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Musings on Crypt Magazine, Goth and the Grand Guignol

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It was just a matter of time before some eccentric entrepreneur came up with the idea of a Goth magazine. Editor-In-Grief, David Necro has done just that with his Crypt Magazine creation. Introduced to the masses this month, the magazine of “sex, horror and rock & roll” has only seen the light of the Internet, but a few hard copies are expected to hit the streets soon.

In a press release that came out last week, Necro discusses the spirit of his morbid creation:

“This magazine uses images of death to serve as reminder to enjoy life to its fullest. Glorifying death and trying to go for shock value are not the goals here. ‘There’s a lot of different meanings that you can read into here. That’s good. I like that. It means people are using their imaginations, and we encourage this,’ Mr. Necro says. ‘Plus, I just think the shit looks cool; I like sleaze, horror, and humor. I know there’s a quite a few boils and ghouls who are with me on this point.’ To this, the Editor of Crypt Magazine doesn’t take all of this dark imagery too seriously, and upon reading the pages of this magazine you will find that humor abounds and things are kept very tongue-in-cheek.”

After perusing the website, surfers will find everything from reviews of the new Type O Negative album to interviews with Motorhead. There’s also some great concert reviews of Iggy and the Stooges and Cult of the Psychic Fetus. Then comes the real kicker (after all, this magazine is also about sex). A section called “Cryptgirls” is available for “all the undead beauties to send photographs showing their stuff.” Haven’t seen a Cryptgirl posted as of yet, but will stay tuned. It’s a hard life, but someone’s got to keep tabs on these folks.

Admittedly, conservatives within our midst will do the great freak-out when they set eyes upon this demonic creation. I suppose Crypt Magazine could symbolize the decline of Western civilization (though personally, my vote would be for TV’s American Idol), or we could accept the fact this is just the same story, different author.

The Goth subculture has been around for quite some time, having its roots in the release of Black Sabbath’s first album in 1970. Hell, even Coven had been playing for years on the Satanic/Hippie circuit before recording that cute “One Tin Soldier” for the Billy Jack flick in 1971.

The great Goth infusion came with the publication of Anne Rice’s novel Interview with the Vampire in 1977, followed by its sequel The Vampire Lestat a few years later. Mix those bloody erotics with the rise of punk music, and you have a nice Goth brew percolating across the globe. Musically, the “Goth” term began in 1981 when Anthony Wilson, manager of Joy Division, described the band as “Gothic compared with the pop mainstream.” The interview was seen on a British Broadcasting Commission TV program, and the rest is pop history. Of course, the band’s lead singer Ian Curtis had to go and hang himself, adding an entirely new dimension to the Goth badge.

I have always been a great Rice fan, and even loved the film version of Interview With the Vampire starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. One of my favorite scenes from the brooding epic was the Theatre des Vampires performance.

For those unacquainted, Pitt and Kirsten Dunst, as Louis and Claudia respectively, travel to Paris in search of other vampires. They stumble across a rather hateful coven that performs nightly to sophisticated crowds with a taste for the bizarre. This specific Theatre des Vampires performance includes a nude blond woman being drained to death by robed vampires (I love plays that have nude blond women being drained to death by robed vampires). It’s a great scene, all the more so because the Theatre des Vampires actually existed.

Called The Theatre du Grand-Guignol, this macabre performance hall opened its doors in 1897 to interested Parisians. The “house of horrors” became a huge attraction in Paris for over 60 years. Each night, performances displayed murder, rape, torture, adultery and thievery. The messy special effects of eye-gougings, beheadings and scalpings came courtesy of a friendly neighborhood butcher providing fresh animal parts and lots of blood. Unlike the Theatre des Vampires of Rice’s novel, or even the popular urban myth about the actual Grand-Guignol, the murders created on stage were fake.

I suppose this little detour is to serve a point. Between 1897 and 1962 when The Grand Guignol was open, people flocked nightly to see any number of tortures and maimings. Whether we like to admit it or not, humans have a taste for sex, horror, blood and yes, even rock & roll. Today we can find such taste in the form of Friday the 13th films. We could insert other horror/slasher epics including Halloween, Dawn of the Dead or Last House on the Left, films which have disturbed many due to their perversion and violence. Italian horror maestro Lucio Fulci gave us an interesting scene in the 1983 film City of the Living Dead when a woman literally pukes her intestines onto a sidewalk. The actress actually swallowed sheep intestines purchased from a butcher (sound familiar?), and then threw up on camera. I’m sure the Grand Guignol’s director would have died for such an unforgettable effect. Just bring a bottle of champagne and a couple of glasses (as attendees did back in the day), and it’s a great first date. Paris – it’s a hell of a town.

The term “Goth” goes back even further than the days of Joy Division and the English dive the Batcave (The Cavern of the 1980s). It’s related to Germanic tribes that overthrew the Roman empire around 270 A.D. These fierce warriors were noted for their fighting prowess and pagan beliefs.

With all the wanton slaughter going on back then, Crypt Magazine or The Theatre du Grand-Guignol were probably unnecessary. When there is war, people usually have little need for macabre theatres, slasher films or Goth magazines. But when it comes to Cryptgirls, I suppose anything is possible.

