Ackerman Cited in Horror History

Jason Zinoman, best known as a contributor to New York Times on topics including theatre, turns his attention to cinematic horror in Shock Value: How A Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror, published by Penguin Press in 2011.

Although the NY Times own review of Shock Value complains that “the ‘fanboys’ are given short shrift” Zinoman did not neglect the #1 fanboy of all time, Forrest J Ackerman. For example:

Ackerman knew something was changing in the late Sixties when he saw Night of the Living Dead for the first time. He didn’t care for it, but what really captured his attention was not the undead gnawing on human flesh. It was the sight of small children watching the movie, cowering at this shocking violence. It baffled him. He had built an entire career on understanding what makes little kids tick, and this proved to be a complete mystery. After the movie Ackerman, always friendly, walked up to a child, who was maybe eight years old, and asked him what he thought. ‘I loved it!’ he said, running out the door, thrilled. Ackerman stood there, truly horrified.

Zinoman also notes that Forry came up with the idea for Famous Monsters of Filmland after the 1957 LonCon. Forry was at a newsstand in Paris, where he saw some French monster magazines. He then decided that a monster magazine would work in America, and took the idea home with him.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster for the story.]