how 28 DAYS LATER mirrored concerns over the bird flu and other pandemics and HOSTEL and SAW drew supposed relevancy from the prisoner and civilian torture that came out of the Iraq War.

How has the internet affected the magazine?

The Internet, and our website FANGORIA.COM, has helped our magazine dramatically. It has helped us gain new subscribers and advertisers, and has increased our brand’s recognition factor and visibility immeasurably.

If you're not at the office, what do you do with your time?

I like to travel, exercise and watch DVDs and new movies.

We have a chance to possibly get John Landis to attend our 2009 HORRORFEST here in Cape Town - have you met him? How important do you think is his contribution to horror, when in essence he is really a comedic director?

John is one of my favorite movie people. He is witty, articulate, entertaining and knows how to tell a story. He has an infectious charm. He is also a fountain of knowledge, and I have always enjoyed the times I have met him, interviewed him and welcomed him at our conventions. Though his horror record is not overly extensive (SCHLOCK, AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, INNOCENT BLOOD and MASTERS OF HORROR), AMERICAN WEREWOLF alone is one of the genre’s landmark films and remains influential to this day.



- Paul Blom

© 2009 - Flamedrop Productions