The Behind-the-Scene Story of Hollywood's House of Horrors
SEE -- The 10 Most Frightening Faces Ever Filmed
SEE -- The Most Fearsome Monsters Ever Created
SEE -- The Screen's Classic Horror Photos
--cover of first issue of "Famous Monsters of Filmland"
for fans of horror movie
s, published for the first time in February 1958 by publisher James Warren
and editor Forrest J. Ackerman
. Though it was originally planned as nothing more than a one-shot publication, the magazine (which featured a cover of a busty blonde posing amiably with a man wearing a Frankenstein mask
) was popular enough to warrant a second printing, and it was quickly decided to start publish
ing it on a regular basis.
Warren and Ackerman preferred a writing style aimed at young teen
s, but the subject matter ranged from current horror
releases to the classics of the silent era
. Ackerman had a special fondness for the Man of a Thousand Faces, Lon Chaney, Sr.
, even though most of his readers had probably never seen a Chaney movie.
The Most Frightening Magazine on Earth Presents:
Most Exciting Collection of Horror Photos in 7 Years
Chaneys Phantom Face Unmasked
Never Seen Before: 2-Faced Monsters
--Issue #26 cover
And the magazine was hugely successful
, inspiring many other similar mags, from others published by Warren, like "Creepy
," and "Vampirella
" to more modern mags like "Fangoria
" and "Cinefantastique
." The magazine's best years lasted through the end of the 1960s, but film industry declines in the '70s, as well as a drop in the magazine's quality
, lead to decreased readership. In the early 1980s, Warren was too sick to continue his duties as publisher, and Ackerman resigned because he felt "Famous Monsters" wasn't getting treated right by the publishing company. The magazine finally folded in 1983, after 191 issues.
The most classic of the magazine's covers featured lurid
, full-color paintings of horror stars and monsters which, coupled with the mag's infamous
logo, made "Famous Monsters" instantly recognizable. (A few of those awesome covers can be seen here
.) The font
used on the cover is so cool that the Misfits
, a horror-loving punk band founded by Glenn Danzig
, pirated its look for their own logo.
At Last! The Famous House of Wax "Face of Fire" Revealed Inside!
Announcing Our 2nd Fantastic Amateur Make-Up Contest! You Can Win Fabulous Prizes!
The Mummy's Ghost: Don't Miss Complete Story This Issue
--Issue #36 cover
"Famous Monsters" was revived in 1993 by Ray Ferry
. Ackerman joined the staff, but handed in his resignation after only 10 issues. Ackerman sued Ferry in 1997 for libel
, breach of contract, and misrepresentation after Ferry started claiming that he fired Ackerman because his writing was no good. Ferry also claimed ownership of a number of Ackerman's pen name
s, including "Dr. Acula
," which Ackerman had been using since 1937. A jury found in Ackerman's favor in 2000 and awarded him almost $725,000 in damages; Ferry appealed, but the verdict
was upheld. Ferry filed for bankruptcy
almost immediately to avoid payment, and Ackerman was forced to sell many items in his famous collection of science fiction
and horror memorabilia
in order to pay his own legal bills. Ferry is still publishing "Famous Monsters," despite several court orders telling him to cut it out.
Your Mind Won't Believe What Your Eyes See -- in the New Golden Voyage film by Harryhausen
You'll Be Scared Out of Your Skull in Tales that Witness Madness!
TV's Dracula Featuring Jack Palance
--Issue #106 cover
Wikipedia (just 'cause there's no other complete history of the magazine online)
Forry Ackerman's website: http://4forry.best.vwh.net/