As popular a topic as “the death of print” may be, there’s still noteworthy on-paper contributions to Horror Fandom being made. As a complete devotee to seminal rags like UncleBob Martin-era FANGORIA, Michael J. Weldon’s Psychotronic, and Chas Balun’s DEEP RED, I’m beyond picky with Horror and Exploitation related film magazines. More than picky I’m perhaps disheartened, as most of the major mags are largely filled with what might as well be bought and sold ad space for what is ultimately mindless major studio garbage (in contrast, certainly a nod goes to many of the folks at Rue Morgue, who do a wonderful job).
A lot of folks buy the lie that innovation is no longer financially viable, and so it’s thrilling to see the voracious VHS virus that is LUNCHMEAT innovate the hell out of the stale contemporary magazine market. It’s layout, style, mission, writing, and humor are completely its own, and Editor Josh Schafer seemingly without strain puts to rest the notion that watering down material makes for a better read. It’s fun, original and genuinely fresh.
Instead of trying to ape the antics of other movie mags, LUNCHMEAT has created its own personal style of zine-like worship and research style. They mostly cover VHS unavailable on DVD (a world that is indeed endless despite popular misconceptions), and related phenomena. Instead of covering "hot new" films (which as we all know are few and far between), LUNCHMEAT creates the subtext that they’re moving back through time, scouring the trash for tapes; coming up with mind-bending absurdities like “HAWK JONES”, a 1986 violent action film wherein the entire cast is children pretending to be adults! And, though many titles are joked about and poked fun at, LUNCHMEAT is still a truly upbeat endeavor - there’s an unbelievably heartfelt respect for so many of these films, and movies that are laughed off by most within the scene are discussed here for their historical importance and positive traits. The excellent review of Penelope Spheeris’ oft-overlooked “DUDES” (issue 6 also features a great interview with highly talented but also-oft-overlooked actor Daniel Roebuck ) is high point. Schafer writes:
“This film, while arguably a little uneven at times, is an absolutely unique entry in genre film and the voracious Videovore would do themselves good to implement this one into their VCR’s diet. Not only because of the bright cast’s chemistry and consistently entertaining performances, but Spheeris’ ability to meld the aspects of a road movie, an off-beat buddy comedy and a classic revenge flick all into one is truly something special. The laughs are abundant, the action’s exciting and the idea of a pair of once-passive punks realizing that life’s about creating your own adventure makes DUDES a fulfilling and enjoyable ride.”
Well put! I didn’t know anybody out there felt the same way I did about Spheeris’ DUDES. Get your hands on Issue #6 and give these guys as much of your dough as you can - Long live LUNCHMEAT!