When I found out that Dreadful Press – the home to the astoundingly good Sabat Magazine – were putting out another publication, I was on it like a whippet.
Sadly, at the time of the launch of Suspira : The Monster Issue, I was skint (it’s a running theme this, folks) and didn’t have the funds for it.
However, for my birthday in September, I took the plunge and ordered a copy. Coming in at over £20 (£11 for the mag and the rest was P&P) it was quite the investment, but I knew that with Dreadful Press, I was in safe hands, and I’d receive something spectacular that would have a forever home with me.
We fear what we don’t know, this much is true. So we create otherworldly creatures to project onto and make sense of our own dread. Sometimes monsters are very real indeed. – Suspira
As expected, I was not disappointed. Suspira arrived in its hardboard packaging in immaculate condition. I picked it up with the gentlest of touches, so as not to crease the pages or ruin the spine.
I’d researched the hell out of Sabat before I purchased it, but I hadn’t done the same with Suspira so pretty much everything – mar the theme of ‘horror seen through a feminine lens’ – was a surprise.
Suspira went to town with design, starting with the uber sophisticated embossed title.
Each issue is loosely based on a subgenre of horror and for Monster they focused predominately on the era of the Universal Monsters and Hammer Films between the 1920’s and 1950’s.
Much of the design reflected this, right down to the metallic pantone, which had me all overcome with wonderment. Editor Valentina Egoavil Medina was particularly enthusiastic about it, as to her it made the connection to the ‘silver screen.’
Every page of Suspira is a beautiful beast of its own. With a variety of paper types, experimental design, impressive and dynamic art and powerful, compelling writing – the reading experience makes for a suspenseful and chilling adventure. If you’re really into print, you’ve got your porn right here, folks, right here.
“In this issue, we face fears and uncover the truths and misconceptions behind the monstrous.” – Valentina Egoavil Medina, Editor
One feature which I found particularly illuminating was Waking Nightmares, a conversation between Medina and the mental health activist Cecilia McGough, who talks about living with schizophrenia.
Another was Julia Pastrana : Otherness, Visibility And Exploitation by Bess Love Joy, which explores the utterly devastating story of a woman ‘that became one of the most famous and most exploited ‘human curiosities’ of the Victorian era – during and after her death.’
Idols Cast In Our Likeness : The Werewolf, The Split Personality & The Vampire by Susannah Russell had me utterly absorbed, both by the text and the sublime design.
“We approach the genre with a sensitivity that hasn’t always been granted in the past, partly due to a desire to please primarily a male audience.” – Valentina Egoavil Medina, Editor
I didn’t devour Suspira in one sitting. No. I took it slowly. Over the course of several nights when the little one had gone to bed. It’s not a publication to be hurried.
I spent as much time with the artworks as I did with the texts, and found myself especially mesmerized with the photography of Patrick Jannin and Neil Auch.
If Sabat was your thing, you need Suspira pronto. Oh, and if you already have a copy, please do let me know your thoughts!
The second issue of Suspira : The Fetish Issue is out now.