Vanity Scare #6

RUE MORGUE (#122, May 2012)

- The cover. Did it need to be devoted to Dark Shadows? I get that the original TV series has a borderline zealous patronage, but Burton's redux resides on the outskirts of the horror genre. The hipster in me always sighs when RM reserves its cover for mainstream residue. At least the artwork focuses on the "real" Barnabas Collins.

- I have to assign two hyphens to the cover story because...well, it takes up quite a bit of space. Analysis of the series (and the big-budget movie) occupies a wide stretch of this rag. That's fine and dandy if you're a card-carrying Dark Shadows disciple, but I'm not. In my opinion, a surplus of eggs wound up in a small basket. To be fair, it's rare to stumble upon an issue of any magazine that caters exclusively to a single person's tastes. What can I say? The Gothic soap opera was before my time, and frankly, the prospect of plunging headfirst into the show's 1,200-episode history is rather daunting.

- There is a remake of Mother's Day starring Rebecca De Mornay? And it's garnering rave reviews? Color me intrigued.

- I dug Dan Murphy's interview with Jeremy Wade, host of Animal Planet's River Monsters. I've only caught a couple of episodes, but I wouldn't be opposed to watching more. The sidebar Top 10 list is doubly fascinating. Lyle Blackburn breaks down some of the most apocryphal "lake legends." Of course, The Loch Ness Monster is given an honorable mention. I highly enjoyed reading about the lesser-known beasts. This was basically an extension of Monstro Bizarro, a cryptozoology column that RM unveiled just recently. Great stuff.

- Paul Corupe's Late-Nite Archive takes an enlightening look at Plan 9 From Outer Space, which made its debut on Blu-ray in March. We already know that Ed Wood's pet project is considered (by morons) to be the worst film of all time, so Corupe approaches the subject with a diagnostic eye. He intimates that the script is politically subversive (his words) for its time. It dares to suggest that the government hides information from the public. Gasp! Was the social commentary premeditated or is this a case of a journalist reading too much into a simple b-movie in an effort to find a fresh angle? Who knows? Regardless, Corupe delivers a fun read.

- Bowen's Basement forgoes the formalities of dissecting obscure cinema to reflect on a milestone. This is the 50th edition of said column. It's one of my favorite parts of RM, so here's to another 50!

- There is a piece on a book called "Dark Directions" by author Kendall Phillips. Apparently, this tome discusses the effect that certain directors (Craven, Romero and Carpenter) have had on society. This isn't a knock on the article, but Jesus, you couldn't pay me to read such pseudo-intellectual slop. First of all, those filmmakers have been discussed to death. Secondly, does Phillips actually believe that Wes Craven is in the same league as Stanley Kubrick? And does he actually believe that Halloween has a feminist streak? Laurie Strode symbolizes a tug-of-war between female independence and overbearing masculinity? What???

- The Gore-Met tackles The Burning Moon. Sweet!

- I'm not a huge fan of Huntress, but I got a kick out of the brief exchange with their Pagan bombshell of a vocalist. Her occult imagery is authentic, and I respect that.

This issue will be extra rad for Dark Shadows freaks. For the rest of us, it's still pretty cool. I would advise glancing at the table of contents if you're on the fence and low on funds.

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