Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #104, March 1986: Re-Warring

Star Wars is on the cover of Starlog for the third time in six issues, and there hasn't even been a Star Wars film for several years. Call it savvy marketing, call it a lack of enthusiasm among the editors for any of the new movies out in early 1986, or call it a lack of originality. But it probably worked and moved copies at the newsstand. Wookies attract.

Starlog #104
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95

Overdosing on the tales of filmdom's special makeup effects artists had long been a signature approach of sister magazine Fangoria. Maybe it was because there weren't a lot of new horror films in those days; maybe it was because (as was intimated from time to time in the magazine) many higher-up creators such as directors and writers objected to being interviewed by a magazine called Fangoria. Whatever the reason, it served another good purpose, taking the magazine's readers behind the scenes of how a film is made and how Hollywood really works. Though they would always remain part of the magazine's mix of articles, Fango eased up on the makeup stories as the film world served up more new terror treats and as the magazine grew.

So, two things: This issue of Starlog features several stories branded on the cover under "Makeup FX torture tales." And Starlog editor David McDonnell would, very soon, be taking over the editing chores of Fangoria (while continuing his Starlog magazine duties, plus licensed film magazines) after Fango editors Bob Martin and David Everitt both exited stage left.

The rundown: In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O'Quinn suggests people take Basic Thinking 101; letters in the Communications section include a reader disturbed by the sexual content of recent SF films (The Goonies, in particular), reaction to Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, a story about a less-than-awesome encounter with George Lucas, and more; the Medialog section includes Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier's report on the unveiling of Gene Roddenberry's star on Hollywood Boulevard, Edward Gross on Spider-Man: The Movie, and David McDonnell's media roundup, including news on the flick Solarbabies; and Videolog includes David Hutchison's roundup of new video releases, plus Carr D'Angelo on D.A.R.Y.L.

Edward Gross interviews writer/producer Joseph Stefano on The Outer Limits, old and new (including a sidebar featuring Stefano's original story theme guidelines for the series' writers); Lee Goldberg previews The Ray Bradbury Theater; Booklog features Edward Gross' chat with British James Bond author John Gardner, Geraldine Freedman's check-in with author Joan Vinge, and Chris Henderson's roundup of new books; Lee Goldberg talks with actors Jimmy Hunt and Hunter Carson about their roles in Invaders From Mars; Adam Pirani visits the location set of Highlander; Ian Spelling interviews actor James Remar (The Clan of the Cave Bear); Will Murray interviews actor Joel Grey (Remo: The Adventure Begins, Cabaret); Adam Pirani interviews Peter Mayhew, Star Wars' Chewbacca; William Rabkin interviews Louis Gossett, the alien in Enemy Mine; in a roundup of short articles on makeup effects professionals, Will Murray profiles Carl Fullerton, William Rabkin profiles Stephan Du Puis, Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier profile Michael Westmore, and Richard Meyers and Phil Nutman profile Stuart Freeborn; David Hutchison previews F/X; William Rabkin reveals the unseen footage from Enemy Mine; Edward Gross interviews V creator/producer Kenneth Johnson, who dissects the TV series; Anthony Timpone interviews actor Stephen Collins (Tales of the Gold Monkey, Star Trek – The Motion Picture); the Future Life pages include David Hutchison's three short articles on comets; the Other Voices guest columnist is author William F. Wu; the Fan Network pages include Anthony Timpone answering reader questions (such as, "Is there going to be a conclusion to Lost in Space?"), plus short items on a young man who really wants to be Robin (of Batman) and Merana Cadorette's hand-sculpted Star Wars figurines; and editor David McDonnell's Liner Notes column explains how the staff chose the cover of Starlog #102 (the Enemy Mine cover), making a nice behind-the-scenes look at how magazines are produced (and why).
"My feeling was that Warner Bros. was worried I wouldn't do V as quick, cheap and dirty as they wanted it done, and they were right, so I left. ... They were astonished because I also had, at the time, a 12-hour blind series commitment with NBC through Warner Bros. which was going to bite the dust if I left. That's about a half-million dollars, and they said nobody walks away from that. I said, 'Oh yeah, read my lips, guys.' Then, they brought in more writers and totally bastardized the six-hour script we had written."
–Kenneth Johnson, producer, interviewed by Edward Gross: "Kenneth Johnson: V: What Could Have Been"
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below or visit the Starlog Project's permanent home.
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