Saturday, December 06, 2008

Above, you see my first copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland, purchased for me by my doting grandparents at the local Houchens Market when I was all of 6 years old. Having seen Curse of the Demon on the Big Show, Nashville Channel 5's afternoon movie showcase, and having loved it, of course, I wanted to read more about it- and this issue certainly did the trick. As it turned out, not long after they screened Invasion of the Saucermen as well, and I liked that one too- and to this day I have a deep fondness for both. Well, Curse anyway- it's a truly good movie. Saucermen, not so much, although it certainly has its low-budget drive-in-style charms. Anyway, I read many subsequent issues growing up, as well as other Warren publications like Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, and they all nurtured my budding love for horror films and fiction. Even though FM always had a lot of cool photos and features, and the movie recaps were always neat, looking back it strikes me now how there were no "bad" horror flicks in their purview, and the likes of Plan 9 From Outer Space were treated with the same equinanimous regard as true classics like The Bride of the FM world if it had monsters and frights in it, it was all good and worthy of inclusion in their pages. However, like Bill Sherman, eventually I began to want a little more, well, critical thinking in my film discussions and soon gravitated to other genre publications like Castle of Frankenstein and The Monster Times. But FM, and this issue in particular, set me down that path.

I bore you with this reminisce in order to eulogize FM publisher Forrest J Ackerman, who died Thursday at age 92. He was one of the original fans, instrumental in the formation of what we call fandom today- and his influence and inspiration to countless future geeks like me is immeasurable. He didn't have to publish FM, it wasn't his main occupation- but I for one will be eternally grateful that he did.

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