Famous Monsters of Filmland is an American genre-specific film
magazine, started in 1958 by publisher James Warren and editor Forrest
Famous Monsters of Filmland directly inspired the creation of many
other similar publications, including Castle of Frankenstein,
Cinefantastique, Fangoria, The Monster Times, and Video Watchdog. In
addition, hundreds, if not thousands, of FM-influenced horror, fantasy
and science fiction movie-related fanzines have been produced, some of
which have continued to publish for decades, such as Midnight Marquee
and Little Shoppe of Horrors.
1 Publication history
1.2 Revival (1993–2008)
1.2.1 Libel lawsuit
1.3 2008 to present
2 Pop-culture connections
4 External links
Famous Monsters of Filmland was originally conceived as a one-shot
publication by Warren and Ackerman, published in the wake of the
widespread success of the package of old horror movies syndicated
to American television in 1957. But the first issue, published in
February 1958, was so successful that it required a second printing to
fulfill public demand. Its future as part of American culture was
immediately obvious to both men. The success prompted spinoff
magazines such as Spacemen, Favorite Westerns of Filmland, Screen
Thrills Illustrated, Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella.
FM offered brief articles, well-illustrated with publicity stills and
graphic artwork, on horror movies from the silent era to the current
date of publication, their stars and filmmakers. Warren and Ackerman
decided to aim the text at late pre-adolescents and young teenagers.
In the pages of FM,
Forrest J Ackerman
Forrest J Ackerman promoted the memory of Lon
Chaney, Sr., whose silent works were mostly beyond the accessibility
of fans for most of the magazine's life, but were a great influence on
his own childhood. He also introduced film fans to science fiction
fandom through direct references, first-person experiences, and
adoption of fandom terms and customs. The magazine regularly published
photos from King Kong (1933), including one from the film's infamous
"spider pit sequence", featured in Issue #108 (1974)  which,
until Ackerman discovered a photo of a spider in the cavern setting,
had never been proven definitively to have actually been filmed.
FM's peak years were from its first issues through the late 1960s,
when the disappearance of the older films from television and the
decline of talent in the imaginative film industry left it with a
dearth of subject matter acceptable to both editor and fan.
Warren and Ackerman created a jump in issue numbering from issue 69,
which was printed in September 1970, to issue 80 in October 1970. They
did this (according to the editorial in issue 80) because it brought
them closer to issue 100, justifying the numerical jump because of the
publishing of ten issues of the short-lived companion magazine Monster
World as issues that "would have been"
Famous Monsters issues. During
the 1970s, the magazine came to rely heavily on reprints of articles
from the 1960s.
In November 1974 and November 1975, New York City was host to the
Famous Monsters Convention," a fan convention centered on FM, which
featured such guests as Forrest J Ackerman, Verne Langdon, James
Warren, Peter Cushing, Ingrid Pitt, Barbara Leigh, Catherine Lorre,
Cal Floyd, and Sam Sherman. (A similar gathering was held in 1995 in
Los Angeles, with such guests as Maila Nurmi, Ray Harryhausen, John
Landis, Joe Dante, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Curt Siodmak, Adam
West, John Agar, Les Tremayne, Angus Scrimm, William Schallert, and Al
In the early 1980s, the magazine folded after Warren became ill and
unable to carry on as publisher, and Ackerman resigned as editor in
the face of the increasing disorganization within the captainless
Warren Publishing Company. The magazine stopped publication in 1983
after a run of 191 issues.
Famous Monsters of Filmland was resurrected in 1993 by New Jersey
portrait photographer and monster movie fan Ray Ferry. After finding
Famous Monsters of Filmland title had not been "maintained"
under law, Ferry filed for "intent to use" for the magazine's
trademark, unbeknownst to Ackerman or the trademark's owner and
creator, Jim Warren. Ferry, poised to restart
publication of FM on a quarterly basis, offered Ackerman the position
of editor-in-chief for a fee of $2,500 per issue, which he accepted.
Starting at issue #200, the new
Famous Monsters acquired subscribers
and over-the-counter buyers who believed they would be reunited with
Ackerman in print. While Ferry tried to maintain Ackerman's style in
his own writings, he heavily edited and rejected contributions from
the man himself.
In an effort to help Ferry finance his full-time efforts on behalf of
FM, Ackerman agreed to a reduced editor's fee of $1,500 per issue.
With four consecutive unpaid issues and a continued rejection of his
work, Ackerman resigned from his position. Aside from removing
Ackerman's name from the masthead, Ferry did not inform FM readers
that they were no longer reading material by, or authorized by,
Ackerman. Instead, Ferry infused his writing with
Ackerman's trademark puns, and mimicked his writing style, which led
to legal action brought forth by Ackerman.
In 1997, Ackerman filed a civil lawsuit against Ferry for libel,
breach of contract, and misrepresentation; Ferry had publicly claimed
that Ackerman’s only connection with the new FM was as a hired hand
and that Ferry “had to let Forry go” because he was no longer
writing or editing for the magazine. Ferry also claimed rights to pen
names and other personal properties of Ackerman. On May 11, 2000, the
Los Angeles Superior Court jury decided in Ackerman's favor and
awarded him $382,500 in compensatory damages and $342,000 in punitive
damages. This verdict was appealed by Ferry, but the verdict was
upheld by the Appellate Court of California, on November 12, 2002.
