Though its never been completely dead, the underground horror film fanzine scene has been going through something of a healthy growth spurt of late. A few factors can account for the number of new titles popping-up: a new generation of younger fans are growing-up with their own things to say, nostalgia for the days of the early 1980's fanzines (xeroxed at work and distributed usually by hand and not instantly available for the entire world to read), and an ever-growing fascination for Gen VHS and the whole fanzine network of reviews and distribution (via dubbed trades) that is intrinsically tied into it (at least when you are talking about the early horror/exploitation/trash VHS releases).
Recent months have seen the first appearance of Sleazefiend Magazine, the latest satisfying dose of Dave Kosanke’s Liquid Cheese, the reborn Monster! and the resurrection - available by subscription only - of Gorezone, the one-time 1980's sister publication to Fangoria. There is also Evilspeak, the debut issue of which filtered into my PO box last week.
Named after a cult 1981 horror film starring Clint Howard, Evilspeak is an 80 page A4 magazine, published in black & white but on decent quality matt paper. The only touch of colour is the red on the cover, which is used to nice effect and helps draw attention to the striking piece of art by Don England, which reminds me of some of the cover art used in the 1970s by zines like Gore Creatures/Midnight Marquee. The interior of Evilspeak is heavily illustrated with photos, art, VHS covers, etc. The reproduction is a little dark at times, but the overall layout is appealingly clean and not messy or overly cluttered.
In terms of content, Evilspeak is pretty much rooted in the 1980s, with articles on Evilspeak the film (written by Dave Kosanke), a tribute to the late genre writer Chas. Balun, a look back at Fantaco’s Gore Shriek comic book, Drive-In Creature Features 1979 - 1982 (taking in The Dark, Without Warning, The Funhouse, The Boogens and Humongous), the underrated 1979 psycho-sickie Tourist Trap, Humanoids from the Deep, interviews with Ulli Lommel (The Boogeyman), Elm St. actresses Heather Langenkamp and Amanda Wyss, and lots more. The 1980s time barrier is broken with pieces on The Demon Lover, Paul Naschy’s Horror Raises from the Tomb and the Eddie Romero Filipino horror films of the 1960's and 70's (such as The Mad Doctor of Blood Island and Brides of Blood).
Enthusiastically written across the board (there’s also a piece entitled Drive-In Terror, written by long-time fanzine writer and filmmaker Donald Farmer), Evilspeak has launched well, and I hope it gets the chance to stick around for more than a few issues, as I think it has the potential to develop into a cool and interesting semi-pro zine (I hope it continues to publish pieces on printed horror pulp from the 70's/80's - be it comics, magazines or lurid paperbacks) .
Bonus points for the Beast of Blood cardboard mask which came with my issue (limited, I believe, to the first 250 copies)!
Visit the Evilspeak online store for copies of the magazine (and t-shirt, should you dig their logo):