I have always loved monster movies. I enjoy the distillation of fear into a single malevolent being, I am constantly in awe of the pioneering special effects and makeup, and I will always have a place in my heart for hackneyed plot devices and ludicrous deus ex machina. Olde Skule horror is one of my favourite genres, especially Universal Monster and Ray Harryhausen flicks, so it should come as no surprise that I was a huge fan of Famous Monsters of Filmland.
FMOF was (as is again) the greatest fanzine for monster movies ever printed. Passionately edited by Forrest J. Ackerman, the black and white mag originally ran from 1958 to 1983. It offered fans an insider’s look at the movies they loved with interviews, pictures, and reviews on horror films old and new. You need to remember that this was before the internet so behind the scenes photos and interviews were pretty hard to come by, especially for genre specific tales like the Hammer horror pictures. Fans felt connected to the industry, and how-to articles allowed them to practice their love of the genre by making their own movies.
It was a dark day when the presses stopped printing this spooky tome, and there have been intermittent attempts at rejuvenation but all were unsuccessful for any length of time. Until about 2 years ago. FMOF came back in a big way, and, now in full colour, was ready to show the world that it would be the king of the monster mags again.
The latest issue has a series of excellent articles on the great Christopher Lee, looks ahead at the John Carter and Edgar Allan Poe movies, and has a masterclass on how to create your own Nosferatu-like vampire make-up. The magazine is not cheap at $13 CDN, but if you are a horror-fan the price is well worth it. Famous Monsters of Filmland has taken everything that made it great and updated it for present times. It is part love-letter, part devilish Cahiers Du Cinema, and part film-school gruesomely packaged into 80 pages every second month.
If your local comic shop doesn’t carry FMOF tell them to change their evil ways and if you are a horror movie fan it should be on your pull list now.