Thursday, August 1, 2013

Space Monsters ATTACK!

Sadly, this is NOT the title of a great new movie I'm reviewing, but maybe it's something even better - An all-new magazine devoted to classic science fiction and fantasy films!  The style and look should be familiar to everyone who grew up on battered issues of Starlog, way back when, and I suspect that diving into it will provoke more than a few happy childhood memories.  Even better, Yours Truly has a couple of articles in the first issue and a little comic strip, so if you want to help support my writing in a printed mag, be sure and head over to their website to order a copy!

To celebrate this occasion and help promote this venture, I put together a little interview with Space Monsters publisher Richard Gladman on his favorite films, his love of this genre, and why he felt crazy enough to take on a project like this...

For starters, tell me a little bit about your existing blog(s), your Cyberschizoid page, etc.  How long have you been doing this?
I started writing the Cyberschizoid blog way back in 2008 then added the Cyberschizoid group on Facebook and a Twitter account to build the brand. The word “cyberschizoid” is even in the Urban Dictionary! After this I started the Classic Horror Campaign to try and encourage the BBC to bring back their iconic horror double bill seasons and bring classic sci-fi and horror films to a wider and younger audience. This led to the successful Frighten Brighton classic horror film festival in my home town co-hosted by Horror Host and scream queen Emily Booth. 

So, you decided to create your own magazine.  What was the big nudge that pushed you into this?  And what is your plan to make it successful, given how many print magazines seem to be dying off these days?
I’ve always wanted to have my own magazine ever since I was a little kid drawing my own comics and monster magazines. When I was 10 years old I didn’t want to be a train driver, I wanted to be Dez Skinn (British magazine editor and publisher famous for House of Hammer and Starburst magazines)! I was encouraged by my friend Eric McNaughton who publishes We Belong Dead magazine and is a fellow classic horror enthusiast. The thing about print magazines is that in terms of numbers and variety, horror fans have never had it so good; there are more horror and sci-fi magazines being published now than ever before so print is not dead yet! For Space Monsters to be successful we need to have a good mix of articles, interviews, reviews and original artwork and to get the word out there that it exists! 

In connection to that last question, do you have plans for a digital version, perhaps for the iTunes subscription model?
Yes, there is a digital version in the works that should be available from Dead Good Newsstand soon. (

I'm sure putting together the first issue has been a learning experience.  What was the biggest pleasant surprise, and what was the most unexpected and/or unpleasant discovery?
The biggest pleasant surprise was the amount of help and goodwill I have received from talented people all across the world – in many ways making Space Monsters a joy to produce. Unpleasant discoveries? To be honest I try not to focus on the negatives so I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

I had a friend in the states who single-handedly published an award winning horror mag for many years (Deathrealm magazine, for whomever might be interested).  It pretty much ate his life.  Have you got plans for dealing with this?  Are you going to have a staff, or try to do it all yourself? Are you looking at this as a hobby project, or a future career?
I already have a whole bunch of people helping me so I don’t feel I’m coping with the project alone. Who knows what will happen in the future? I guess it depends on the success of the magazine and all the other pies I have my fingers in at the moment. Watch this space….

Tell me about why you chose to devote the magazine to classic SF and fantasy.
There are already so many magazines devoted to horror in all its forms and current sci-fi films and television but none that focus on classic sci-fi. Personally I prefer the classic eras and am becoming bored with the unimaginative CGI trash that comes from Hollywood these days so as a fan I’d rather read about the sci-fi movies and TV shows that I love.

What's your favorite spaceship if you had to pick one from movies between the years 1950 and 1980?  And is that roughly the year range you'll be focusing on in the magazine?
My all-time favourite spaceship is the Eagle from the Space:1999 TV show – a truly iconic design – beautiful! Space Monsters magazine will cover the silent era to the mid-eighties but I think the fifties thru the seventies will be concentrated on more as the true golden age of classic film and television sci-fi. 

On the same note, which classic SF alien would you LEAST want to be trapped on a spaceship with?  
The Blob! There’s just no escape or reasoning with that evil mound of jello is there?

Finally, the question everyone asks -  Name your top 5 classic SF films, and tell me why for each.
OK, in no particular order –
  1. GOJIRA (1954) – I am obsessed with giant monster movies and kaiju in particular. This film introduced the world to a legend and begat so many fun sequels – and I just love sequels! Unlike most of the films that followed, Gojira is a very serious and sombre piece with a message; very moving and incredibly well shot. I simply cannot fault this film.
  2. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1978) – When all the other kids were still crazy about Star Wars I was much more intrigued by this much scarier, more grown-up science-fiction film. Typically, I loved the film that my friends and the public weren’t quite so keen on – always supporting the underdog!
  3. INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956) – Combining horror and sci-fi, my two favourite genres, I found this film really scary when I was a kid and the story is still frightening now. I think they could remake it every decade until the end of time and it would always be relevant.
  4. THE THING (1982) – I never tire of watching this movie for its astonishing special effects, great acting and terrifying story. I have fond memories of seeing this on the big screen in London when I was very underage; my friends couldn’t get in as they didn’t look old enough so I think they went to see Indiana Jones instead!
  5. PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (1959) – I love anything cheesy and trashy and Ed Wood was a genius! This film is so iconic and entertaining and I had the pleasure of seeing this on a late night show at the gorgeous Duke of Yorks cinema in Brighton. Happy days….
There are so many others that probably could have made the list – Forbidden Planet, Alien, THEM!, Planet of the Apes, The Time Machine…so many classic movies! 

Annnd... That's a wrap!  Now all Richard's mates know to get him an Eagle model kit for Christmas and to chase him around in Blob costumes every Halloween.  I hope you've enjoyed this little peek behind the scenes, and be sure to -