R.I.P. 4E

When I heard yesterday about Forry Ackerman’s passing, I was affected more deeply than I’d expected, knowing he was already well on his way to the big Ackermansion in the sky.

If it wasn’t for Forry, I’d not have ever been a screenwriter, much less a produced screenwriter. Way back in 1995, friend and director Brian Benson convinced me to try my hand at screenwriting so that he could make an installment of a direct-to-video horror anthology called TALES FROM THE ACKERMANSION with a producer named Scott who lived with his mother, wore oddly white clothes and fed people really bad tuna sandwiches. I’d never written a script in my life, but it sounded fun and they’d already shot scenes of Forry being the “crypt keeper” who introduced each tale. Unlike a lot of my male friends, I’d not grown up on Famous Monsters. I’d not heard of it until Brian told me who Forry was. I recognized Vampirella, though. That got me on board swiftly and I wrote a 30-minute Lovecraftian pastiche piece called “The Dark Sight.” It was filled with kinky sex (mais bien sûr), Maori magick and a monstrous Lovecraftian alien who sucked out people’s eyeballs in exchange for an unblinking psychic stare at the true masters of the universe.

While I wasn’t thrilled with the final product — which was never released anyway — it was my introduction to The Man.

Shortly after my script was shot, I found myself on the slippery slope to screenwriting. My brief film mentorship with Clive pushed me off the San Francisco cliffs and I landed with a thud in downtown Hollywood.

It was also because of “The Dark Sight” that I met one of my oldest and dearest friends in the world, The Marquise, who starred in the film.

As for Forry, I avoided meeting him for a long time because my guy friends warned me that horny Forry would literally chase me around his mansion. I called him once, though, and we had a great chat. Many years later, I finally decided I’d head to Dark Delicacies when he was signing his Ackermanthology. I approached him and introduced myself as the writer of “The Dark Sight.”

“Scott — that worthless sonuvabitch!” Forry said with way more venom than I’d anticipated. Forry was not remotely interested in my tits, as I’d been grossly overwarned. Rather, he wanted to hunt down that producer and do awful things to his scrotum with choice items from the tool shed. Knowing what happened to that project, I can’t blame him.

I loved 4E. He helped midwife me into my writing career in a round about way in addition to his tremendous contribution to the world of horror. Loved, and never to be forgotten.

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