Ad Nauseam: Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s

Ad Nauseam: Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s




As featured in Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fangoria, and more!

Growing up in the 1980s, Michael Gingold became obsessed with horror movies, and his love of the genre led him to become a Fangoria writer and editor for nearly 30 years, as well as a Rue Morgue contributor. But before all that, he took his scissors to local newspapers, collecting countless ads for horror movies, big and small.

Ad Nauseam: Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s is a year-by-year deep dive into the Gingold archive, with more than 450 ads! Within these pages you'll see rare alternate art for Gremlins, Child's Play, The Blob remake, and the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises. You'll also revel in oddities including Psycho from Texas, Dracula Blows His Cool, Blood Hook, Zombie Island Massacre, and many more.

Gingold provides personal recollections and commentary, and unearths vintage reviews to reveal what critics of the time were saying about these films. He also interviews the men behind legendary exploitation distributor Aquarius Releasing to learn how they built buzz for shockers like Make Them Die Slowly and Doctor Butcher M.D.

Steel yourselves, genre junkies—Ad Nauseam is an unmatched journey into the wild world of 1980s horror movies!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781948221054
Publisher: 1984 Publishing
Publication date: 10/09/2018
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 8.70(w) x 11.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

MICHAEL GINGOLD first began reproducing newspaper ads for 1980s horror films in his Xerox fanzine Scareaphanalia, and went on to become a longtime editor and writer for Fangoria magazine and on-line. He also currently contributes to Rue Morgue, Birth.Movies.Death, Time Out New York, Scream, and others. Michael is the author of The FrightFest Guide to Monster Movies and Shark Movie Mania, and has created featurettes and written liner notes for numerous Blu-ray and DVD releases.

Read an Excerpt


It all started my second year of junior high school, in September of 1979.

Up until that point, I hadn’t been much of a horror fan. More like one of those squeamish kids who are afraid of scary movies. I loved reading Famous Monsters of Filmland, but braving fright flicks in theaters was another matter. When three of my friends and I went to see Godzilla vs. Megalon, I was the only one who didn’t stick around for the second feature, Bug, because it looked too frightening. I couldn’t even watch something like Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell in the TV room of my childhood home without standing by the staircase, ready to bolt upstairs if the movie got to be too much.

For reasons I can’t pinpoint exactly, this all changed in ’79, when I was twelve years old. I had already seen the PG-rated Orca and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and that year, I started venturing (thanks to my grandparents, God bless ’em) into R-rated fare such as Phantasm, Alien, and Halloween. That last one freaked the hell out of me, but also made me fall in love with the genre, and from then on I became a convert for life. The realm of the lower-profile shockers, however, was still unknown to me at the time. The newspaper of choice in our house was The New York Times, where many independent horror films were only advertised in tiny slots, if at all, and in those days, long before the advent of the Internet, this was my only source of information.

Then came September ‘79. Arranged on a desk in the back of my junior high homeroom was the communal stack of Daily News for teachers to pick up. There were always a couple of ’em left over, and the first Friday of that month I grabbed one and flipped through to the movie section. There they were: boldly arresting ads for Richard Franklin’s Patrick and David Cronenberg’s The Brood, both opening that day. I was vaguely aware of Cronenberg’s name, but otherwise, these films were a mystery to me. All I knew for sure was that I wanted to see them both.

Although I didn’t get to, at least not at the time, I was so enthralled by those ads that I cut them out of the paper and saved them. And every Friday thereafter, I’d grab a leftover Daily News edition and scour it for whatever lurid gems might be advertised in its pages. Any that I found, I clipped and added to my growing collection, and soon I was doing the same with the occasional bigger genre movie announced in The Times. By the end of the year, assembling those ads had become an ongoing passion project.

It was a perfect time to start, too. Thanks to the huge success of Halloween, the low-budget horror scene exploded in 1979 and 1980, and indie frightfests started getting wider theatrical breaks and bigger newspaper ads. Ironically, not long after I discovered the Daily News (and the New York Post, another great source), The Times started running larger ads for such films. No longer was a full page the province of major studio releases and prestige pictures only, as smaller outfits such as Avco Embassy, United Film Distribution Company, and Analysis Film Corporation began spending to secure real estate for movies like The Howling, Mother’s Day, and Maniac. Being a more “respectable” publication, The Times would sometimes run different, “softer” ads than those appearing elsewhere. The one they ran for Scanners, for example, was a rather abstract work of graphic art, whereas the vivid depiction of a verge-of-exploding Michael Ironside adorned the pages of News and the Post. Needless to say, I saved them both.

It was a glorious time, before the arrival of Photoshop and similar programs that turned movie print advertising into the wasteland of blandness and visual conformity it is today — before distributors decided that the subtle approach was often the best way to promote horror films. The ads of the ’80s frequently made shocking, outrageous promises that the movies themselves didn’t keep — as I found out for myself, by going to see as many as I could. By then the lower-rent fare was no longer confined to Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs; suburban theaters would show the flicks too, and were easily accessible by bus. Not only that, but once I discovered that some of them did not enforce the rule stating that kids under the age of seventeen must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian to get into R-rated movies, the last barrier came crashing down. And so, despite a sign in the box office window of a venue showing Pieces, proclaimed, “If you’re not seventeen, you’re not getting in!,” my sixteen-year-old self and a fifteen-year-old friend had no problem buying tickets and taking our seats.

Part of the fun of seeing a movie like Pieces back then was having no idea, even after seeing the ads, where it came from…[continues]

Michael Gingold

Table of Contents

1) Introduction (Michael Gingold)
2) 1980
3) 1981
4) 1982
5) 1983
6) 1984
7) 1985
8) 1986
9) 1987
10) 1988
11) 1989
12) The Art of the Sell
13) Index

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