Rebekah McKendry loves all things horror, and what better place for her than to be the Marketing Director and a staff writer for the Horror Industry Magazine, Fangoria. McKendry has worked with Fangoria since 2004, where she started as a research assistant for Fangoria Radio on Sirius XM. With Bachelors Degrees in Film and English, an MA in Media Education, an MFA in Film Production and a soon to be completed PHD with emphasis on Grindhouse films, McKendry is more than just a casual Horror fan. She took time out of her busy day with panels and fans at Phoenix Comic Con to speak with us about Horror and Fangoria (or Fango as she affectionately calls it).
FGN: How long have you been working with Fangoria?
Rebekah McKendry: This is now 11 or 12 years. I started out with Fango as an intern. It was kind of weird because I’d started out as a professional teacher for a couple years and I had a break. I was like ‘I’m so sick of teaching.’ It wasn’t even the kids. I just got sick of paperwork and faculty meetings and my fellow teachers. So, even though I had already had a professional job I decided I just wanted to go to New York and see what happened.
We sold our house. We sold everything we owned, all of our Crate and Barrel furniture, and moved into a one bedroom apartment in New York about the size of this booth actually (McKendry looks around the medium sized booth and smiles). We had no money and all I wanted to do was work in horror films. I loved Horror so much and from there I started to volunteer for a couple of the Horror film fests in New York City for events and I met a couple of the people from Fango and they said ‘we can’t pay you, but you can come hang out around the office and work whenever you want to.’ I did, and after a while they started paying me and I just gradually worked my way up through the company.
FGN: What is it about Horror that captures your attention?
Rebekah McKendry: I have always loved Horror; so much so that even when I was a kid my parents noticed really early on that I loved it so much they used it as a reward. So, if I got straight A’s they would let me watch Return of the Living Dead. I was WAY too young to be seeing these things. This was like first and second grade. I watched Hellraiser in fifth grade, I remember. The rule in the house was that if I had good grades I could watch whatever I wanted without question. And I did. Right from the begining it’s all I wanted to see. I don’t know what it is; Horror movies still scare the crap out of me. I’ve always said when I stop being scared I’ll stop working here and watching them so much. For me it’s this roller coaster ride and I get this thrill of sitting in the theater waiting for the movie to start up. I get antsy, I get excited, I’m shifting in my seat waiting for it. It’s just like being on a roller coaster for me and I LOVE it.
FGN: Is there a particular genre within Horror that you really like to follow?
Rebekah McKendry: I love all horror movies across the board but I have my own areas of study. Most of our staff does. Most of our staff has one area of horror where we’re so-called experts in and really focus on. My personal favorite? I have a very soft spot for Aquatic Horrors. I don’t know what it is but I love Sea Monsters. If I had to pick my favorite subgenre of horror it would be that. My academic area mostly involves the 1970’s area of Grindhouse Exploitation films. Video nasties anything with nuns, Nazis, bikers, rednecks, anything like that. That’s where most of my research falls. So, I love anything that’s questionable in that you probably shouldn’t be watching it. I love it.
FGN: When you come to conventions like Phoenix Comic Con are there any costumes that jump out at you or any particular part of the Con floor that makes you feel ‘ I need to be there right now’ ?
Rebekah McKendry: I love conventions. We do these a couple of times a month and I never get sick of them. I get sick of hotel rooms, but I never get sick of being on the convention floor because it’s just everything that I love about the genre come to life. You know, people talking to each other and making friends and commenting on the costumes and everything like that. This particular con, and it’s not even Horror related, they have an entire life-sized set up of the Cantina from Star Wars over there. Oh my gosh! I took pictures of everything over there, every inch of it. They’ve also got this massive LEGO town over there.
I’ve learned from the conventions, and this con that I’m sorely underinformed on Anime. I’ve seen so many Anime costumes and I have no idea what that is. But I see other ones and go oh my gosh that’s so awesome. I saw a guy yesterday dressed as Dexter and he had his victims with him. Actually there’s a person behind us right now dressed as Ripley in the full Ripley machine from Aliens. It’s just these moments where this kid obviously built that himself and that is so amazing that he decided to construct his own costume for this. When I see the creativity of this it is so amazing. Some of these costumes are so niche where I have to think maybe myself and three other people on this con floor actually know what that costume is; but I love it because of that. It’s endearing and makes me even more passionate for the genre than I already am.
FGN: Do you ever get flak for being a woman in Horror?
Rebekah McKendry: Oh my gosh yes! I have so many people, and I see it here at the booth, where people will come and go ‘do you work for Fangoria’ and I’m like ‘yeah’ or ‘do you watch Horror movies?’ ‘Of course!’ They quiz me. And I question if they would do that quite the same if I was a guy. You know, I guess I don’t look like the average Horror fan. Maybe I need more tattoos and black t-shirts, but at the same time I do get questioned a lot about it. I get more interrogated. They want to make sure I’m legit. In the actual industry? Nope, no one questions it. When I say I’m an authority on Horror they go with it. It’s the fans, some of the fans, no all of them, that question me.
FGN: Is there anything coming up with Fangoria we should be super excited about?
Rebekah McKendry: Fango has so much going on! We just relaunched Gorezone a couple of months ago. And Gorezone is one of my faves because it’s like our dirty little sister. It’s where we cover all of the stuff that’s too sexy, raunchy, gorey, indie for the regular Fangoria; it goes into Gorezone. And oh that magazine festers with beauty. I love it! The other one that I’m really psyched about is coming up. We have Fangoria Jr. When we say Fangoria Jr. we’ve gotten some laughs, but this came about because both myself, our Editor in Chief, and the President of Fangoria all have kids. And our kids are all avid monster kids. They are all around 3-8 but they all love horror and monsters and scary stories and things like that and it got us to think we were those types of kids. We were ages 5-8 going ‘we love Frankenstein’, ‘we love zombies’ so we have decided to craft a magazine that is like Fango light. It is designed for kids 8-12 and it will be about all things monsters all things scary, but it will be light enough for younger kids. We’re really psyched about that one.
FGN: Is there anything you’ve seen in the theater recently that you’re really into that you’ve really enjoyed as a film?
Rebekah McKendry: I liked Oculus. That one just came out a couple of weeks ago. It got a lot of critical flak and I heard people complaining about how it wasn’t a big blockbuster film; and it’s not. For that I think it’s about approach. It’s a beautiful, beautiful film, but it’s not on the scale or scope that people think of when they go to the theater to see a horror film. It doesn’t have heavy amounts of gore. There are no explosions. There’s no giant monster in a suit coming after you. It’s very quiet and it’s very subtle. It’s literally two people in a house for the majority of the movie, but it’s so tense throughout. I loved it!