I have some exciting news to share with the readers of BMD: next month, I’ll be teaming up with Dallas Sonnier (the producer of Bone Tomahawk and Brawl In Cell Block 99) to orchestrate and execute the resurrection of Fangoria magazine.
Launched in 1979, Fangoria was a constant genre presence for decades. In a pre-internet world, it was the only place to get horror movie news, insight, and hype. It spawned a convention, an awards show, a video label, and an entire generation of horror fans. The magazine changed owners a couple times over the years, and in the 2010s it ran into some difficulties. Its last printed issue was in 2015, and Fango was declared dead by those in the know shortly afterward.
That’s not okay. As I said in today's press release, there needs to be a Fangoria.
So Dallas' company Cinestate has acquired the Fangoria property from the previous owner, and Dallas is now Fangoria’s new publisher; I’ll be Editor-in-Chief of the magazine, and creative director of the brand.
Fangoria will be reborn later this year as a deluxe quarterly edition, a collectible horror film journal featuring voices both new and familiar (do the names Timpone, Gingold, Zimmerman, or Borders ring a bell?). It will present smart, fun, exclusive horror film coverage - all in time for the magazine’s 40th anniversary next year.
I know what you’re thinking: why is the BMD Bond guy leaving to run Fangoria? I guess that’s a fair question, though long-time readers (and my friends) know that I’m just as steeped in horror, even if it hasn’t really been my primary beat here at BMD. But if you require receipts, in the past I’ve written about The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (and its most hated sequel), authored several posts about the career of David Cronenberg, and written here and elsewhere about George Romero. I once wrote and directed a feature-length documentary about John Carpenter’s Halloween for A&E. I was one of the masterminds behind Within Week, for God’s sake. The truth is I was a horror guy long before I was a Bond guy, and I’m looking forward to creating and curating more content in that space. That I’ll be doing it under the brand that’s singularly responsible for my lifelong fascination with films and filmmaking is something about which I’m immeasurably excited. Real talk: I bought my first issue of Fango over 30 years ago; becoming its new Editor-in-Chief is gonna be surreal as hell!
The biggest life adjustment will be leaving BMD. As I said in a private note to my colleagues earlier this week, BMD is my family. I’ve formed lasting friendships with the site’s other writers, have been honored to meet and get to know a few readers, and as an editor it’s been my privilege to introduce many new voices to the BMD audience. I’ve been writing here since 2010, and this family of writers and readers has become a support system I never dared dream for myself. I didn’t realize my life was missing BMD until I found it - no, more accurately, until we created it together. The BMD team members are all sitting at computers hundreds, even thousands of miles away from one another, but we’ve made something special together, and it’s going to connect us for life. My BMD family is a forever thing.
But the Fangoria gig is a full-time business venture, and I’m going to need to dig in and focus for a bit, so at the end of this month I’ll be stepping away from my role here as Editor-at-Large. If they’ll have me, you might yet see me pop back in for an editorial here and there, or a podcast now and again. And my new responsibilities will have me crossing paths with my BMD pals at festivals and events all year; I suspect we’ll all be seeing each other in real life more than we currently do. In short, I’ll be around.
And of course, I’ll still be reading. Because I know I won’t find another pair of clowns who make the often inane film news cycle as hilarious and entertaining as do Evan Saathoff and Scott Wampler. No one else on earth will move me to guilt-purchase all the vintage deep-dives I haven’t yet seen like Jacob Knight and his evangelical film advocacy. There is no one else I can count on to dissect horror franchises in the unique, fastidious fashion of Brian Collins. I’ll never find another Amelia Emberwing, Andrew Todd or Siddhant Adlakha - my dear Millennial Triumvirate - whose combined passion and smarts cause me to rethink most of my old man points of view at least once a day. And I can only hope to replicate at the new gig the kind of thoughtful, calm, pragmatic leadership Jenny Jacobi has provided BMD in recent months.
And try as I might, I’m not going to find on any other site the talented, diverse, and divergent collection of voices that have assembled under BMD’s roof over the years - folks like Emily Sears, Leigh Monson, Anya Stanley, Jeremy Smith, Priscilla Page, JM Mutore, Russ Fischer, Candice Frederick, Kolleen Carney Hoepfner, James Shapiro, Amanda Hughes, Jof Gurd, Marisa Mirabal, Mustafa Yasar II, Kalyn Corrigan - there are literally too many to name. If I may be so bold, BMD’s readers can get a little narrow in their focus, often acting as if the site hosts a very small core group of writers. But I’m pretty proud of the wonderfully varied extended writing team we’ve assembled, and it’s my parting wish that you’ll dig in to some of the newer-to-you author pages linked above.
And I hope the readers I’ve come to know over the past seven-plus years will come and see what we’ve got planned at Fangoria. But it’s not a website I’m plugging; Fangoria is a magazine, and it belongs to (and in) the physical world. When I was a kid, saving up for, finding, and reading a copy of Fangoria was a ritual, and I’m excited by the challenge of trying to bring that magical feeling back to readers, to restore the title to that special, desirable thing it was to me back then. At the same time I'm intrigued by the challenge of putting in readers’ hands a version of Fangoria that has kind of grown up with them.
