The Monster Times

If FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND was the TIME of scifi/horror magazines, and CINEFANTASTIQUE was THE NEW YORKER, then THE MONSTER TIMES would have to be THE VILLAGE VOICE of genre publications in the 1970’s. For one thing, it was literally a newspaper, printed on awkward, unfolding sheets just like your average daily. Published in New York and sharing editors from NATIONAL LAMPOON, I loved THE MONSTER TIMES and eagerly awaited each new spindly issue when or where it popped up on newstands. The covers were bold and colorful, each issue had its own full length poster, and their sensibility was Counter-Culture East Coast Smart-Ass.

But they loved them monster movies and could cast a wise critical eye on the genre. I first learned about Herschell Gordon Lewis in TMT, apropos in their memorable “Worst Issue Ever” celebrating all things bad in horror and discovered the late-nite symbology of the phrase “Panic In New York: Menagerie Breaks Loose” on movie newspaper headlines. I also loved the “Hugo Headstone” comic in some issues that poked inside fun at the dedicated fans.

I was excited by their previews of upcoming films I would not be seeing at my tender age; I couldn’t even look at the photo of Leatherface from their review of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974). But they encompassed other areas of sub-culture, devoting pages to the great MARS ATTACKS! cards; the X-rated spoof FLESH GORDON; and even Jack Kirby comics. The editors loved to needle some creature named “Nixon,” giving the paper a political bent all its own (and teaching me to forever more use the word “bent”). Most important, they were big Godzilla fans and gave him as much print as they could, even nominating him for President in 1972. It would sure be a different country if he had won.

THE MONSTER TIMES only lasted a few years from ’72 – 1976, but it left an impression on me, not only for its catholic taste in genre fare, but for its street-wise cynical tone. TMT was not built to last, what with the pulpy paper that frayed at the edges (though I still have all of mine in fairly good shape) and they were notorious for sprucing up images with unwanted inky flourishes. Still, there was nothing like going to Comics & Comics in downtown Sacramento to find a lurid new edition with Gamera or WEREWOLVES ON WHEELS on the wide cover…O’ Ghoul Days!

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One Response to “The Monster Times”

  1. […] ship design ever. I followed the fandom of the series in the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland, The Monster Times, etc, and appreciated the devotion to the series and actors, yet sad they were typecast (James […]

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