With the release of Crypt Magazine, we have a new era of publications hitting the stands. At least Necro would have us believe so. I’m not entirely convinced fascination with the macabre is anything new. I think it’s been around for ages. Anything that freaks out the moral right will appeal to the rebellious teen trapped in suburban white civilization. As to whether their existence is as tortured as say, Edgar Allan Poe’s, is open to debate. As to whether or not their existence is as miserable as say, the kids in Columbine, one would certainly hope not.

Violence is more punk than Goth, and like drugs, one can graduate to darker and darker forms of rebellion. During times of war, civilization is so dark we need not toast champagne while viewing artificial beheadings. These days we can see it on fucking Iraq video. I am inclined to think the existence of the Grand Guignol, Friday the 13th and Crypt Magazine is a good thing. To me, it means life is so acceptable we can seek out its misery. We can pretend a fantasy of tragic reality.

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About Chris Wilson

  • Fangs to Mr. Kent and this fine media outlet for this spooktacular article, as well as your interest in my crappy little magazine. But, as the praise is most welcomed, keep in mind that I just work here. Just to let you know, I have mentioned this article on my front page (entitled ‘Tomb Sweet Tomb.’)

    Where are the ‘Cryptgirls’? At the moment I am rounding them up and beating them into shape. Or is it the other way around? Well, that’s for me to know and you to find out!

    Anyway, take care and thanks for your time. Psst…hey Chris, do you wanna job here at the crypt? Let me know.

    Morbid regards,

    -David Necro

    David Necro-Editor in Grief
    ‘Crypt Magazine’
    P.O. Box 96844
    LAS VEGAS, NV 89193

  • Chris Kent

    Thank ye kindly El Necro. I shall emerge from my dungeon and listen intently for the sound of drums…..;)

  • Chris, thank you for the link, man! I saw this article last night but didn’t comment until you’d got a chance to see the comments from Mr Necro himself.

    I really loved this, and you’re 100% correct with regards the connection between grans guignol and those fulci flicks and what not.

    You’ve actually made me wanna go see Interviewing Some Vampires again, even though, well, i mean, we’ve all saw Spider-Man, is what, and who wants to see such 11-year old sights. You know what i mean? Shit. That’s no good for nothin right there.

  • Chris Kent

    LOL…..tis’ a good point El Senor Duke. Between Neil Jordan and Anne Rice, I’m not sure who’s screwing with our heads more….

  • Eric Olsen

    great job Chris, thanks. Goth is such a hybrid of cultures and meanings, but I have always found the “I love the night”/Siouxsie-loving/Robert Smith-fashioned/Bauhaus and Joy Division-worshipping, harmless goth thing to be very whimsical and likeable. For many years in the ’90s I DJ’d a goth-centered club night – nice bunch of vampires.

  • Mark “RatFink”Lewis

    Hey Chris,

    Great Article. You are right on. Thanks for turning me on to Crypt Magazine. It Rocks. I am from the Motor City originally, as was Mr. Necro. He knows his rock and roll. Since the demise of R.I.P. magazine, which true metalheads will remember from mettal’s heyday in the 80’s(may it rest in peace) There hasnot been any true rock magazine or outlet since then, until now. Metal is trying to make a come back, and since it’s all derived from the blues anyway, whether it be goth, punk, straight rock, metal, hardcore, heavy alternative, etc, it is still rock n roll to me( to quote Billy Joel, please forgive me, but it makes the point). I hope his amgazine thrives, we need this, because music has truly been “dead”, the last few years, and not in the good Alice Cooper sense.

    Rock on to you and Mr. Necro.

    As Maiden would say.


    The RatMan

  • Chris Kent

    Thanks for your comments Eric and RatMan.

    I was around the Goth scene on and off for a few years and am in agreement with you Eric.

    RatMan, if future issues of Crypt Magazine are as good as what I’ve seen, then I’ll definitely be a dedicated reader. Still awaiting the debut of the Cryptgirls…..

  • Chris, keep your pants on. Cryptgirls will impress you. You gotta understand that I don’t put out crap. Only the finest undead sluts here!

    The goth scene is supposed to be harmless, humourous, and tongue-in-cheek, but as you know there’s some that take it way too seriously. Hence the “goth drama” prevalent at many clubs nationwide. A lot of posers have infiltrated the scene over the last say, 10 years. This is why myself and a lot of the other “old timers” stay the Hell out of those places. However, the old sound and attitude is making a slow comeback with magazines such as Newgrave and clubs such as Ghoul School in Hollywood, CA.


  • Chris Kent

    Thank you El Necro for the great info.

    As for keeping my pants on, I must confess that whenever I write a blog dealing with any type of Cryptgirl, I do so completely naked.

  • Chris–

    Your wish has been granted. There are 2 Cryptgirls who have made their appearance. They get funny about displaying themselves in front of mortal eyes. But, they’re here. More to come soon…

    Take care. Later…


  • (The Duke heads in the direction of Cryptgirls, under cover of darkness and anonymity)

  • hi mom

  • Visit me at myspace com, please.

    Motor City Deadman

    Thanx, and have a very ghoul Halloween!


    -D. Necro