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Guest Blog: WWF – World Without Forry

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Uncle Forry

For several years following her untimely death in 1990, Forrest J Ackerman commemorated his late wife Wendayne’s life annually with a long, reflective letter he titled “WWW” or “World Without Wendy”, which he mailed to a handful of close friends. In these candid letters (“TMI” didn’t exist back then and never would have for Forry anyway), he’d write in stream-of-consciousness style, sometimes directly to Wendy in the hereafter, about the things the Ackermonster was up to in the here and now. In that tradition, and in observance of his Nov. 24th, 1916 birthday making Uncle Forry 98, here are just some of the Ack-tivities going on despite Forry’s moving on…

forry - Guest Blog: WWF - World Without Forry

Famous Monsters of Filmland still faithfully promotes the Ackerman name and image in the pages of the iconic magazine as well as many other products and events. With the support of FM, Mad Monster Party conventions continue a 4-year tradition of holding Forry tributes and panels at their horror conventions across the country. Kirk Hammett attended the 2013 Mad Monster Party in Charlotte, N.C. to a throng of nearly 1000 fans. Many were there to see their rock god but came away with affection for the Uncle Ack they never knew, but came to meet through anecdotes and reminiscences at the panel. Forry’s beast childhood fiends Ray Harryhausen and Ray Bradbury have sadly joined him in that big House of Pies in the sky. Today, Forry would have loved how monsters rule media with programs like “The Walking Dead,” “True Blood,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Teen Wolf,” “Bates Motel,” “American Horror Story,” “Hannibal” and the steeped-in-classic monsters “Penny Dreadful.” Forry fans that became filmmakers like Rick Baker, Steven Spielberg, Guillermo Del Toro, Rob Zombie, Stephen King and Tim Burton continue to move and shake the movie world while rockstars like Gene Simmons, Kirk Hammett and Ogre continue to bloody up the stage in homage to all things macabre.

In the span of six years since Forry travelled to outer space, Billy Bob Thornton went on a magnificent radio rant about Forry and FM, Christopher O’Brien wrote the comprehensive The Forrest J Ackerman Oeurve, published by McFarland, FM put out my Annotated Famous Monsters of Filmland #1, with a section devoted to the mini-Ackermansion in Horrorwood where Dr. Acula and I lived out the final years of his life. In the Joey Gordon-Levitt action pic Premium Rush writer John Camps and writer/director David Koepp gave their villain (played by the Michael Shannon) the alias of Forrest J. Ackerman. Penny Dreadful writer/producer John Logan interviewed in Famous Monsters crediting Forry Ackerman with “starting it all” for him. Guillermo Del Toro paid tribute to Forry with a prominent “4E” on the walls of a facility in his horrifying series “The Strain.” Dark Horse released an impressive cold-cast figure of Forry available in full color and a limited edition bronze. Forry-friend Paul Davids (Transformers, Roswell, Sci-Fi Boys, etc.) released his paranormal investigative documentary titled The Life After Death Project, which explores a possible visit from (lifelong atheist) Forry from the beyond. Jason and Sunni Brock released their Rondo Award-winning The Ackermonster Chronicles documentary.

strain forry - Guest Blog: WWF - World Without Forry

The point is, Uncle Forry is still everywhere. The sharing of his stories and legacy continue to inspire a new generation to throw their bats in the ring and make stuff, whether costumers, makeup artists, writers, directors, artists or illustrators. The very idea of Forry, a generous man who believed in a Utopian world where everyone was free to pursue their heart’s desire and to dream big, sparks imagination in fans. A Utopia where monsters were heroic, or at the very least sympathetic. OK, let’s face it, the monsters were us! They are us! Forry understood that, never judged and always gave us a knowing nod that signaled, “You can do this. You can do anything. And when you do, I’ll be there to cheer!” no matter how far-fetched the idea. Pure and unconditional support and encouragement from a larger-than-life mentor who was at ground zero of the genre world. That inspiration was priceless and still retains potency in the void of space that Forry once occupied. So as we observe Forry’s birthday while slithering toward 2015: FORREST J ACKERMAN SHALL NOT DIE!!!

Joe Moe

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