Sunday, September 6, 2009

Cinema 57/Screen Chills

Two of the most highly prized issues in any monster mag collection, because of their rarity and historical significance. Cinema 57 is hard to find in excellent condition and Screen Chills is hard to find in any condition.

Published by the French Federation of Ciné Clubs
Editor: Pierre Billard
1954 - 1999

First appearing in Nov. 1954, Cinema 54 (the title changed with each new year) was a leading French film journal for more than four decades. Issue #20 (July/Aug. 1957) was a special on ciné fantastique and was the first serious study of the genre, predating the first book on the subject, Le Fantastique au Cinema by Michel Laclos (Societe des Editions, 1958). This 144 pg. digest-sized, photo illustrated issue of Cinema is regarded as one of the inspirations for Famous Monsters of Filmland. Forry Ackerman had been selling some articles to Jim Warren for his girly mag After Hours and at a meeting between the two, Warren related that he was looking for an idea for a one-shot magazine to generate a little revenue. Forry showed him a recently acquired copy of Cinema 57 and the rest, as they say, is history!

No. 20 (front)

No. 20 (back)

SCREEN CHILLS and Macabre Stories
Pep Publishers and Printers of Croydon, England
Editor: Leslie Syddall(?)
Nov. 1957(?)

This 32 page digest-sized UK mag featured mostly horror fiction (including a "Cthulhu Mythos" story by Robert Bloch, retitled "Them Ones"), along with reviews of recent fantasy films. The plots of I Was A Teenage Werewolf and Zombies of Mora Tau (Dead That Walk) are retold in short story form and illustrated with a few photos from the films. Leslie Syddall is believed to be the (uncredited) editor of this one-shot mag. Screen Chills' status and desirability rests solely on the possibility that it's publication might predate the first issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland, making SC the first "monster magazine". The mag is undated, but a little research turned up the above (possible, but unconfirmed) date.

No. 1


  1. The Bloch tale is a retitle of "Notebook Found in a Deserted House". Bob was apparently unaware of the reprint, and it isn't listed in Randall D. Larson's bibliography of his work.

  2. Mr. Campbell,

    Thanks for visiting the blog and taking the time to add an interesting bit of information on "Screen Chills"!