From the official Cinefantastique website:
“During a decade when many mainstream critics were dismissing THE EXORICST as sadistic pornography, and when Forest J Ackerman was filling Famous Monsters with puny puns (e.g., “A Clockwork Lemon,” referring to a malfunctioning robot in FUTURE WORLD), publisher-editor Frederick S. Clarke created a little magazine with a big ambition: to cover the genre better than anybody, and to do it with all the seriousness of Cashier du Cinema, American Film, or Film Comment.”
For anyone fascinated by sci-fi, fantasty, or horror films riding on big dreams and a tiny budget, Cinefantastique is a goldmine. The writers do not simply dismiss their subjects as many critics are apt to do with genre films, nor do they shower their subjects with praise as in a fanzine. Cinefantastique was composed with both the genuine passion of a devoted fan and the thoughtful insight of a critic, resulting in an engaging editorial. Interviews, critiques, and in-depth explorations of special effects and prosthesis are complimented by film stills and behind-the-scenes shots on every page. There are also fantastic full-color spreads throughout, framed by well-designed layouts and text. Feature articles are prodigiously in-depth and as such have left behind invaluable sources for research and admiration relating to dozens of seminal genre films. There are very few advertisements and most are beautifully painted film posters regardless, making the magazine all the more enjoyable to read.
In 2000, Frederick Clarke, publisher since 1970, committed suicide. Mindfire Entertainment bought the magazine, renamed it “CFQ” and entirely remodeled its approach and aesthetic in an attempt to meet the demands of today’s consumer. In 2006 the last issue of CFQ was printed, and has been exclusively published online ever since.
In the periodicals section you will find 15 volumes of Cinefantastique beginning with the 4th volume, published in 1975, up until the final 2006 issue.
Currently at a modest 50 items, Advertising – Paper & Printing deserves to be cultivated more (and the depths of my hermit-packed, cave like office could certainly provide the materials). Illustration Westvaco (1927-1954), which has been around far longer than this infantile subject, are essentially printing advertisements in booklet form. These are single-page ads culled from publications such as Communication Arts, Fortune Magazine, and Graphis, ranging from the late 1940’s to the early 1980’s.
We have a number of chivalrous Champion Paper ads, some of which are variations on the below but with a different background saturation color.
The Automation of the Gaze:
If it is an ad placed in a late 1940’s or early 1950’s Fortune Magazine, there is a one in three chance that a hand will feature prominently.
Consolidated boasts about landing the coveted American Airlines Account.
Seymour Chwast illustrated this, equal parts regal and far-out, irrational fear of mushrooms.
From 1982 we have”the world’s only consumer magazine about beer:” BEER. This is the Beauty (Barbara Eden with her shirt apparently completely unbuttoned) and the beer (that thing pictured in the upper right corner which Barbara made materialize) issue.
The Mob moves in on Wayne Newton. Beverly Hills Diet: Can it kill you? Brazil gags Baez. And the fairy tale wedding (sans the longevity of ever after or happiness).
Dick and Judy Blinn demonstrating what 1980 money looks like:
Some standard 1980 props from Time:
Geo was a great magazine. We have a number of issues in our periodicals from 1979-1985. It was sort of like a more artsy National Geographic, but it is sadly no more.
Next we have a selection of Atlantic magazines, many of which, at least in content and posturing, seem like they could have been published this year.
A selection of Omni magazine seems a fitting way to stagger your imagination, blow your mind, and be done with the mainstream 1980’s. Much like the 1980’s itself, and especially the end of the 80’s, which like the end of any decade tries too hard to descend and ascend and define, the graphics presented here are just a little too awkward and conceptually far-reaching for even 20+ of nostalgic inducing passing time to render endearing. But what do I know?
The Visual Arts Library recently acquired most of the dope:
Film Dope no.7(1975:Apr.)-no.50(1994:Apr.) We are missing the first 6 issues, and I believe no.50 is the last issue (I know it ceased some time in 1994). This is a British publication, the obsessively fussed over, though sometimes neglected love-child of David Badder & Bob Baker (Markku Salmi is credited as a co-editor on issue 7, but not after).
What is the Dope? Each issue of Film Dope provides information on 30 to 40 directors, actors, cinematographers, and writers. An exhaustive list of credits (mostly film and television, but also commercials) is given for each person that they profile. Now, if that is all that Film Dope provided, I would have not felt that it needed to take up precious space on our periodical shelves (even though they are beautifully bound, have great front and back covers, and a goodly number of production stills).
If credits were all that Film Dope offered, IMDB and Wikipedia would have rendered this fine publication obsolete. What keeps this publication relevant, endearing, and worth having around are its format, its subjectivity, and its rich collection of primary sources of information.
Issue 7 (April 1975) includes the following entries: Paddy Chayefsky, Nikolai Cherkasov, Maurica Chevalier, Marvin Chomsky, Montgomery Clift, Sean Connery and 33 others. Issue 50 (April 1994) includes the following entries: Al Pacino, Jack Palance, Dorothy Parker, Robert Parrish, Charles Parrott, Christine Pascal. The twenty years between those two issues chronicled people with last names that started with D to O. Sadly, they would never make it to R-Z, but what we are left with is a periodical that over the span of twenty years morphed into an encyclopedia. During that time they went from thanking the British Film Institute staff for “their patience and assistance” to thanking them “for [their] continuing financial assistance.” Obviously they were creating something of apparent value.
David Badder & Bob Baker were two very dedicated, knowledgeable, and intelligent chaps, and it is their input and discretion that gave a value-added aspect beyond free online sources before they even existed. Many of the issues include an editorial (which normally offers some apology for how long its been between issues). But their real editorial influence is both in the amount of time they chose to give to each subject and the very personal opinions that they have of almost everyone chronicled. Normally, out of the 30 or so people featured, a handful have a more extensive narrative biography, along with an interview, reprinted correspondence and/or reflections from peers. These are the primary sources of information I was touting earlier. Some of the interviews, such as with the director Louis Daquin, go on for ten dense pages. Other entries are little more than the credits, but more often than not include some sort of anecdotal information and very personal, though meaningful opinions, such as Bob Baker’s of Julie Christie:
After lauding and defending Julie Christie, the ever honest film critic/hound is forced to admit, “I can’t ever imagine her moving me very deeply. I am at a loss to account for this and hope to be proved wrong very soon.” It’s informative but deeply subjective and gives a contemporaneous context of critical reception and in this case emotional barometer.
The people that made it to these issues, though impressive in scope, are obviously not exhaustive of everyone that worked in the motion pictures in England and the USA up to that point. But the fact that it is limited and now static, lends the publication a curatorial quality. The scope is, however, quite large (say, maybe 1200 people in our 43 issues) and full of variety (from Bob Clampett to Boris Karloff). Film Dope is a marvel and a joy, not to mention a rich, important resource for film research.