Rodrigo Gudino Interview

Six years ago I came across a magazine that had me so addicted I just couldn't put it down. I had to buy every issue I came across! The magazine is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was founded by its original Editor-In-Chief Rod Gudino in 1997 who handed the position off to Jovanka Vuckovic in December 2005. The magazine's current editor-in-chief, as of the December 2009 issue, is Dave Alexander. Rue Morgue covers horror in all media: films, books, websites, comic books, music, etc. Each issue includes feature stories, opinion columns, and numerous reviews. It has quickly become a leading horror magazine on the market as well as having a very healthy online presence, including weekly broadcasts of Rue Morgue Radio. Luckily, the founded and publisher of my favorite magazine had time for some of my questions. Rodrigo is a man with many talents. As you can see below....

(Q)What was the inspiration behind Rue Morgue and how did it all get started? I am sure you get asked that very question too often but I am interested to know the back story and what some of the most memorable and fun moments you had with the staff are.

(A)The inspiration behind the magazine came from wanting to do something cool for a living. At the time I was working for the music industry and I was bored. I thought of changing jobs but thought it was only a matter of time that I would get bored again so I had to come up with something that would capture my interest for a while. Horror and the macabre was perfect. I started the magazine in my living room, at the time it was lean, 20 pages and black and white but it was very slickly produced and had its own identity. The horror industry noticed it immediately and that was more or less it as long as you factor in a decade of hard work of course!

(Q)Who is a person in the industry you have always looked up to and considered a mentor?

(A)No one.

(Q)Do you have a favorite of all your impressive issues?

(A)Not really. Issues are like kids, they all have their merits. I can probably tell you more about the ones I like least rather than the ones I like most. That said, RM #100 had a special place in my heart for obvious reasons. It was a big milestone for a magazine that started out when I was two years out of university, flat broke and with a big dream in my head. I think it officially marks the beginning of our golden age.

(Q)In my opinion, Rue Morgue HAS TO BE the most entertaining magazine of the horror/sci fi/fantasy genre. Mainly, because it not only consists of beautifully written reviews for rarities and gems but it also depicts all the music, the art, the toys, novels, comics, video games, clothing, and haunted places to travel to. This is what makes Rue Morgue superior to all the other horror magazine out there. Is this what you always wanted to accomplish?

(A)I wanted to create a magazine that looked beyond horror movies and into the culture of horror so yes in this sense it is what I always wanted to accomplish. I envisioned Rue Morgue as a superior publication in terms of its quality and in terms of the experience of making it, and I think in this regard it is unique. Rue Morgue is more than a magazine, it is a presence, an art collective and even a physical place. The ideas that it emanates are felt worldwide so yeah I’m pretty happy.

(Q)My favorite portion of your magazine has to be WEIRD STATS MORBID FACTS! What a spectacular idea and a fun read. Just how do you and your staff manage to dig up all this weird and morbid information from month to month?

(A)That’s a question best put to Managing Editor Monica Kuebler who compiles all of our weird stats and morbid facts. However, we have an extensive library of strange and morbid phenomena that we use for research and Monica trolls the news daily. Between the nine people who work full time here we come up with a lot!

(Q)Then there's the SICK TOP SIX and the very artistic DISFIGURES OF SPEECH! These are such fascinating ideas. I always wonder, do you ever run out of ideas for these editions?

(A)That’s exactly what I asked James Fisher, who illustrates Disfigures of Speech, when he first pitched it to me. But after I saw his notebook I realized we’d be set for a long, long time. As for the Sick top Six, as long as there are fucked up scenes in horror films, we’re never going to run out!

(Q)There are numerous things about Rue Morgue I adore and could babel on and on about. I adore you and your staff's love for the art of the video nasties. This is something you guys seem to touch pretty often. What are your top five video nasties and why?

(A)My top five nasties would have to be:

5. Evilspeak – Something about this film spoke to me. Maybe it was Satan.

4. Twitch of the Death Nerve – Mario Bava!

3. The Toolbox Murders – The essence of the video nasty!

2. Zombie Flesh Eaters – I always liked this title better.

1. Cannibal Holocaust - because it crosses the line!

(Q)I get tired of asking people what their favorite horror films are. Would you mind telling me in your opinion what are the worst films you've ever seen?

(A)Whoa that might be a long list! Recently the only thing I remember hurting my eyeballs is Rob Zombie’s Halloween II. I realize there are people out there who like this sort of thing but I couldn’t relate to it even remotely. I may have been pissed off when I left the theatre.

(Q)The first time I ever heard of The Birthday Massacre was from your 2005 Halloween Issue, which was excellent by the way. Would you say you were a big fan of the band?

(A)I was even though I had only heard their first album and seen them live once. But I was struck by their melodies and the cinematic quality of their imagery, the way it toyed with horror and nostalgia. They are also incredibly nice people and very easy to work with so that was a major plus.

(Q)Do you enjoy horror comics? If yes, what are some of your favorites?

(A)I’m really old school when it comes to comics but I love Charles Burns’ Black Hole and Junji Ito’s Uzumaki and Gyo are also standouts. I appreciate The Walking Dead.

(Q)If you could compare yourself to any comic book character who would it be?

(A)The Crypt Keeper.

(Q)It has been rumored that you live/lived in a former funeral home. If this is true, did you witness any strange encounters at the residence? And on that note, do you believe in ghosts, monsters, demons, and things of that nature?

(A)Yes I live in what was once one of Toronto’s oldest funeral homes complete with a chapel and an old embalming room. I have only had one strange encounter here: one night I heard someone walking around the halls and got up and saw myself behind my desk. It was very strange. Other than that it’s been pretty quiet but visitors are sometimes uncomfortable here and dogs have a habit of barking at nothing. Guillermo del Toro refused to go into the basement so that might say something.

(Q)What scares you?

(A)Premature burial pretty much does it.

(Q)Honestly, I haven't had a chance to observe some of your films. Would you care to tell me some things about the projects and what I can look forward to in the future?

(A)Well I’ve made three short films which are very different in style and tone. The Eyes of Edward James is more psychological and spooky, The Demonology of Desire is more visceral and cruel and The Facts In the Case of Mister Hollow is like a creepy murder story wrapped up in a single image. As for the future, I am working on several features; the closest to realization would be Cut Throats Nine which I am shooting with Mads Mikkelsen (from Casino Royale) and Harvey Keitel. It’s very violent and intense period movie set in the late 1800s. Then there’s Grown Up Suzanne which is a rape/revenge movie which turns the subgenre completely on its head. The Travelling Murder Show is my Spanish language horror movie which I expect to shoot in Mexico. There are a few others which I can’t really talk about yet but I can tell you I am very busy!

(Q)Lastly, If you could work with anyone in the industry who would it be?

(A)Christopher Lee. I can’t think of anyone else I would love to direct more.

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