Mike Copner on The Exorcist
On Thanksgiving Day in this 2016th year of our reckoning, Forrest J Ackerman would have celebrated his 100th Birthday. He's gone now though, so it's left to us to celebrate for him. Brad and I were ruminating about our very different, though sometimes strikingly similar, memories of Forry and decided we should do something for 100 years. And of course, it wouldn't be a Mondo Special without an original piece of art from the eerily-talented L.J. Dopp.
So please, join us in wishing The Ackermonster a Happy Century Mark.
"Up, up and away, with Forry J!"
Merely A Century
(Forry is 100)
by Brad Linaweaver
"He was a dear man."
Deborah Painter: Forry: The Life of Forrest J Ackerman
Exclusive to Mondo Cult, artwork by L.J. Dopp and © 2016. No reproduction without permission.
The first time was in Dallas, Texas, the summer of 1971. A childhood dream came true. Not an adolescent dream, confused with inchoate ambitions and ill defined lusts for an imaginary adulthood. Childhood fantasies come before all that. They are about the Sense of Wonder.
Suddenly, I was more than an undergraduate at Florida State University, attending Dallascon, my first science fiction convention. Finally, I was meeting Forrest J (no period for some arcane reason) Ackerman. Seeing a letter of mine published in Famous Monsters of Filmland the previous year had been a thrill, but it didn't compare to an actual encounter.
As we shook hands, I was transported back in time to the stark fears and desperate hopes of a crazily imaginative childhood. I could hear the music again. Science was magic. The future, whether good or bad, was going to be wildly different than the present. It just had to be.
Living A Dream
by Jessie Lilley
A hundred years ago, when I was quite young, I used to save my nickels and dimes so I could buy my favorite magazines. They were MAD Magazine and Famous Monsters of Filmland. I would stop at Lazzaras at 11 West Railroad Avenue in Tenafly, NJ on my way home from school and pick up the new issues. Then I would hide them in my book bag, because my mother didn’t think I should be reading either of them.
What did she know, anyway? She thought The Ink Spots were a “pretty hip group” and didn’t grok the magic of The Beatles.
But I did. And I knew in my deepest soul that these two books were my lifeline out of the hell of the NYC suburbs of the 60s. Grasping at the straws of imagination and humor, I devoured them from 1966 on into my teens. It was then that I fell amongst theatricals…
Of all the people I met during those years, one of the larger influences was Richard Valley, with whom I eventually created Scarlet Street: The Magazine of Mystery and Horror. It was Richard who sent me off to the Son of Horror-Thon convention (now known to those in the know simply as Chiller) in NJ, to get an autograph for him from Forrest J Ackerman. Off I went and met one of my idols and quite simply, it changed my life.
Forry and I got on splendidly from the git go. He liked women and I liked brainy punsters so it was a win-win.
Trick and Treat
(Some candy from our publisher)
by Brad Linaweaver
In the near decade of Mondo Cult's existence (magazines and the site), I have never been happier to make a Halloween announcement than in 2016.
My old pal, Fred Olen Ray, has always said that I'm a lucky bastard. In keeping with that grand tradition, allow me to report that I'm executive producer on one of the best haunted house movies ever made.
Chris Ray (Son of Fred) is the director of A House is not a Home. The film had an official premiere in Philadelphia, on September first. That happens to be my birthday. Also, it was an auspicious way to enter the Fall, after a long, hot summer.
A few years earlier, A House is not a Home received acclaim as Best Horror Film at Jeff Rector's Burbank Film Festival. Everyone involved knew that was only the beginning.
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Gore, But Not Forgotten
I miss gore—specifically R rated gore. Movie gore. I mention that because, now, I can get all the gore I want or need on TV. The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, and especially Ash vs Evil Dead and Stan Against Evil, are chockfull of the gooey stuff. Great for television, bad for moviemakers. Weird, because the R rating was designed with sex and gore in mind… Okay, mostly sex. Because it’s okay that little Billy see a woman eviscerated, as long as he can’t see her nipples. (That’s another battle. Back to our topic.) The R rating was invented to keep our virgin ears and eyes from hearing and seeing something that we shouldn’t and, in many cases, I agree with it. I mean, I’m not ready to show Lazaro, my ten-year-old grandson, Bernard Rose’s Candyman. Not because I think it will scar him for life, because it will probably scare the creamy nougat center out of him while, at the same time, messing up a few nights attempting to fall asleep in the dark. He’s not of that age yet. But when he is, oh, it’s on!
I was brought up on movies from the 30s, 40s and 50s. As filmed, they could be shown on TV. So, I got to see all the classics (with the very rare exception of the monster movies that were shot widescreen, at the tail end of that run) as they were intended to be seen. Most of the very best of them were made 10 to 25 years before I was born but they are as much a part of what makes me, me, as my dreamy but intense blue eyes. That said, I love horror movies from every decade. Yes, even the gory ones.
2 Biggest Hits
by Michael Copner
Liz Renay used to claim that good things come in pairs. And in her magnificent body of work they truly did!
In this Mondo Cult assignment there will be a lot of twos. Buddy Barnett and me: we’ll each write reviews about the two books to reach the market written by Gary Rhodes. They may as well be “book end” books about the final two films released while Bela Lugosi was alive, as these books are devoted to the works of Ed Wood and Bela Lugosi—two truly unique filmmakers in the horror field.
To continue the pattern of twos, I’d almost like to call this article “If Bedrooms Could Talk” or some such thing. For Cult Movies magazine was birthed in the front bedroom of an apartment I lived in for 15 years. The first two issues were collated and stapled by work parties in that room.