With judgments in Ackerman's favor, Ferry filed for bankruptcy. This
is detailed in Jason V Brock's definitive documentary on Forrest J
Ackerman, The AckerMonster Chronicles!.
As of mid-2007, Ferry had been allowed to continue to publish issues
of FM due to lack of efforts on the part of bankruptcy trustees and
Ackerman's lawyers to force the sale of the trademark or personal
assets attached to his income. Ferry had also failed to pay any of the
$720,000-plus cash judgment against him.
2008 to present
In late 2007, Philip Kim, an entrepreneur and a private equity
investor, purchased the rights to the logo and title, entering into an
agreement with Ackerman to use his trademarks to retain the
magazine’s original look and feel. The new
Famous Monsters of
Filmland website was launched in May 2008 and on December 7, 2009,
Kim announced the magazine's return to print.
Ackerman died just before midnight on Thursday, December 4, 2008.
The revival of the classic horror magazine came in July 2010, with the
Famous Monsters of Filmland #251 at the Famous Monster
Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. The success of the print magazine
at the Famous Monster Convention and Comic-Con International in San
Diego yielded the announcement of the magazine's expansion in
distribution and circulation into major bookstore chains and
independent retailers throughout North America and select markets in
the US, Canada, and UK. Publisher Movieland Classics, LLC announced
concurrently that the magazine would be entering into a bi-monthly
publication schedule to meet the significant increase in requests from
captivated readers beginning with Issue #253. As executive editor of
the magazine, Ed Blair steered FM starting with Issue #256 in 2011
through issue #282 in 2015, which saw the transition of editorial
leadership go to current executive editor David Weiner, a 13-year
veteran of the syndicated television program Entertainment
In April 1981, the punk band The Misfits began using the magazine's
distinctive logo font on most albums, T-shirts, and other associated
promotional materials. In 1999, The Misfits released an album named
In his 2000 non-fiction book On Writing,
Stephen King describes his
own history with Ackerman's work and calls
Famous Monsters of Filmland
a life-changing publication, adding: "Ask anyone who has been
associated with the fantasy–horror–science fiction genres in the
last thirty years about this magazine, and you’ll get a laugh, a
flash of the eyes, and a stream of bright memories—I practically
guarantee it." 
Famous Monsters was mentioned by
Billy Bob Thornton
Billy Bob Thornton in an infamous
2009 interview with host
Jian Ghomeshi on the CBC Radio One program Q.
Thornton, upset by Ghomeshi's mentioning his career in the film
industry during the interview with The Boxmasters, became
non-responsive before relating a long story of how he read and entered
a contest sponsored by FM when he was a boy.
The Sci-Fi Boys, a 2006 documentary by Paul Davids, focuses heavily on
Famous Monsters and Forrest J Ackerman. The film features interviews
with Ackerman and several of the current top names in the science
fiction genre, including Peter Jackson and Rick Baker, who attest to
the influence of the magazine and of Ackerman himself.
Writer and filmmaker
Jason V. Brock
Jason V. Brock created The Ackermonster
Chronicles!, a 2012 documentary about Ackerman. The film been shown at
several venues (including a special screening at
Loscon 39 in Los
Angeles), and been critically well received in magazines such as
Fangoria, Scary Monsters, and VideoScope. The movie is billed as the
definitive film about Ackerman's life and cultural influence, and
features in-depth interviews with Ackerman, Ray Bradbury, John Landis,
Greg Bear, Richard Matheson, Dan O'Bannon, Ray Harryhausen, David J.
Skal, and others.
Famous Monsters of Filmland Getting a Movie Series Reboot".
^ "Shock" Archived 2006-02-03 at the Wayback Machine.
^ still from the lost spider pit sequence Archived February 26, 2008,
at the Wayback Machine.
^ still from the lost spider pit sequence Archived March 16, 2008, at
the Wayback Machine.
^ "King Kong Urban Legends"
^ Kipen, David. "A Frightful Gathering of Movie Monsters," L.A. Daily
News (25 May 1995): L.7.
Famous Monsters Teases More of New Cover". DreadCentral.
^ "Locus Online: Books and Publishing News, May 2000, News Log".
Locusmag.com. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
Forrest J Ackerman
Forrest J Ackerman Wins 'Dr. Acula' Case Court". Richlabonte.net.
2000-05-11. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
^ Share on Facebook. "At Long Last, Forrest Ackerman Wins The Final
Victory Over Ray Ferry!!! - Ain't It Cool News: The best in movie, TV,
DVD, and comic book news". Aintitcool.com. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
^ Official website
Billy Bob Thornton
Billy Bob Thornton 'Blow Up' on Q TV;" 5:30–7:00 mins". YouTube.
Former Famous Monster Magazine Contributor
Forry Ackerman on the Magazine's Creation
The Site Of Movie Magazines Covers for all 200+ issues.
Forrest J Ackerman's L.A. Times: Passing
New York Post article
Famous Monsters arti