Allan Bryce and the writers on the Dark Side team continue to make my job here very difficult. I mean, a review is supposed to weigh up the good and bad and present it to the readers so that they may form their own opinions of whether something is worth the cover price. However, when it comes to each issue of The Dark Side, it’s really hard to find any fault at all.
The magazine is, essentially, perfect. Well, very nearly. A couple of pieces in this issue didn’t work as well as they could have for me, but that may well be down to personal taste rather than a lack of quality. It has been proven that much of the Dark Side readership is very much into the retro themed issues that have dominated their output of late, and as such the trend continues with the latest.
The cover feature, The Hammer Horrors of Oliver Reed, is as fascinating as the previous entries in the magazine’s growing pantheon of well-researched and executed features on classic aspects of the genre.
However, the high points of this issue for me are the addictive 42nd Street-themed interview with distributor Terry Levene, and the glorious re-evaluation of Lucio Fulci’s demented gorefest Cat In The Brain, aka Nightmare Concert. I’ve always had a soft spot for that film, despite its many failings.
Other quality features include interviews with the wonderful Gemma Arteron about Neil Jordan’s new vamp movie Byzantium, a superb piece with The Frightened Lady’s Dagmar Lassander, the cast of Cannibal Holocaust and much more. As ever.
One thing which didn’t work so well for me this issue was the ‘tribute’ to Jess Franco, whose death sent a ripple of grief throughout cult cinema fandom. Bryce has written the piece well, but it comes across as a little too personal and opinionated to be completely balanced. Still, with all this and the usual wealth of reviews and news, The Dark Side still stands tall above other horror magazines thanks to the very clear love for the genre that its team has.
Magazine Review: The Dark Side – Issue 153