If it bleeds, it leads

Film Fanaddict publishes news for the discriminating gore hound

Photo Illustration By Larry Dalton and David Jayne

Mark Jason Murray will endure the occasional Matthew McConaughey vehicle, but on the whole he considers himself a highly discriminating moviegoer. Or at least an ambitious one. “I have a goal to watch 300 movies this year,” Murray said recently. “I think, when I look back on it, that will be impressive. So far I’m over 200.”

Murray, who lives in Citrus Heights, is the webmaster of www.filmfanaddict.com and the editor and publisher of Film Fanaddict magazine, of which three issues have appeared since he began it last year. “It’s my obsessive nature,” he said. “I made a decision to focus on movies.”

Murray is a compact man, at once reserved and intense, with several impassive expressions and a few declarative tattoos, including one of a spine, lining his spine. Seated in Midtown’s Infusion cafe, where he’d refused a snack or a drink, he spread the first three issues of his magazine on the table before him.

Highlights of the 30 newsprint pages of issue one include a cover story on Shaun of the Dead and an interview with Tura Santana of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Issue two ups the page count to 48 and acquires a glossy cover, on which it boasts of interviews with Bruce Campbell and John Waters, among others, plus Murray’s attentive essay on Park Chanwook’s “Vengeance Trilogy.” Issue three features a glossy cover and glossy pages, which contain exclusive interviews with “Sultry ’70s Icon Lynn Lowry” and several creative people involved with motion-picture adaptations of Frank Herbert’s Dune, not to mention dozens of short DVD reviews. All three issues are, as Murray put it, “crammed with small type.”

“It’s not just a fanzine, which is kind of a frustrating label,” he said. “I’m not really trying to be Fangoria. I think everybody’s bored with reading Fangoria. I wanted a magazine that I would go and buy. I just hope that people don’t think the word ‘fan’ in the title means we don’t have anything to say.”

Accordingly, Murray is not without strong opinions. “I think a lot of the entertainment, especially in America, is disposable,” he said. “We’ll never see a Taxi Driver or Scarface or even Natural Born Killers again. It’s all cookie-cutter now. I think people need to look to films from other countries. Even if you look to American film masters, who are their influences?”

Film Fanaddict’s MySpace page further illuminates Murray’s taste, as in the telling list of his musical interests—“death metal/grindcore/black metal, Ennio Morricone”—or, of course, the favorite film directors: “Quentin Tarantino, George A. Romero, Park Chanwook, Don Edmonds, John Waters, Walerian Borowczyk, Mario Bava, Paul Thomas Anderson, John Woo (pre-Hollywood), Jackie Chan (pre-Hollywood), Tinto Brass, Gaspar Noé” and others. Most people know who Quentin Tarantino is, but it takes a discriminating moviegoer to favor the Polish-born, art-academy-educated pornographic surrealist Walerian Borowczyk.

“I remember being 10 years old and being scared watching movies like Poltergeist,” Murray went on, while leafing through his pages. “Then in fifth or sixth grade I had a turning point. I started watching other things.” Most people struggle to grow out of their traumas; Murray made a point of growing into his. “I remember making connections, thinking, ‘Hey, I like this director.’” One such director is Lucio Fulci, also known as “the godfather of gore,” who came of age in the late ’70s and early ’80s with unflinching zombie flicks like The Gates of Hell and The Beyond, two of Murray’s early favorites. “You take an adolescent approach to it: ‘Wow, that’s gory!’ Then you want to watch whatever you can find.”

In that regard, he knows he’s not alone. With the magazine’s growth—it’s now available at Borders, Tower Books and independent stores throughout the country—Murray has taken on an East Coast correspondent and a few contributors. “It’s free labor, but of love,” he said. Otherwise, Film Fanaddict remains essentially a one-man operation—although, in exchange for the quota of McConaughey and such, he has regular help from Sarah, his wife.

“I’ve always known that I’m just not cut out for a regular job,” he said. “The only thing for me is to make my hobby my job.” Murray has a regular job, in the beverage industry, but he prefers not to discuss it. “The name says it all. This is more than being a fan. It’s a lifestyle. It’s just something you can’t live without. Some people are addicted to golf. That doesn’t make it a problem.”