Sci Fi Boys – Documentary (2006) – movie review

forrest j ackerman pteradactyl armature

Sci Fi Boys – Documentary (2006)

sci fi boys dvdThis documentary is as much a tribute to Forrest J. Ackerman and Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine, as it is to Sci-fi films. You may be surprised to learn that it was Ackerman who coined the term “Sci-Fi.” It is a fitting tribute because Forry, along with good friends, Harryhausen, George Pal, and Ray Bradbury helped shape and push the genre of Sci-fi into the hearts and minds of young film fans who would later become the top directors, FX artists, and filmmakers in the world.

The film starts out with past footage of Forry making a speech. He says, “I am speaking to you from the year 1970…” a very ‘sci-fi sounding’ choice of words. He goes on to explain a bit of what makes sci-fi what it is. During the course of the documentary we hear from Peter Jackson, John Landis, Frank Darabont, Stephen Sommers, Harryhausen, Bradbury, Stan Winston, Rick Baker, Phil Tippet, and Dennis Muren amongst many others, talk about their Sci-Fi roots which often point to Famous Monsters magazine and the original 1933 movie King Kong. Bob Burns and Don Glut talk of their favorite Sci-Fi films and sci fi boys jacksoneras. Roger Corman speaks of William Castle and the wonderful sales pitch he would deliver for each of his films. Bob Burns talks about the creations of Paul Blaisdell in the 50’s sci-fi films and how Paul and his wife would assemble monsters on a shoe-string budget from items in his garage. There is a segment devoted to Harryhausen’s inaugural ‘Star’ on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, only yards from Grumman’s Theater, where, as a boy, he had seen the film that set the direction of his life, King Kong.

There is also a segment which features the amateur 8mm and Super 8mm films of Don Glut, Steve Johnson, Bob Burns and Fred Barton, as well as others, from their early years as boys looking to emulate their favorite sci-fi feature. The film shows the early Harryhausen projects as well, test footage for films that have never been made. There are some great photos of George Pal standing on the set of War of the Worlds, and clips of Forry’s eulogy at Pal’s funeral.
roger corman metropolis2
Roger Corman                                                Metropolis

Near the end Steven Spielberg talks about the change over to CGI and the possibilities that change has unleashed. Dennis Muren from ILS talks of the early computer technology that started with the FM 117film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and how it influenced the making of Star Wars.  Sci Fi boys was put together by Paul Davids and he did an astounding job at presenting an interesting, and perfectly paced documentary. The dvd/blu-ray cover features artwork by Basil Gogas. The dvd itself includes bonus extras that are well worth the purchase for die hard fans.

This is a fantastic documentary and I would highly recommend it for every sci-fi, horror, and monster movie fan.

For more info, look here: Sci Fi Boys

Currently available on Netflix.
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sci fi boys muren FM 108
forrest j ackerman
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related articles:
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Creature Features – Giant Robots
Creature Features – The ‘It’ Movies
My Top 10 Robots in Film 

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Ray Harryhausen Tribute
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11 thoughts on “Sci Fi Boys – Documentary (2006) – movie review

  1. Nice write up! I’ve been wanting to get to this movie for a long while. I know it’s in my Netflix Queue. Gotta move it up. So many cool peeps in it! Like Muren and Jackson. I have a feeling I’m gonna geek out. Thanks for the head’s up!

  2. It seems to me that there’s a lot in here that has little to do with science fiction. It doesn’t matter to me because i like that other stuff too, but to science fiction fans this may be disappointing?

      • No, i mean that movies like “KING KONG” are definitly no science fiction. I would categorize them into the wild fantasy category… Absolutely nothing wrong with those movies, just don’t call them science fiction.

      • Yeah, I guess that is more fantasy or adventure, but finding a new or previously thought to be extinct species alive could be science fiction in a broader sense. As Ray Bradbury said, “I don’t write Science Fiction, I write Science Fantasy,” a distinction that would apply here 🙂

      • But then “Desperate Housewives” was science fiction too!? I mean mankind still has little or no insight in how a woman’s mind really works, do we?

      • I’ll pray for you… In april this year there was news that they’re gonna do an R-rated remake of “Weird Science”… i’ll pray for you very hard…

  3. Pingback: Vintage Monster Magazines – Famous Monsters and beyond | parlor of horror

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