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Threat Assessment
Looking Back at Film Threat Magazine

If you were interested in film back in the 1980's, the golden era of independent filmmaking, like us, you may have thanked your deity regularly for the existence of Film Threat Magazine. In an industry dominated by smiling, air-kissing back stabbers, Film Threat stood its ground as Hollywood's "Voice of Treason", serving up intelligent, quality reviews and great scoops on the exploding indie film scene. The original founder and publisher Chris Gore (from Dee-troit!) created a well-executed, affordable rag before the independent film market was fully aware of its own existence.

El Mariachi a
7 out of 10?


SlateBoy Reads
Some Hate Mail
Acquired by Larry Flynt Publications in 1991, the magazine (in our opinion) lost it's edge in the following several years, probably due to Mr Gore's pursuit of other interests (gaming & CD-ROM publications), and was finally discontinued in 1996. After a failed attempt at re-launching the print version of the magazine (Gore now had the rights back), a decision was made to put the magazine on line that same year. We had no idea the site existed until researching this article - we were going to do a sentimental piece on a bygone era in print media. We've been happily perusing the site ever since, and may subscribe to their email newsletter. That's entirely contingent upon whether or not they sue us for the images used here without permission, and whether or not we get our free coffee mug.
Probably one of the greatest things about picking up a copy of Film Threat was knowing that you were so much cooler than everyone else. Why were you so cool? Well, people who THOUGHT they were cool would've given El Mariachi a "10". Film Threat gave it a "7". The ratings system alone was enough to make this magazine hip. Five stars? Get outa here...how about flies swarming around "SlateBoy", and the word "Sucks" in bold face type? In actuality, one of the great things about the magazine was that the reviews weren't written by negative, whining, Rex Reed/Leonard Maltin wannabes. These were balanced, intelligent reviews for the most part. Even Lawnmower Man received a "Lame". An example of a "Suck" movie? A Midnight Clear. Enough said?

The Clever Storyboard-like Table of Contents
Obviously, content is vital, but an essential (and strangely, often overlooked) element in a great magazine is functional and imaginative layouts. Film Threat really excelled here. Countercultural publications have a tendency to look slapped together, as if that somehow enhances their street cred. Film Threat did a really nice job with the use of graphic elements, from the storyboard-like table of contents to the graphical ratings. SlateBoy required no verbal explanation. And the covers! Shunning boobies for more compelling images like the cover of the "Mutants on the Loose" issue insured that no Ricky Retardo frat boy would pick up a copy of this rag. Which perhaps contributed to the magazine's ultimate demise. As P.T. Barnum said: "No one's ever gone broke underestimating the taste of the American public." So sadly, in spite of official declarations of war, Premiere remains in print, while our back-issues of Film Threat grow more and more tattered as we periodically pull them out of the Ziplocs and reminisce...

Ian Gray
September 2002

Great Minds, They Say...

While whipping this piece together on the evening of August 29, we ran across this Chris Gore piece, also dated August 29, at FilmThreat.com - Mr. Gore Addresses the same concept our own Terry Osterhout has been rabidly muttering about for months. Look for some follow ups on this topic in future pieces.

 


It's Hard To Say How Covers
Like This Impacted Sales...


...But We Would Do Anything To Undermine Hollywood Drivel Like Premiere Magazine...

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