LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Exclusive Interview with Tony Timpone, Editor of Fangoria Magazine
By James Whittington, Thursday 29th June 2006 Tony Timpone is the longtime editor of the world’s longest running horror magazine, Fangoria. Here, in this exclusive interview with Zone Horror's resident host Jason Jones, he discusses his inspirations, his thoughts on today’s cinema and plans for the future.
JJ: What started your appreciation of the horror genre? Did you see a certain movie when you were younger that sparked off your affection for them? (For me it was Hammer's Dracula when I was 7)
TT: The original KING KONG sparked my interest in the fantastique, followed by a steady diet of Japanese giant monster movies, classic Universal monster flicks, AIP drive-in fare, etc.
JJ: Did you read horror comics as a kid?
TT: Yes, I read many Marvel comic book titles. Horror favorites were WEREWOLF BY NIGHT and MAN-THING. But I dug the superheroes more: SPIDER-MAN, SILVER SURFER, FANTASTIC FOUR, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, etc.
JJ: Fangoria has been going for such a long time (since 1979) and you've been there for quite sometime. How did the magazine come about in the first place and how do you keep your enthusiasm up after all this time?
TT: I joined the company in 1985 when Fango had just reached issue #48. FANGORIA began life as sort of an annex for sister publication STARLOG, which catered to the sci-fi set. Fango inherited all the articles that were not a good fit for STARLOG: Godzilla movies, gory FX, slasher films, monsters, etc. Now, over 200 issues later (!), yes, I still find the job exciting and fun. I can’t imagine leaving. I get to be a kid every day. I’ve always loved these kinds of movies, so editing FANGORIA and working on our sideline projects allows me the opportunity to wallow in them.
JJ: How much has the magazine changed over the years?
TT: It has changed tremendously, especially design-wise. We have more pages, we’re all color, better paper, you name it. The computer age has also made assembling the magazine easier than in 1979 where everything was done by hand almost. We also have more content than ever before because more people in Hollywood and around the world have taken horror mainstream. Everyone’s making horror films, and it’s Fango’s job to report on each one.
JJ: The first issue I came across was number 39, a time when the TV show "V" was hitting TV screen s across the globe. I was shocked but overjoyed to read a magazine that dared to show blood and gore, did you ever have problems with the magazines content or its glorious covers?
TT: No, I have always reveled in Fango’s choice of cover ghouls and its politically incorrect content.
JJ: Have you ever had to censor yourself for the overseas markets and has there been any country that has refused to stock Fangoria?
TT: I have never censored Fango for the overseas market. Sometimes I won’t run a photo if it’s too gross, but only rarely, and usually it’s because the shot looks phony. Fango (and late sister publication GOREZONE) had issues pulled in the UK and Canada back in the ’80s, and we even sparked PM Margaret Thatcher’s ire once. In Parliament, she reportedly held up a copy of Fango and exclaimed, “This is something children should not see!”
JJ: You released Gorezone magazine in 1988 which seemed to be Fangoria taken to the next level as some of the pictures were more graphic. How much were you involved with it and if so, were you saddened by its short shelf life (I recall it was 26 issues as that's all I could get hold of!)?
TT: I edited GOREZONE from issue #1. Yes, we tried to make it more extreme than Fango and cover more indie films. Our publisher launched the mag to squash any competition on the newsstands, and we did. It was a fun run. We folded the mag in 1993 to concentrate on making Fango bigger and better. I miss GOREZONE, but I don’t miss the extra work.
JJ: Has there been any Fangoria spin off's that haven't made it past the drawing board?
TT: At one point we almost did a FANGO JUNIOR, for the young adult/GOOSEBUMPS set. Thank God it never got published!
JJ: Is there one article or feature you're most proud of?
TT: That’s tough. It’s more favorite issues, like marker editions #100, 200 and the 25th anniversary special. I’m very proud of my recent George Romero interview in Fango #250, and the multipart articles on the American Film Market that I wrote for Fangoria.com.
JJ: Where do you stand on Hollywood's over reliance on remakes (or as they call it "re-imagining" of old classics such as The Fog) and what's your honest opinion on the PG-13 run of horror movies?
TT: Some remakes work, like DAWN OF THE DEAD and TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, because they went off in different directions. Others are complete wastes of time, like THE AMITYVILLE HORROR and THE FOG reduxes. There have been some effective PG and PG-13 horror films, going all the way back to JAWS in 1975. You don’t need gore and foul language to make a movie scary. It’s all in the story, characters and suspense. But filmmakers shouldn’t censor themselves for a rating.
JJ: What do you think of other horror magazines such as Rue-Morgue and Dark Side?
TT: I’m too busy with my own thing to read the other mags, but I do like the folks over at RUE MORGUE.
JJ: You served as a producer on Bravo's 5-hour documentary series THE 100 SCARIEST MOVIE MOMENTS and helped guide the first three Fango flicks for Columbia Tri-Star Home Video: MINDWARP (starring Bruce Campbell and Angus Scrimm), CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT (with Karen Black and Ami Dolenz) and SEVERED TIES (with Oliver Reed and Elke Sommer). How did you get involved with all these productions?
TT: On THE 100 SCARIEST MOVIE MOMENTS, Kaufman Films needed a “horror guy” to get them connected with the folks in the horror industry. So I came on board and tracked down and interviewed most of the scream greats for the series. It was a wonderful, year-long experience. On the three Fango feature films, I was a consultant because the movies were produced largely out of our New York offices, and I could offer suggestions on scripts, talent, etc.
JJ: Would you like to get into movie making production fulltime?
TT: Maybe. I enjoy producing. But I love editing the magazine too. I want to continue doing both.
JJ: You'll get asked this all the time but do you still experience scares and thrills after all this time whilst watching horror movies?
TT: Yes, but not often. But I can get scared or startled like anyone else. I was squirming with the audience during KING KONG’s over-the-top pit scene the other night.
JJ: Is there one horror writer, filmmaker or star you still wish to interview or feature?
TT: We’ve gotten them all over the years. I’d love to meet Robert De Niro and Clint Eastwood some day, so I hope they have some fright flicks in their future.
JJ: So what does the future hold for Fangoria and for Anthony Timpone himself?
TT: We closed FANGORIA #250 not long ago, which continues to mark a milestone for the publication. FANGORIA is the longest-running horror publication in history. For the most part, we will continue to do what we have been doing for 26 years. We also want to continue making Fangoria.com bigger and better, with more news, special features and interactivity. We hope to have a major redesign launched in 2006. I want our conventions to grow more, expanding in more U.S. cities and enter overseas countries like the UK. With FANGORIA TV, the goal is to start with streaming it live over the web, then going after cable. We are also “sneaking” our programs on Monsters HD. The show I’m most proud of is SCREAMOGRAPHY, which is our BIOGRAPHY-style series. Some of the celebs I’ve interviewed for SCREAMOGRAPHY include Sean Cunningham, Joe Dante, David J. Schow, Robert Englund and many others. I want to continue working on that show, as well as grow with the company as we begin producing movies again in 2006. In addition, on June 23 we launched FANGORIA Radio (www.fangoriaradio.com), which airs on Fridays nights on Sirius Satellite Radio, channel 102. This 3-hour horror entertainment program, hosted by Dee Snider and Debbie Rochon, unites fright fans from all over the world.
JJ: What's your perfect Friday night pizza and horror movie combination?
TT: Lately it has been episodes of MASTERS OF HORROR and NY’s best pizza, DiFara’s in Midwood. Yum!
JJ:Tony Timpone, thank you very much
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