Unscarred By Dracula

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The 190th issue of UK horror magazine The Dark Side is due out on 15 February, and features my interview with actress Jenny Hanley. We discuss her appearances in such films as Scars of Dracula, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Flesh and Blood Show and Soft Beds, Hard Battles, as well as her work as a presenter on Magpie.

Touch wood, the following issue will include my interview with Ashley Thorpe, director of the new ghost movie Borley Rectory. I’m also working on a profile of the late Brian W Aldiss for its sister magazine Infinity.

Manchester Memories [3]

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Tut tut, I neglected to mention here that the two episodes of our series In Conversation With filmed in Manchester last October are now both available to view on YouTube: Jenny Hanley and Jonathan Rigby. Chrissie and I hope to shoot the fourth episode next weekend.

Meanwhile, extracts from my on-stage interview with Jenny earlier that day should appear in the next issue of The Dark Side, due out 15 February. Those mentioned include Christopher Lee, Roy Ward Baker, Dennis Waterman, Anouska Hempel, Peter Walker, Roy Boulting, Peter Sellers, Roger Moore, Tony Curtis, Roddy McDowall, Ian McShane, George Lazenby, Harvey Weinstein and her mother, Dinah Sheridan.

Manchester Memories

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Went up to Manchester yesterday, to interview Jenny Hanley and Jonathan Rigby for the 28th Festival of Fantastic Films. Both guests and audience seemed to have a great time, and my conversation with Jenny was recorded for use in a future issue of the The Dark Side. The photographs above were taken by Chrissie Harper. (No, I wasn’t kneeling next to Jonathan; he’s just really tall.)

On the Slab [2]

Remember that interview with Autopsy of Jane Doe director André Øvredal I mentioned here? Just learned the latest issue of The Dark Side had a last-minute flood of advertising (as editor Allan Bryce quipped to me, “a nice problem to have”), so it’s been held over until issue #186, due out 31 August.

Fear Not

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I was disappointed, but not entirely surprised, to hear John Gilbert’s attempt to relaunch the horror magazine Fear has been called off after just four issues, especially as I had features in two of those and had hoped to place more in the near future.

That is the second occasion Fear and I have crossed paths. Back in 1991, I was approached by then-publishers Newsfield to become its production manager. The lengthy commute to Ludlow (a round trip of nearly 120 miles) and likely long hours proved too high a hurdle, despite a follow-up approach by John himself. It was a lucky decision: Newsfield went bust a few months later, and it’s likely I’d have joined the list of employees left out of pocket.

This time around, John was reportedly been stiffed by his unnamed backer, who’s failed to cover editorial expenses (which included surprisingly high website fees). He’s talking up the possibility of a further resurrection, but I know from personal experience (nine years co-publishing Critical Wave) how difficult it can be to reach a loyal audience. So many genre magazines spend their time fighting over the same potential readers (just line up the latest issues of SFX, Sci-Fi Now and Geeky Monkey, then try and spot the difference), success is more often than not decided by who’s got the biggest bank balance rather than straight quality. The remarkable longevity of The Dark Side (which I also work for, of course) is a regrettably rare example of a magazine finding a niche and developing a loyal readership; whether Fear can pull off the same trick remains to be seen, but I wish John luck.