Review: Brutal As Hell Magazine

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If you’ve been paying attention to what we are about with The Reprobate, then it will come as no surprise to know that we are big supporters of print zines. As good as the web is, as handy as an eBook might be, nothing quite compares to holding a physical object in your hand – the feel, the smell, the tactile nature of turning the pages… it all has a special feel, And of course, a shelf full of books and magazines can never be replaced by a collection of digital files on a Kindle. While we hope that you are enjoying what we are doing on the Reprobate website, we believe that the real essence of this project will be in the printed magazines.

The predicted demise of print has not, of course, occurred, suggesting that we are not alone in our appreciation for this ancient format. And recently, there has been a shift from online to print, with established websites like Louder Than War taking the step into the physical. The latest to do so is horror website Brutal As Hell, which has just published a one-off (for now) print edition gathering together a selection of content from the site.

Brutal As Hell is, for me, the best of the horror movie websites out there – not only does it have sharper writing than most, but it also seems decidedly less corporate, with less inclination to report every bit of gossip and every click bait news story that comes along. This print edition is an A5 format, 48-page magazine that is packed to the gills (literally – my one complaint would be a personal aesthetic one, namely that the text is too close to the edge of the page) with reviews, articles and interviews. Included herein are features on Last House on the Left, Evil Dead 2, Jacob’s Ladder and children’s horror films, plus pieces on Goya’s The Great He-Goat, jump scares, and French fantasy artists, and interviewees including sex/horror artist Rick Melton (you might recognise his work from the more lurid Arrow Video covers).

As with any work featuring critical reviews by a variety of writers, I don’t agree with every opinion in here, and occasionally would splutter with indignation (Housebound “a pretty near perfect film”? Be off with you, sir), but of course, that’s half the fun of reading reviews – to see if someone saw (or failed to see) something in a film that you didn’t (or did) and to listen to their arguments for or against said work. As long as the writing is good, it doesn’t much matter if the person is in agreement with you or not.

Heavily illustrated, slick and glossy, Brutal As Hell is a good sampler for the website, and well worth picking up. Hopefully, this edition is just the first of many…

DAVID FLINT

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