The Horror Show

The Horror Show magazine was a high-watermark of quality in the era of small press horror magazines. The publication ran from November 1982 until March 1990. It was originally published on newsprint in a tabloid format, ran for many issues with card-stock covers, then completed its dark and glorious transformation into a slick magazine with every page packed with words or adorned by amazing black and white art by some of the best horror artists of its time.

The legacy of the magazine and its editor David B. Silva is significant. Pretty much anybody who was somebody was published in those pages as they strove to establish or further solidify careers in the horror market. This was the proving ground for folks like Gary Raisor, Paul F. Olson, Billie Sue Mosiman, Steve Rasnic Tem, Brian Hodge, G. Wayne Miller, Elizabeth Massie, and Bentley Little. The magazine featured early contributions from (to name just a few) Joe R. Lansdale, Robert McCammon, Poppy Z. Brite, Kathryn Ptacek, A.R. Morlan, and guest appearances by well established authors Charles Grant, J.N. Williamson, Dennis Etchison, Anne Rice, Graham Masterson, and Dean Koontz, who was a friend and huge supporter of the magazine.

I have my own fond memories of the magazine. I discovered The Horror Show through Writer’s Digest and ordered a sample copy. I received the latest issue — Winter 1988. My favorite story from that issue is still “Skin” by Bentley Little. I devoured each issue after that. I sent in my own fiction. I was 16 years old; those stories were not great. But with each rejection letter, David Silva was kind, and encouraging, and gave me feedback genuinely aimed at helping me improve. When the magazine was shutting down, he referred me to a new start-up, Cemetery Dance, and suggested I might want to subscribe and submit to them. I will never forget those letters. I wish I still had them; alas, I lost many such personal items in the early 1990s.

These are scans of the issues of The Horror Show I’ve managed to collect over the years. I would strongly encourage anyone interested in the magazine to order The Definitive Best of The Horror Show, a hardcover anthology published by CD Publications in 1992 with an illuminating introduction by David Silva, who sadly passed away in March 2013. The book is officially out of print, but copies can be found at Amazon and eBay. The featured art for this post is by Alfred Klosterman.

 

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