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Magazine Review: The Dark Side – Issue 161

Dark Side 161The Dark Side
Issue 161
Ghoulish Publishing
Editor: Allan Bryce

Oh hell yes. After a couple of issues that I felt didn’t quite hit the mark, issue 161 of the UK’s longest running horror culture magazine is an almost perfect example of cult cinema journalism. This issue follows he recent trend for the magazine to carry a main theme each time, and this issue covers the infamous Video Nasties films and controversy which swept across the UK’s in the 1980s and continued into the 1990s.

A history of UK film censorship gets things underway with six pages of analysis and history of the various people who had an influence on censoring what the public was able to consume for so long. It’s a very interesting piece and very worthy, although it could have done with maybe 200 words trimming from it. After the letters pages, the regular “Great years In Horror” feature brings us the first half of a feature on 1932. While very good, I don’t feel it merits splitting it over two issues.

An interview with Jake West and Marc Morris, director and producer of the 2nd Video Nasties: The Complete Guide documentary, Draconian Days (which I’ll write about in more detail very soon), is up next and offers a nice glimpse into the banter-laden chemistry the pair have.

Catriona MacColl is interviewed in the pages that follow, revisiting her memories of working with Lucio Fulci on his Gates of Hell trilogy. A feature in the Video Nasties scare follows, and again would have benefited from some judicious pruning in terms of length and focus.

After the customarily chunky reviews section, there’s a fun piece on the Ilsa movies and a brilliant piece with Ruggero Deodato, followed by one with Umberto Lenzi! What a fantastic bunch of articles! Then there’s a look at Fulci’s infamous New York Ripper which demonstrates just how much impact that visceral flick had, and continues to have today.

A fantastic issue of a fantastic magazine, which would have been even better if a few pieces had been trimmed a little. That said, it’s a spectacular issue and a great return to form after a couple of issues which fell a little short of the mark in some ways.

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