Zine Collection

I have been a fan of zines since the mid-late 80s, but only began building my collection of horror film fanzines some time in the 90s. I think if I had been a little older, or did not leave home when I did, I would have spent much more time trading, participating and acquiring more during those incredible and explosive years of creativity—the golden era of indie publishing.

I lived in San Francisco from the mid-80s to early 90s and as a young adult new to the city, there was a lot more to occupy my time with than to wait for the mail to arrive or shoot off handwritten correspondences to the seemingly countless zine publishers—there were movies to see! San Francisco was a movie town with so, so many great theaters and rep houses, I was literally at the movies four or five days a week. But being in the city, zines were available too if I wanted them. I watched my neighborhood in the Lower Haight quickly transform from a somewhat barren and broken down couple of blocks with only junk shops and liquor stores to an ultra hip neighborhood with cool bars, new restaurants, boutiques and an incredible magazine store called The Naked Eye which seemed to carry every zine being published like Bunnyhop, The Betty Pages, Answer Me!, Murder Can Be Fun and Roller Derby. I was not a major consumer and having a shop around the corner like The Naked Eye made me feel as if indie publishing and zines would never go away. And for a time, they didn’t.

From San Francisco, I moved to New York City, where I continued to live the delusion that I would always have zines at my disposal if I wanted them. I shopped at See/Hear, a tiny basement zine and record shop on 1st St. in the East Village. Times were so good that by the mid-90s, See/Hear moved to a prime location and beautiful new space on St. Marks Place with scads and scads of zine purchasing options. I recall buying copies of Shock Cinema, Teen Fag and Randall Phillips’ Fuck there. But I was busy and was not in a mindset to worry about missed issues of any favorite publication. Further down St. Marks was Kim’s Video—an epic video store with 3 or 4 locations, but St. Marks was the best. Besides their mind-boggling video collection, they stocked a decent selection of film-related zines, many from the UK. What a sweet, simple pleasure to stop in at Kim’s knowing I would walk out with something amazing.

Part of the collection.

Now all these years later, my favorite haunts are all closed including Kim’s Video, their collection now residing somewhere in Italy. Fact Sheet Five, the magazine that kept people up to date on the publication status of all variety of zines is long gone too. The Internet came, blogging and all things digital turned analog publishing into an antiquated and near obsolete form of creative expression and it’s around this time that I probably began to seek out some of the film zines I’d missed—and there are a lot! I am almost ashamed to say that as of this writing, I don’t have even a single copy of Trashola or Sleazoid Xpress. Oh, the heartbreak.

But I do have a nice little collection that I continue adding to and that I will be sharing on this website. These fanzines are as much of a valuable resource today as they ever were and I think there is an incredible amount of inspiration to be gained from the often humble works of past publishers and the writers whose works fill countless pages that have been mostly unseen by the average individual. John Szpunar’s Xerox Ferox (Headpress, 2013) has been a much welcome and important book documenting many of these zines and the people who made them.

I am thankful for the contemporary photographers and artists who’ve embraced zine culture and I do have some of those publications in my collection, but I am a movie geek and film zines are where it’s at for me so instead of keeping these incredible little works in boxes, hidden away for another 30 years, let’s talk about them, share and maybe even do some trading!

Thanks to all of the publishers and writers whose hard work and incredible dedication gave us gems of self-expression in both their written reviews and the letters that appear in many of the zines.