The CEO of Dallas-based entertainment company Cinestate announced this morning that he’s now the publisher of Fangoria. And, Dallas Sonnier says, he’s going to put the magazine back in print, make podcasts under the brand’s umbrella, and get to work on producing more horror movies and financing horror novels.
“We were looking for a brand under which we wanted to release our horror movies,” he says. “We plan to make a lot of them. They’re very financially feasible to make and very financially successful to release. The magazine will give us a direct connection to a larger audience for this type of genre film. I was looking for a distressed asset that I could pick up and infuse capital into.”
Fangoria was conceived under the name Fantastica in 1978. The founding group believed a film version of Conan the Barbarian would stoke wide interest in the fantasy genre. It wasn’t so. The initial idea tanked and put organizers in the red by $20,000 for each of the first few issues of the magazine.
But readers loved a horror-leaning story that ran in the first issue: the piece was a profile on special effects makeup artist Tom Savini, focusing on his work for Dawn of the Dead. So, the publisher and editors went with it, and the magazine became the go-to rag for teens and others all over the world who shared an obsession with horror, from the mainstream to B-movies. The company also started making radio shows and, years later, movies.
In 2015 the publication stopped printing altogether (for years it operated as a digital outlet and then printed only special editions.) Sonnier, who raised over $5 million in investments for Cinestate, is committed to keeping the magazine alive as a quarterly publication that horror lovers can hold in their hands.
“There needs to be a Fangoria,” says Phil Nobile, the newly-named editor-in-chief (and creative director) of Fangoria, in a press release. “The magazine was a constant presence in the genre since 1979—and then one day it was gone. That felt, to us, tragically incorrect. Fango was, for multiple generations, a privileged window into the world of horror. It gave us access to filmmakers’ processes and secrets, opened our eyes to movies we might have otherwise missed, and nurtured a wave of talent that’s out there driving the genre today. I’m proud and excited to be part of the team that’s bringing this institution back.”
Staff will work mostly out of a Dallas office and hopes to stoke the city’s horror scene with events and partnerships. Sonnier sees momentum for it. Oak Cliff’s Texas Theater frequently hosts screenings of old B-movie horror flicks. It also supports weeklong runs for movies like Green Room. Cinestate itself is in post-production on a gonzo remake of the Puppet Master franchise. It’s also behind S. Craig Zahler’s forthcoming Dragged Across Concrete, which stars Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn and is being released by Lionsgate.
“I grew up here and so I never had access to anything like this,” Sonnier says of the magazine. “Dallas has one of the best horror conventions in the entire world called, called Texas Frightmare, and it’s packed. Fangoria will cement any shot we have as being thought of as a home horror to movies.”