I’m not a horror guy. Never have been. I know, it’s like I just shouted “Fire!” in a vintage magazine store. But before the panic sets in, allow me to tell you a little bit about myself and my journey through Monster-dom, and to provide a little context for such a blasphemous proclamation. As Forry before me was an open book, I think it’s only fair that you know just who it is that’s helming FM these days. At the end of the day, we make the magazine for you guys. While my personal tastes influence the magazine to a certain degree, it’s the voice of the fans that we listen to the most. It’s you guys who largely determine what it is that we cover. So while you’ll see that I’m a big fan of TROLL 2, take heart in knowing that it’s not likely to find its way onto an FM cover anytime soon. Although. . .
Unlike many Monster Kids I didn’t have the benefit of growing up with Universal Monsters and FM. By the time I could read FM had ceased publishing and the world had moved on to mags like STARLOG and FANGO. When I was a wee baby my family moved to Japan. I spent several years there just absorbing the culture of sticky buns, riding in the basket on my mom’s bike, and bowing to every person I saw. What also happened, though not consciously, was that I absorbed much of the Japanese monster culture. When I got plopped down in front of the TV there was not TOM & JERRY or LOONEY TUNES, it was ULTRAMAN and GODZILLA and plenty of other giant monster madness. Little did I know that those memories would be seared into my brain and form a foundation for my monster tastes as I got older.
Upon moving back to the states we went to what I remember as my first movie, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. And like so many people, my first theater experience dictated much of movie tastes. RAIDERS has always and is likely always to be my favorite film. But RAIDERS wasn’t the only film to launch on June 12, 1981. The second movie I saw, releasing on the very same day, was Ray Harryhausen’s CLASH OF THE TITANS. I was hooked. I was sold. Sign me up. I’m ready. I want in. Just give me more! At no point was I scared of those beasts, only captivated with a sense of wonderment by the majesty of these fantastic creations. And while I wasn’t interested in staying up late to catch the local Creature Features, it wasn’t uncommon for Ray’s films to air right after Saturday Morning Cartoons, making for a delightful afternoon of fantasy beasts. JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS and THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD felt like they were on frequent rotation and I never missed a showing. For me, Ray’s monsters became my monsters. I couldn’t have cared less about vampires and werewolves, I wanted Krakens and Cyclops and lost aliens from Venus.
At the same time Ray was frequenting our little TV, STAR WARS had lit the fire of Sci-Fi movies anew. I grew up in an age when our monsters came from space ships, not coffins or science labs; monsters lived in lands of fantasy like KRULL or LEGEND, not under the bed or behind the door. My monsters were monsters of Sci-Fi and fantasy, of space and sorcery. Even Godzilla and his brethren were considered to be of the Sci-Fi and fantasy ilk. That is why I wouldn’t consider myself a horror guy. It wasn’t until years later that I would stumble upon the magical world of classic horror, of Lugosi and Karloff and the gentlemen Chaney. But everyone always wants to know about “favorites”. Here. We. Go. . .
NEXT UP: FAVORITE MONSTER