Chas Balun and Deep Red Magazine

Deep red was a classic horror magazine and Chas Baluns (1948–2009), baby. An icon in horror journalism. He wrote for both Fangoria and Gorezone before he released his own magazine, or fanzine might be the correct way to describe the first issues.

Balun started to write during the horror movie heydays in the early 1980’s digging deep into the italian gore movies, the first wave of slashers and Romero’s zombie films. His first work was The Connoisseur’s Guide to Contemporary Horror Film, published in 1983 for FantaCo Enterprises. I’m still missing this in my personal collection, but will buy it someday. But for the moment a second hand one goes for about $130, so I”m hoping to find a better deal.

In 1985 he self released Gore Score, and it was later re-released in 1987. This was his way to genre fame and as the title indicates, the book is all about gore, with over 300 blood drenched reviews.

I first came across Chas Balun when I went through the movie book section in a local bookstore here in Stockholm, Sweden. There I found the Deep Red Horror Handbook (1989). What first struck me was his own rating system. He had a double rating system, he gave the movie up to 4 skulls to measure the quality of a film, and a blood splatter rating up to 10 to describe how gory the movie was. Just genius, and perfect for the blood thirsty teen that I was :-). After picking up the book and started to read, I fell in love with how unapologetic he was for his love of horror. He dared to tell us about what movies he loved and wheren’t afraid to tell us what was “dog shit” or “Sucks major league dick…and swallows” 🙂

I also came by his book Horror Holocaust, which made me learn about several unknown for me by that time 1970’s classics such as “I Spit on Your Grave”, “Dr.Butcher M.D”, “Last House on the Left” and “Mark of the Devil” among several others.

After the 1990’s he released several more books, but the atmosphere in them felt more angry and tired of what the horror industry had to offer the fans.

He passed away on December the 18th 2009, only 61 years old.