Tuesday, July 6, 2010


As you know, o loyal TDSH reader, I'm very excited about the re-birth of a venerable brand in horror fandom-- Famous Monsters of Filmland.

It's returned as a website and is on the verge of of its latest magazine incarnation. I've seen issue #251, the official launch issue for the revived rag (and I say "rag" with affection; mummies wear rags!), and I was very encouraged by what I saw! Makes me wanna roll around in a happy frenzy! (But I live in a house with no AC, so I'm staying as still and cool as I can.) Here's a preview of the premiere issue of the new Famous Monsters, which officially debuts this Friday.

The issue begins with an inside cover greeting from the late Forrest J Ackerman titled "Welcome back, monster lovers!" One of the last things Forry wrote-- he knew he was in his last days when composed it--it's funny, upbeat and moving. He tells us the pages are printed with glue instead of ink: "You have taken your fingers off of your computer keyboards long enough to get them stuck to this magazine!"

Right: Forry's Final Formal Foto


Then we see a feature titled "Opening Wounds" where publisher Phil Kim and Editor-in-Chief Michael Heisler address the readers. Phil Kim:

"Even those who never had the fortune to enjoy Famous Monsters of Filmland in its heyday unknowingly benefited from its impact on pop culture...Our mission has not changed much from 1958 which is to be a conduit for undiscovered talent and future giants while never forgetting the history and people that brought us here."

Michael Heisler: "For fans old and new, our challenge is to fire up that enthusiasm once again – not only for the movies that we love, but for imaginative flights in all their forms. There will never be another Forry Ackerman, but the spirit he awakened will always be with us, and you’ll always find it here."


The issue begins with scholarly article by Robert Aragon, "The Importance of Fear." It's a history of images of death and the macabre in Western culture, as presented in paintings and literature as far back as the 13th Century, and continuing into the horror films of the 20th.. It's a surprisingly serious opening, but it sets up vividly how Famous Monsters will celebrate Michael Heisler's " imaginative flights in all their forms." It's a choice that no doubt will bring respect for the magazine's gravitas; I hope it doesn't make younger, casual skimmers of the magazine in stores think that Famous Monsters is going to be all about the past. But is a very fine read, richly illustrated.


The next two articles kick the magazine into high monster mode!

Like the original PREDATOR movie? Looking forward to the coming sequel with Adrien Brody and Larry Fishburne? The next two articles will make you happy. The first one ( by Jenna Busch) is a detailed preview of what the latest Predator followup is all about, with quotes from sfx master and Predator designer Greg Nicotero, as well as actors Derek Mears and Carey Jones. Production stills and pictures of concept art provide visuals.

The second PREDATOR article looks at the original 1984 film that was both a great action movie and thrilling horror film. Written by Steve Buncho, it's a great reminder why you should re-watch this classic with Schwarzenegger battling monsters instead of California legislators he fights today.

DINOSAURS, BLUES, AND ROCK 'N' ROLL: An Interview with William Stout

FM Editor Jessie Lilley has an in-depth conversation with famous artist, illustrator, and film production designer William Stout. Man oh man, it is so well illustrated with Stout's art that by itself, this article makes this debut issue of FM a must buy. And Stout talks not only about films he worked on such as Return of the Living Dead, but also on a Godzilla film he started work on that never saw completion.

Not in FM #251 and the issue is better for it: Wm. Stout meets The Drunken Severed Head at Wonderfest, 2010.

Link to Part 2.

Related post on the new FM: O lucky monster-lovin' me!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'll have to pick it up on Friday! They've been taunting us with this issue for ages.

Chris 'Frog Queen' Davis said...

So looking forward to this! Thanks for the preview!


Jose Cruz said...

Wonderful preview, Max! What a way to awaken the monster lovin' kids after another day of that junk called "real life" (yecch!). Bring on part deux!


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