Saturday, 2 March 2013

Aenigma fanzine

The look of this new fanzine by Nigel Maskell, of Italian Film Review, is deliberately low-fi and retro, the text being done in a typewriter font where the g’s have the descender filled in with ink and the occasional word is struck through or inserted in pencil, and then appearing as it has been cut out and pasted onto the background, with the result then being photocopied. There’s no colour, excepting the use of red card for the cover.

Anyone who remembers old punk-era, pre DTP zines, or who now reads Cinema Sewer or Rick Trembles’ Motion Picture Purgatory will feel right at home.

Nigel begins with a childhood memory of seeing Asylum whilst on holiday and how it led into horror and then Eurohorror. Following a brief digression into Joan Blondell – a digression that works thanks to the stream of consciousness style of the writing – we’re then onto five of the great Italian horror shock endings, namely Zombie/Zombie Flesh Eaters, The Beyond, Rabid Dogs, To Be Twenty and 'Tis a Pity She’s a Whore.

Next up is a review of The Beast in Heat, in which the brilliant description of the titular Beast – "a Luciano-Pigozzi headed Ron Jeremy figure in a Luis Guzman mask" – pretty much tells those of us in the know all we need to know, that Nigel knows his stuff.

Following this is a piece on Cannibal Holocaust that’s partly about the film and partly about the late lamented video culture in the UK. Nigel’s analysis of documentary authenticity and the wider history of animal cruelty is good, though I would have added in a nod to Flaherty’s Nanook of the North, as a foundational documentary that is nevertheless misrepresentative, sensationalist and exploitative at points. I’d also say more about the score: while effective and mentioned diegetically I feel it detracts from the effectiveness of the whole.

The discussion of Zombie Flesh Eaters is similar: Part a discussion of the film, part the author’s reactions to it and the influence it has had on his life.

All in all, if you’re a reader of this blog, you should find plenty in Aenigma. If you don’t, well, as the masthead proclaims, with a reference to Welsh band Super Furry Animals, “The Man Don’t Give a Fuck”

Available from

1 comment:

Nigel Maskell said...

Thanks for that Keith, I am pretty happy how the first issue turned out. But I noticed how I was starting to find my "voice" later in the zine. Having got into my stride I hope issue 2 is better.

I really wanted to place some of the films in the context of their UK release as I felt it would be a different way to look at them. Also it is a lament for the lost age of VHS, BBC Horror Double Bills, proper cinemas in every town and so on. Film started to leave me behind in the mid 80s and I hate multiplexes.

For this reason I felt it fair to describe Aenigma as a perzine. Though I may add a few capsule reviews, interviews and comment into future issues. I have no idea what direction it will take to be honest, as it is very much something I intend to be free from restricted in style.

Its an honour to be reviewed on Giallo Fever. This has been regular reading for me for many years now.