See images from this weekend’s screening curated by Taylor and his Famous Monsters co-conspirator, Eben McGarr.
Corey Taylor’s Famous Monsters of Filmland relaunch kicked into high gear over weekend with the Famous Monsters FilmFest, appropriately taking oplace Friday, the 13th of January, in Hollywood, California. The historic TCL Chinese Theatre screened classic horror films handpicked by Taylor and Eben McGarr, his Famous Monsters co-conspirator. Each film was introduced by fiendishly familiar faces from the horror community. It was a chance to see some of the movies central to the iconic Famous Monsters legacy the way they were intended, surrounded by fellow fans.
Famous Monsters of Filmland, first published as a magazine under legendary editor Forrest J Ackerman in February 1958, bridges the gap between the seminal horror of yesterday and modern horror culture. The magazine, apparel, and events are all components of what’s become an overall lifestyle brand.
The roster of films included Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Revenge of the Creature.
Among the guests who attended the inaugural Famous Monsters Filmfest included Bill Mosely (The Devil’s Rejects), Juliet Landau (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), David Dastmalchian (The Suicide Squad), Mötley Crüe’s John 5, and filmmakers John Landis (An American Werewolf In London), Tom Holland (Fright Night), Brian Yuzna (Society), Mick Garris (Sleepwalkers), and (Fred Dekker (Monster Squad), among others. Taylor himself also held court as the host of his own Monster Talk on Saturday for select ticket holders.
As McGarr told us, “What better way to celebrate 65 years of Famous Monsters than with all of our old friends… The classic Universal Monsters?”
Taylor spoke about the celebration with our own Ryan J. Downey. Read this discussion below and see the images from the Famous Monsters Filmfest weekend captured by Maurice Nunez.
The Famous Monsters FilmFest is an excellent step forward in your mission to bridge the gap between the Famous Monsters legacy and modern horror culture. What are the biggest challenges in organizing something like this with your partners and team?
COREY TAYLOR: I’d say the biggest challenges are simply convincing the fandom that this is new management and things are going to be different. The previous owner let so much of what was amazing about Famous Monsters fade away that we almost had to start from scratch. But what makes it worth it is simple: IT’S FAMOUS MONSTERS. So, kicking things off with a film festival loaded with titles that laid the foundation for what Famous Monsters was all about seemed like the perfect way to reintroduce the brand to the new fans and the OGs, who will be excited by what we’re doing.
How were the films chosen? What were the general criteria?
The films were the easy part. You start with the Golden Age of Horror and work your way to the 60s. My partner Eben and I talked at length about the best titles to go with, and it was very simple: go with the legends. Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Phantom… Even pulling [Lon] Chaney Sr. into double duty with the Hunchback. Basically, the criteria were, “What classics would the fans want to see in a real theater, perhaps for their first time? And which ones feel synonymous with Famous Monsters?”
What’s the advantage of seeing these movies on the big screen vs. at home alone?
The advantage is a sneak peek into history. For a split second, you can watch these movies the same way people did nearly 100 years ago. You get to experience these icons 10 feet tall, crackling with energy, alive, as if they were just released today. Plus, you’re surrounded by people like yourself who are completely dedicated to the genre, past, and present.
What sort of memories do you have surrounding the Chinese Theatre?
Mann’s, as I still call it and will still call it, was almost as legendary to me as the films we’re watching. It seemed like it was in every movie I saw growing up, or there were massive premieres happening that were being broadcast all the way to my side of the world. When I was lucky enough to see films there, I cherished it. I was also honored enough to have been there at the Stan Lee Memorial they held for him. To me, the Chinese Theater has always been a gleaming tribute to cinema. Adding my little name to its history is just icing on the cake.
There are so many incredible guests confirmed for the festival…
My good friend Bill Moseley will be there. Who’d have thought I’d be friends with Chop Top? John 5, who’s an even BIGGER geek about monsters than I am, will make an appearance. I can’t wait. John Landis is personally responsible for many amazing movie memories for me- from Animal House to An American Werewolf In London.
You have a unique vantage point as someone who attends conventions as a guest and as a fan, headlines music festivals, and puts on your own. How will those experiences, combined with Eben and your team, help shape events like Famous Monsters FilmFest?
It’s important to us that the fans get everything they want and more. It’s also important to us that we take care of the various talents who go above and beyond for us too. To me, it’s about striking a balance between accommodation and anticipation. We’re Thrill Slingers. Our job is to make dreams come true. So, you just wait. We’re starting small, but those dreams are going to get HUGE.