It is with mixed emotions that I must announce my decision to step down as Editor-in-Chief of my beloved FANGORIA magazine. This was not an easy choice to make. For 6 years, I have enthusiastically immersed myself creatively, professionally and, yes, emotionally in the FANGOverse as your humble editor. Prior to that, I was a steady freelancer for 3 years. And man, it has indeed been one Hell of a ride…
During my tenure, I have always tried to break rules, play with conventions and make the magazine that I, as a lifelong FANGO reader and horror fan, would have wanted to read and I was thrilled when the readers responded excitedly to the many changes I made. Every issue that I oversaw was designed to be a mad-grab of strange stuff; a melting pot of eccentricity, serious film comment, esoterica, classic FANGO content, left-field editorial and, sometimes, controversial choices. I tried to make a magazine that was as vibrant as I remember FANGO being when I was a kid, when I used to beg for my dad to let me buy it, when it was hidden deep within in the too-high-for-my-hands porn racks or buried erroneously behind some teen-mag twaddle. FANGO was always an adventure for me and it was my goal as Editor to keep it as such for both lifers and newly-minted readers alike.
Sometimes the experiments worked. Sometimes they really worked. Sometimes they tanked and/or blew up in my face; the latter was rare but even when I did make a misstep… it was always an interesting misstep, I think. The important thing was that I always tried to push the edges; I tried to make a fun, intelligent, visually interesting celebration of strange cinema, which is what I live for and will always live for.
I’ve seen sales swell, spike and then sink, only to spike again. I’ve weathered storms I never dreamed could exist and, along with our small, overworked and absurdly dedicated team, managed to drag that damned magazine to the finish line every time. I put people like Nicolas Cage (even organized a FANGO party for him in NYC), Werner Herzog, Gene Simmons, Roger Corman, David Cronenberg, Debbie Rochon, Richard Matheson, Jess Franco, Alice Cooper, John Carpenter (twice, once just discussing his music) and other artists I admire on the cover as well as left-field film choices like BLACK SWAN, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, UNDER THE SKIN, FEMALE VAMPIRE and many other offbeat titles; I developed the concept for our beloved 300th issue; I created our first 3D issue, complete with “FANGOVISION 3D” anaglyph glasses and a cool corner of our website to use them on; I got people talking, debating, dismissing and celebrating. We won a bunch of awards. I invented a side-line of limited edition mags called “FANGORIA Legends”, which fans snapped up and are now valuable collector’s items. I worked with KISS to edit, write and print the official KISS magazine, two issues designed to celebrate their MONSTER album. One of those mags was in 3D and both are now sought-after bits of KISStory. I brought back my beloved GOREZONE magazine (complete with a new Tim Lucas column and Tom Savini make-up FX lab!), to great fan acclaim. I created the FANGORIA Musick label. And so much more… and I’m incredibly proud of all of it.
Now, as I said, stepping down from what is most certainly one of the most coveted professional positions in all of fandom was a difficult decision to make. As EIC, I have overseen and written a wealth of content for over 70 printed magazines. I have worked closely with the legendary Michael Gingold, a brilliant writer and a man who has dedicated his soul to FANGO (and who is the sharpest copy editor alive). I have worked with my “brother from another mother”, the monster magazine design icon Bill Mohalley, who is a tireless, one-man-army. I have worked with the wonderful marketing director Bekah McKendry, who always made sure that we could print the magazine by selling select spaces to cool clients (Bekah has since moved on and has surrendered much of her job to another great human, my friend Cheryl Singleton). I have worked with and been supported by visionaries and professional fans like Ken Hanley, Sam Zimmerman and Kier-La Janisse. I have stood by our publisher, the tireless Thomas DeFeo who pushes himself to impossible extremes to ensure that there even is a FANGORIA left to edit.
I’ve met and interviewed all of my living idols and some of my deceased ones as, during my 6 years, many of my most admired talents have sadly since passed. I have established friendships that will endure. I have even uncovered a few colorful enemies. But again, these sour notes are rare in an otherwise fairly graceful symphony. It’s been a life changing run for me.
So again, the question remains… why step down?
The short answer is that I just felt it was the right time. It’s no secret that I like to keep busy and use many mediums to express myself. I’m a burgeoning filmmaker with three features under my belt and that part of my creative life is extremely interesting and appealing to me. I intend to pursue my film work with vigor. I also compose music for films and for leisure, and I’d certainly like to further explore that aspect of my identity as well. Ultimately, I just feel that my persona has been sufficiently branded upon the FANGO myth. I feel like I accomplished everything I aimed to accomplish. I came. I saw. I fought. I said what I wanted to say. It’s time.
Now, where am I going next, you ask?
Well, outside of the films and music (my third film is now in the international festival circuit, my new album is due this November from Giallo Disco Records), I still intend to use words as my main vessel to express my adoration of the macabre motion picture and I will have some amazing news on that front shortly (you can hit my site Chris-Alexander.ca for updates). On top of that, I’m still staying in the world of print. Last year, I partnered with my friend, producer Charles Band, to create the oddball cult film magazine DELIRIUM and I intend to continue my focus on that scrappy mag and help it grow.
But, more on that another time.
I’ll still be around the FANGOverse. Outside of wrapping up one more issue as EIC, I’ll keep contributing editorial to the mag and still speak publicly on its history and impact on the world. The FANGO team are my extended family, my brothers and sisters in arms. No one I know fights harder. We’ll always be connected.
To my fans and friends and readers and those of you who have stuck with my visions and enjoyed my ideas stamped inside FANGO’s pages, I want to sincerely thank you for the love and support. Keep reading FANGO. Keep it alive. It’s my history. It’s your history. It’s horror’s history…
Now, on to the NEXT burning question.
Who will be the next EIC of FANGORIA magazine?
We’ll reveal all very, very soon…
All my best and see you on the other side…