Monday, December 8, 2008

Forrest J. Ackerman (1916-2008)

I never read Famous Monsters of Filmland. It was still around when I was growing up, but I wasn't really a "monster kid" as a kid. I liked the old movies when they came on TV, but I didn't really get involved in a fan culture until I was in college and started buying Filmfax and Psychotronic. My interest at first was historic rather than generic, in movies as part of 20th century pop culture. I appreciated the magazines' biographical detail and critical approach to their subject matter, and everything I read or heard about the legendary magazine that came before made it seem like a less interesting product, while everything that emanated from Ackerman himself just seemed corny. In time, I learned to appraise him objectively as a kind of print equivalent of those cool horror hosts that got written up in Psychotronic that I wished I had in my town. Ackerman came from the generation that taught us that it was okay to like films that didn't aspire to the literary qualities favored by middlebrow critics and Academy Awards voters. So I have no fond memories of the man or his works, but history requires me to say that I probably wouldn't be doing a movie blog if not for him.

For those still wondering who he was, exactly, here's the New York Times obit.

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