Fangoria issue #319 – the controversial DJANGORIA issue – is notable now for 3 writers who appeared in it. The issue features work by the disgraced Lianne Spiderbaby, an exclusive essay by none other than Quentin Tarantino and a luscious preview of the film “Blood for Irina” by underappreciated talent Ben Cortman.
Cortman offers up a tender, thoughtful preview of the Chris Alexander film that is full of flourish and kind comparison to cinema masters:
There is something special about the works of Jean Rollin and Jess Franco, and it isn’t just overt sex; rather, it’s the evidence of obsession, of poetry – the way the camera lingers on images and studies them. This is true of many European filmmakers, and it’s an aesthetic that is alive in Blood for Irina, a new “experimental psychodrama” from none other than FANGORIA editor Chris Alexander…
He includes some exclusive interview material with Chris Alexander himself, who had this, among other things, to say about his film:
I knew my parameters and made exactly the movie I wanted to make within them. An immersive nod to my favourite filmmakers, but something personal all the same.
In fine journalistic fashion Cortman gives us some facts about Alexander:
Filmed in five days outside Toronto (where Alexander makes his home and office)…
He’s very sure to tell us Chris Alexander’s contributions to the film and to describe it in passionate, romantic terms. Cortman was moved by this movie and by Chris Alexander challenging film convention:
Slow, sad, bloody and focusing on atmosphere, dread and character arcs rather than narrative contrivance and shock, Irina was not only written and directed but co-shot, edited and even scored by Alexander with music being an essential component.
A quote from Alexander closes out the piece speaking on his soundtrack work:
The film was built around a certain mood and emotion I was trying to achieve. Part of that, of course, stemmed from the melancholy tone of some of the best of Franco, Rollin, Harry Kumel and even David Lynch, but a major part of the film’s DNA rests in the work of Werner Herzog, specifically his 1979 remake of Nosferatu…
It’s a preview crafted with real care and obvious admiration for the film in question. A virtuoso outing by bright new media talent Ben Cortman. So who exactly is he?
The Mortuary web forums were the official internet forums of Rue Morgue magazine for a time. They remain the unofficial Rue Morgue forum to this day. Prior to being the Editor in Chief of Fangoria Chris Alexander wrote for Rue Morgue both in print and online. He was an active participant on the Mortuary forums, going by the name of Schizoid Cinephile he contributed a total of 850 posts to the site. The public profile of Schizoid Cinephile clearly indicates it was the forum identity of Chris Alexander including linking to his personal website.
What does any of this have to do with Ben Cortman?
On March 10 2006, Chris Alexander (posting as Schizoid Cinephile) made the following post to The Mortuary in response to a comment about an article written by Ben Cortman. It seems even then Cortman was the subject of discussion:
It is well known that Chris Alexander is a fan of Richard Matheson. You can read his heartfelt tribute to the authour on the Fangoria website. Some key quotes:
A decade ago, one of my first assignments at Canadian horror magazine RUE MORGUE was to interview Matheson, who is and always will be my favorite writer of all time.
I AM LEGEND changed my life. It still changes my life. It is the best work of existential horror ever written and yet no one has ever accurately adapted it.
Ben Cortman is a character in I AM LEGEND. From Wikipedia:
Neville survives by barricading himself by sunset inside his house, further protected by garlic, mirrors, and crucifixes. Swarms of vampires, led by Neville’s neighbor, Ben Cortman, regularly surround his house, trying to find ways to get inside
Sources inside Rue Morgue Magazine have confirmed that Chris Alexander used Ben Cortman as a pen name during his tenure there.
So who is the Ben Cortman who wrote so eloquently about the Chris Alexander film Blood for Irina in the pages of the Chris Alexander edited Fangoria Magazine?
We’re 100% certain it is none other than Chris Alexander.
Chris Alexander was contacted to comment on this story and did not respond by the time we went to publication. We’d like to express that the invitation is extended to Mr. Alexander to contact us at any time or to once again make use of the commenting features of this website to provide his perspective.
Editors note in the interest of full disclosure: The authour of this article held a web column at Fangoria for almost 3 years and had an interview appear in print in Fangoria issue #326.
Below are shots of the masthead of Fangoria #319 which show Ben Cortman as a contributing writer and shots of the headline and byline of the piece he wrote.