Sunday, April 26, 2015

At Flashbak: Fantastic Files: The Forgotten Genre Magazines of the Seventies and Eighties

This week at Flashbak, I looked back at some of the more obscure or forgotten genre magazines of the seventies and eighties.

"The 1970s and 1980s – the pre-Internet Age -- witnessed the rise of so many great genre magazines. Starlog and Fangoria were two favorites of mine, and publications widely read and appreciated by fans. Also popular at the time was the long-established (and beloved) Famous Monsters, and the scholarly Cinefantastique.

But the seventies and eighties also witnessed the rise and fall of many other great magazines that, today, don’t have the same recognition as these titles.

For example, one of Starlog’s primary competitors, at least for a time, was Fantastic Films, which was published by Irv Karhmar and the Blake Publishing Group.

This magazine featured amazing, in-depth interviews with the most important talents of the era (from Charlton Heston to Glen A. Larson) as well as a great reader’s page called “Reaction.”  The magazine sold for $2.00 an issue, sometimes featured “a giant color poster” inside, and often looked back at classic films and TV series. 

Fantastic Films was published from 1978 to 1985, before it went under, but I cherish my collection 
of issues today for the scholarly, wide-ranging interviews, and intriguing think-pieces, including an analysis of sexual imagery in Alien [1979] that completely opened up new and provocative readings of the Ridley Scott classic.  In some ways, Fantastic Films was every bit the equal of Starlog, except in terms of its longevity.

In the mid-1980s, the Psi-Fi Press and Movies Publishers Services, Inc., published a series of “spotlight” magazines on film and television, called “Files” Magazines.  There were Files magazines devoted to Star Trek (1966 – 1969), Doctor Who (1963 – 1989), The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1964 – 1968) The Prisoner (1967), James Bond, The Avengers (1961 – 1969) and even V: The Series (1985).  Each issue featured an introduction, a part of an on-going episode guide, and interviews with on-screen talent and behind-the-scenes. I always felt that these magazines made a great point: that TV shows -- their artistry, storytelling, and production -- were worth writing about..."


  1. Anonymous2:19 PM

    Back then, most of my friends at school were familiar with Starlog. Fewer newstands sold Fanatastic FIlms. Starlog was my favorite,.It covered everything: films, tv, conventions, artists, space news, columns by David Gerrold, Gerry Anderson, Eagle blueprints, etc. Fantastic films was flashier than Starlog, It featured many more pictures in each story, and the articles seemed more adult orientated. Unforgivably, FF totally ignored Space:1999 (other than quotes such as Glen Larson calling the show "a classic turkey"). In the late 70's, fanzines form Britain such as Starburst were available too.

  2. I think it was Fantastic Films that ran a series of speculative articles about Return of the Jedi. One issue featured reader's letters about where they thought the series should go. A lot of them were cooler than what actually happened.