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?
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
|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
|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
It's Hard To Say How Covers
Like This Impacted Sales...
...But We Would Do Anything To Undermine Hollywood
Drivel Like Premiere Magazine...