Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #161, December 1990: To Catch a Predator 2

The first Predator movie kind of came out of nowhere to become a cult hit. But the media was prepared for the sequel, and it got more attention than its predecessor. Thus, a Predator cover on Starlog.

Also note that this issue Starlog’s cover price jumps 55 cents, from $3.95 to $4.50. I know, inflation blah blah blah. But still, the magazine has been at a standard 76 pages (excluding special extra-page issues) since #94 back in May 1985 – 68 issues ago. The paper quality is much better than it was five years earlier, but it’s the same total number of pages, the same amount of color pages in the overall package, and it costs $4.50 instead of the $2.95 that #94 cost.

But don’t complain too much. Within half-a-year or so, the magazine will finally upgrade its page count and color situation, resuming its march to ever-more of both.

Starlog #161
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $4.50

Photo caption of the month: “Pete Martell stands out as the most normal Twin Peaks resident – just don’t let him near a percolator.”

The rundown: A powerful-looking Predator star is on the cover, while Valkenvania’s Demi Moore is featured on the contents page. Reader letters in Communications include praise for the Michael Ironside interview in #155, give decidedly mixed reactions to Total Recall, and attempt to be as weird as the Philip K. Dick interview it's referencing; and David McDonnell’s Medialog announces a sequel to be called Bill & Ted Go to Hell, plus other genre news.

Marc Shapiro previews the Dan Akroyd-John Candy-Demi Moore fantasy film Valkenvania (about which Akroyd says, “I don’t know why Starlog would want to cover this movie. It’s definitely not science fiction.” Fine. I said it was fantasy.); new video releases (Jetsons: The Movie, Total Recall, Back to the Future Part III, etc.) are announced in David Hutchison’s Videolog column; Robert Pegg profiles actor Jack Nance, veteran of David Lynch productions such as Eraserhead and Twin Peaks; Robert Greenberger interviews actress Suzie Plakson, who portrayed the Klingon K’Ehleyr in Star Trek: The Next Generation; in the second part of his talk with writer George R.R. Martin, Edward Gross explores how the series dealt with star Linda Hamilton’s decision to dial down her involvement with Beauty & the Beast; Michael Vance and Bradley H. Sinor talk with veteran science-fiction author Hal Clement; and Dan Yakir checks in with writer Bruce Joel Rubin to talk about his new movie Jacob’s Ladder (and he also discusses Ghost and Brainstorm).

The Fan Network pages include Lia Pelosi’s fan club directory, convention calendar, and some very short news bits on SF music parodies and a non-fiction book by Edward Gross exploring aspects of Beauty & the Beast; in the cover story, Marc Shapiro unveils this season’s Predator (and includes this comment by writer Jim Thomas: “I think Predator vs. Alien is a good idea that will probably never happen. ... My personal favorite would be to have the Predator beat the crap out of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”), with a sidebar chat with director Stephen Hopkins; Shapiro also explores TSR’s first move into the comics publishing business, with a new Buck Rogers title; actor Liam Neeson tells Kyle Counts about his role as the star of Darkman; Tom Weaver interviews actress Jane Wyatt, the veteran who portrayed Spock’s mother (and whom I always mix up with Jane Wyman, Ronald Reagan’s first wife); a two-page Tribute section includes Kim Howard Johnson’s remembrance of actor Jack Gilford and Python Graham Chapman, and Tim Ferrante provides actor Jock Mahoney’s obituary; Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman, who chronicled everything Blake’s 7-ish a while back, return with a complete episode guide to the Robin of Sherwood TV series; Kerry O’Quinn gets all misty about Niagara Falls in his From the Bridge column; and David McDonnell’s Liner Notes column announces Mike Fisher’s new computer-drawn “Creature Profile” comic panel that will appear in the magazine for a number of years.
“There’s a moment when the cameras are rolling and before the director has called ‘action’ that you’re waiting. You’re not yet committed to the scene and you’re waiting for the cue and you’re in a very vulnerable kind of moment. It’s an intense pressure and concentration. And David [Lynch] will use that moment and start talking to you and give you verbal cues to the scene like ‘wrapped in plastic’ and you’ll be reacting to what he’s saying and do it on the spot. He has caught you, caught you unawares. It’s really neat and it’s really personal, a kind of intimate thing.”
–Jack Nance, actor, interviewed by Robert Pegg: “Deceptive Appearances”
To see more issues, click on Starlog Internet Archive Project below or visit The Starlog Project’s permanent home.


Franco Macabro said...

Wow, this copy, along with the one that had Adv. of Baron Munchausen on the cover where some of my favorite issues for some reason.

I loved that title Valkenvania a whole lot more then Nothing but Trouble, Bill and Ted go To Hell's title was too controversial, obviously thats why they changed the name.

Kudos on these awesome blog posts, question: did you work with the guys at STarlog, or write for them? Just curious!

jzipperer said...

Yeah, B&T Go to Hell was catchier, but it probably would have caused them trouble in distribution and advertising.

No, I never worked with/at/for Starlog. I've known a few of their staff over the years, but these blog posts are all my own.