As per the previous editions, Issue Five is a collection of thoughtful and essays (bordering on the academic) on a variety of subjects, accompanied by illustrations of equally varied quality. It’s certainly not for the casual reader, but fans who already have a deeper understanding of the genre and are willing to open their minds to some different opinions and theories will certainly get a lot out of the work contained here.
Among the topics covered are Stephen King’s The Shining and, more accurately, Stanley Kubrick’s film version of it, which King famously hated. The bleakness of the original version of The Omen is examined, and there’s a curious ‘case study’ of Thomas Harris’ infamous creation Hannibal Lecter. An interesting piece on the two houses that filmmaker Michael Reeves (Witchfinder General) occupied offers a different slant on what we know about the tragic auteur. Likewise, an essay on the ‘queerness’ of werewolf movies provides plenty of food for thought.
Of particular interest, though are interviews with the original Fangoria editor Bob Martin, who really reveals a lot about his tenure on one of the seminal horror film magazines of all time, and it’s fascinating to learn what those early days of the ground-breaking mag were like. Ramsey Campbell, arguably Britain’s greatest living horror author, also opens up about his one-time contemporary and friend Robert Aickman. Only recently being given the respect and adulation as a horror author that he deserves, the late Aickman is a great subject to end the latest issue.
If your taste is for less showy and more cerebral reading, Exquisite Terror could be just what you need. The layout style may not be to some tastes (there are far too many hyphenated line breaks for this writer’s liking), but one can’t fault the content, and several of the illustrations are atmospheric and impressive.
EXQUISITE TERROR #5 / EDITOR: NAILA SCARGILL / WRITERS: RICH WILSON, CHRIS LLOYD, JAMES GRACEY, JIM READER, DOMINIC CUTHBERT, MARTYN CONTERIO, JON TOWLSON, JOHNNY MAINS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW