Famous Monsters coming to Indy

Actor Thomas Jane and others on the way

May 21, 2010
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In my pre-teen years, two magazines were central to my life.

One, of course, was "Mad," which trained generations in the art of not taking popular entertainment, sports or politics too seriously.

The other was "Famous Monsters of Filmland," which celebrated the creatures made famous by folks like Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr. and Sr.

The latter, having come through some ugly legal battles, is going back into business--and is celebrating that relaunch here in Indianapolis in July. And the 12-year-old in me is really looking forward to it. So is the adult.

Of course, the focus these days for the Encino, California-based company isn't on the classic Universal Studios monsters but in horrors of more recent vintage. The July 9-11 event at the Wyndham Indianapolis-West includes reunions of actors from "The Lost Boys" and the Night of the Living Dead movies, a workshop on low-budget filmmaking, and "screamings" of such flicks as "Dark Night of the Scarecrow" and "Autopsy of the Dead."

And while our town's film festivals may have trouble attracting name actors, the Famous Monsters folks are bringing in Margot Kidder (Lois Lane from the "Superman" movies), William Forsyth ("Dick Tracy," the "Halloween" remake), Thomas Jane ("The Punisher," and the underrated "The Mist"), and others.

Why Indianapolis? Says FM's Phil Kim: "It would have impact in Southern California, but we trip over actors in the grocery store. It's not a big deal. We looked at Chicago, but it's not as central as Indiana. In Indy we'll get suites for a fraction of what it would cost elsewhere. And we need a town where the average guy who enjoys movies can afford to come. And the local businesses have been great about filling up the green room for our actors."

Kim believes former Famous Monster's guiding light, Forrest J. Ackerman would approve of the reborn magazine. It's relaunch issue includes an original short story by Ray Bradbury (Ackerman was the first to publish Bradbury, back in 1938) and focuses on finding films and film talent before they become famous.

"Remember," Ackerman told him before he died, "that the magazine itself, is not as important as what it did for people."

I'll join such FM-influenced folks as Steven Spielberg and George Lucas in vouching for that.

Your thoughts?

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  • 4E Sent Me
    I approve -- and shall NOT die!
  • Forry
    I had the chance to spend a couple of Saturdays at Forry's "Ackermansion" near the Griffith Park observatory overlooking LA back in the 1980s. He was the consummate gentleman, and his door was always open to fans. He lived to the amazing age of 102. Glad to hear the magazine lives again.

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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

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