As a sci-fi loving teenager in the early 80s my regular reading regime consisted mainly of the always thrill-powered 2000AD comic and the monthly delights of a quickly-maturing Doctor Who Magazine. Whilst reading the latter it became increasingly hard to ignore the regular adverts for a fantasy film and TV magazine called Starburst. Its striking covers, often featuring the likes of zombies, Snake Plissken and scantily-clad females, were catnip to my curiosity and once I bought my first issue I was hooked.
Throughout the summer months I loved staying up with my dad to watch BBC2’s classic Saturday night horror double-bills, so to be able to actually read about those films in brilliant detail was like drinking from the Holy Grail. The photos that accompanied them were lovingly displayed and those that depicted scenes from the new wave of American horror films were often quite shocking. (Some of those films, later viewed at the height of the ‘video-nasty’ era were shocking for all the wrong reasons). A spread from John Carpenter’s forthcoming Escape from New York had me both fascinated and repulsed by riotous scenes outside the Choc-Full-o-Nuts that included an impaled head perched on a parking meter. Nice going, Starburst! I also vividly remember a colourful spread on 1972’s Tales from the Crypt featuring an image of Peter Cushing as the zombified Arthur Grimsdyke that was far more unsettling than any actual scenes in the movie. If it wasn’t for Starburst I wouldn’t have gone to see the likes of Time Bandits, a superbly-realised flick that I knew nothing about before happening upon a generously-endowed piece in the mag. Mind you, I also wouldn’t have endured the highly dubious double-billing of Krull and Saturn 3 at the Bolton Odeon. Nice going, Starburst! The sheer level of insight, humour and detail lavished upon all imagination-firing films and TV by the Starburst team kept me gripped for years. I have particularly fond memories of purchasing an issue almost entirely dedicated to my favourite film of all, Blade Runner.