It’s gonna be fun, and this thing we do should always be fun.
I start the Fango gig on March 1st. I’ll be here right up until then. After that, I’ll see you in print!
Cinestate's full press release is below.
DALLAS, TX (February 15, 2018) –– Fangoria Magazine is returning from its digital grave and back into print where it belongs. Thanks to a new investment, a new Editor-in-Chief, and a new Publisher, the world’s highest-profile horror movie magazine is reemerging as a collectible quarterly with the first issue set to drop this fall in time for Halloween.
Cinestate, the Texas-based entertainment company, completed the deal to acquire all the assets and trademarks of the Fangoria brand, including the magazine, from The Brooklyn Company. Cinestate CEO Dallas Sonnier diligently courted the previous publisher Thomas DeFeo for several months, with the two signing an agreement that turned over the rights to Sonnier & Cinestate.
Sonnier’s first move as the new Publisher was to hire his favorite film writer Phil Nobile Jr. as the Editor-in-Chief of Fangoria Magazine. Nobile comes to Fangoria from his role as Editor-At-Large for the website Birth.Movies.Death., and as a writer/producer for Stage 3 Productions in Philadelphia, where he created a feature-length documentary on John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN. Nobile will also act as the Creative Director for the entire Fangoria brand.
“There needs to be a Fangoria,” says Nobile. “The magazine was a constant presence in the genre since 1979 - and then one day it was gone. That felt, to us, tragically incorrect. Fango was, for multiple generations, a privileged window into the world of horror. It gave us access to filmmakers’ processes and secrets, opened our eyes to movies we might have otherwise missed, and nurtured a wave of talent that’s out there driving the genre today. I’m proud and excited to be part of the team that’s bringing this institution back.”
As part of the arrangement, Cinestate controls all material from over 300 issues of Fangoria Magazine, including articles, photos, and exclusive interviews, spanning the past 39 years. The contents of the now-infamous Fangoria storage unit in New York, a veritable treasure trove of horror history collected over decades by former staff, has arrived at the Cinestate offices to be sorted and cataloged.
Nobile and Sonnier quickly approached and landed deals with popular Fangoria legends Tony Timpone and Michael Gingold to return to the magazine with their own columns, and to consult for the company. Additionally, the publication already has excited commitments from contributors including frequent Cinestate collaborator S. Craig Zahler (BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99), Ashlee Blackwell (Graveyard Shift Sisters), Samuel Zimmerman (Curator, Shudder), Grady Hendrix (PAPERBACKS FROM HELL), Meredith Borders (former Editorial Director of Birth.Movies.Death.), Rebekah McKendry (academic and horror historian), and Preston Fassel (whose project OUR LADY OF THE INFERNO is currently in development at Cinestate). Nobile shall further curate a diverse roster of voices for the new iteration of the legendary publication.
“We are fully committed to restoring faith in Fangoria with the horror fan community, so many of whom bought subscriptions, but never received their magazines. We have also been reaching out to previous Fangoria contributors to introduce ourselves and invite them back into the tent for future collaborations. This is a process, but we are confident in our ability to earn back trust and be good partners in a brand that personally means so much to so many awesome people,” states Sonnier.
Sonnier was able to complete the Fangoria asset acquisition and fuel growth in Cinestate by raising over $5 million of investment for his company. The primary investor in Cinestate is a member of a prominent Texas family that wishes to remain anonymous. As part of the deal, Cinestate also acquired the assets and trademarks to out-of-print publications Starlog and Gorezone.
A full staff is in place and operating from the Cinestate offices in Dallas, TX. Zack Parker, formerly of Shudder, joins Fangoria as the Director of Brand Management, along with Jessica Safavimehr as Associate Publisher and Ashley Detmering as Art Director. Nobile will be based out of New Jersey. The team is dedicated to putting Fangoria back where it belongs – in print.
“When I read Fangoria as a kid, it was a special ritual. I had to save up for it, and then I had to find it. And bringing it home ten times a year became a kind of sacrament, poring over every photograph on every page, reading that whole thing front to back, then doing it again,” Nobile says. “We want to restore that analog thrill to readers. We want to duplicate the excitement that I remember bubbling up around a new issue of Fango, put that excitement in an envelope and mail it to our subscribers. Fangoria is not something that competes with online blogs. Fangoria is not an algorithm. Fangoria is something you hold in your hands, something you spend a bit of time with in the real world. That’s what it was for decades, and that’s what we’re going to make it again.”
Cinestate will further develop Fangoria into a brand for producing movies and podcasts, as well as publishing horror novels. Cinestate VP Amanda Presmyk will head up production on a slate of Fangoria-presented horror movies that Sonnier will bring to the table for Cinestate’s new label.
Cinestate is currently in post on a gonzo reimagining of the PUPPET MASTER franchise, as well as Zahler’s next movie DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE for Lionsgate starring Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn. Cinestate also published its first novel in January – Zahler’s HUG CHICKENPENNY: THE PANEGYRIC OF AN ANOMALOUS CHILD, which is being developed into a feature by Zahler, Cinestate and the Jim Henson Company.