Phantasmagoria issue #17 2020/21

Speaking as something of a hermit who knows very little about the world beyond my immediate bubble I was somewhat stunned by Phantasmagoria. I’ll dive right in. A well balanced and empathetic editorial from Trever Kennedy presages a cornucopia of stuff. So much stuff I have to bunch the original artwork into one comment – Extravagant. It’s everywhere throughout and it’s all very good.  That’s the new stuff. One of my fascinations is pulp and comic art. Wonderful, wonderful pictures throughout – worth the price for those alone. Then there’s the photographs and the adverts: even the adverts are worth the price. I find I have lied about ‘one comment’ but that is the effect of this Winter Extravaganza

Interviews. The first with Peter Atkins author and Filmmaker arguably best known for Hellraiser. Trevor Kennedy insightfully draws out a fascinating portrayal of a man who appears to have several doppelgangers or a human duplicator to do all that he does. I played in a punk band in the 1980’s  and am looking at The Chase as though I know them personally; I’m also thinking that the band took up almost all of my time. How does he manage? Happy news that a new collection of Horror is nearly with us among, it seems, a ridiculous number of other interesting projects.

Johnny Mains (Pan man) is up next. I have long been aware of Johnny’s investigative talents (this is the man who actually found a photograph of Herbert Van Thal) Here he is again resurrecting the little known author Catherine Lord. Great work by Horror’s modern detective.

Next Mary O Reagan of PS Publishing discusses her own writing and Absinthe Books, introducing novellas by new authors. After which, Steve Rasnic Tem. When Trevor Kennedy says he is ‘overwhelmed somewhat’ by Steve’s ouput I find I am in the same boat. Still, we get insights – Tem’s hatred of violence, his exploration of the inner world beyond mundane realties and the belief that these worlds are effectively real – a sentiment I affirm.

Over to Films – ‘The Curse of the Cat People’ viewed by Michael Campbell and thirty years later, ‘Misery’ viewed by Barnaby Page. I loved this juxtaposition of two very different classics. This is followed by a tribute to David Rowse who was suited up for Darth Vader and an interview with David J Howe. Of Telos publishing. Telos, of course, publish Paul Finch’s Terror Tales, a brilliant series enjoying spectacular success. I’m proud that my story ‘The Other House, the Other Voice’, appears in one of the series alongside some very respectable company.

I am stopping the review here to say that I counted sixteen short stories in this edition. I am actually not even a third of the way through what can only be described as an extravaganza marked by a wonderful delicate balance in production and a quiet display of erudition so, with apologies to those revered names unmentioned, I am off to read the next story.