I’m somewhat at a loss for words right now. And not just because I haven’t had the chance to contribute much lately here on ICONS, but because I find it absolutely hard to accept that we’re about to hit our milestone 10 year anniversary. Mike C & I launched Icons Of Fright as the ultimate fan site back on April 24th of 2004, for no other reason that we loved the horror genre so much and wanted to advocate it. We wanted to passionately and enthusiastically voice our opinion for so many films we grew up loving that perhaps (at the time) weren’t as well known. Horror sites definitely weren’t quite what they are now. Fangoria existed on the web at that time, but I believe as a message board? Or at least in the earliest stages of a traditional website. Bloody-Disgusting had launched not too long before us. Before Dread Central, most of their core writers were on Creature Corner before turning into the Horror Channel.com and finally into the Dread Central that you know and love today! We always had a simple and humble goal – to bridge the gap between fandom and the horror creators. We loved movies; all movies and wanted to know everything and anything about the process behind the making some of our all time favorites. And so we fixated on a few things – extensive interviews ala Bravo’s Inside The Actor’s Studio (but for the horror fan), convention reports (as that was what was bringing horror fans together) and pointing the spotlight on both obscure & forgotten horrors, while at the same time giving attention to new up & coming independent filmmakers.
Along the way, we got to see some amazing horror movies; meet equally amazing filmmakers that had the same view and love of the genre as we did. We got to see careers flourish, both the filmmakers profiled and the many, many people over the years that have been kind enough to stop by and contribute to Icons Of Fright and 10 years later, here we are. Still standing!
I don’t want to drag this out longer than I should, but I have to thank my co-creator Mike Cucinotta for taking this journey with me. I feel like it helped shape who we are as people and I’m thankful for that. And again, all the writers that have helped keep this thing going over the years. Too many to name and I don’t want to forget anyone so just know you’re appreciated! And in fact, you guys that have been with us for the long haul, we’ve invited all our contributors of the past to pop back over here for our 10th anniversary. So you’ll be hearing from them again! We’re going to be celebrating in style for the entire month of April, bringing you fun content and getting back into the spirit of the way things were in the beginning of Icons! And I’m so, so thrilled to announce that our friend Jerry Smith is back to man the ship. Welcome back, Jerry!
Thank you guys for your support over the years in anything and everything that we’ve ever done with Icons Of Fright. And I need to give a very special thanks to my friend and mentor Tony Timpone over at Fangoria for his unbelievable support of Icons from the very beginning. Long before I ever contributed an article to Fango (something I never even thought would be possible considering I didn’t have a journalism degree), I was at a Fango convention and something that I made a habit of doing every year at every Fango show since I was 15 years old was to find Tony and thank him for putting on such a great event year after year and thanks for editing a magazine I grew up reading and loving. And he said to me, “well in a few short years, kids will be coming up to you saying how much they loved reading Icons Of Fright!” Whether that’s going to be the case is yet to be determined, but 10 years later… here we still are.
Let’s see if we’ve got 10 more in us.
Thanks for reading!
– Rob G.
Being a lifelong horror fan, it wasn’t very long after becoming internet-savvy that I discovered Icons of Fright. I became an avid reader of Icons around a year or so after the site was started by Rob and Mike. What instantly stood out to me, was how obvious it was that the site was ran for fans and by fans. I feel like that’s such an important thing to say when discussing my feelings about Icons of Fright, that it has always been (and will always BE) about the fans of the best genre in the world. I remember reading the interesting interviews that the gang did back in the day: the original Tuesday Knight interview (you know which one), the early Adam Green interviews, the Jeff Burr interview. I spent many hours reading the words that Rob, Mike and every early contributor to the site posted, and to say that I was an Icons fan around that time would be an understatement.
Living around two and a half hours away from Los Angeles, I happily made road trips around once or twice a month for either signings, conventions or any other horror events that would come there, and like clockwork, I made stops at different L.A. locations that I loved: Dark Delicacies and Amoeba. One afternoon, during one of those LA trips and while at Amoeba looking for DVDs, a friend of mine came up to me and asked, “Hey Jerry, isn’t that Rob G. from Icons of Fright?”. I looked over to where he was talking about and saw Rob there, and decided to go talk to him, to tell him that I really liked the stuff that he wrote. While Rob wasn’t KISS or John Carpenter, I was still somewhat nervous, because as any horror fan can tell you, when you meet someone whose work you genuinely dig, you always run the risk of that person being completely rude to you. It downright sucks when that happens, but luckily that wasn’t the case this time around. What instantly set Rob apart from some of the other people and horror writers that I had met at that point, was how genuinely welcoming he was and how grateful he was that we were fans of his work on Icons and his documentary, THE PSYCHO LEGACY. He mentioned a set visit that he had just done, and was cool enough to talk to us about that.
Some time later, Rob and I became acquaintances via Facebook and Twitter, and during a day in which a couple of friends drove to LA to see a film that wasn’t playing around my parts, I wasn’t able to go (being a father and in my thirties, it’s not easy to drop what you’re doing with five minutes’ notice). Bummed, I began writing an article for no reason whatsoever, other than to please the writing bug I’ve carried since childhood. I thought to myself, “I don’t have a degree, or a huge amount of experience writing professionally, but I would kill to write for a horror site.” Having nothing else to do with the article (aside from reading it to myself), I sent Rob a Facebook message, asking him how to go about starting my own horror site, as I wanted to be a horror journalist very much, and with Rob being a big inspiration to that aspiration. Instead of brushing me off, or giving me an uninterested response, Rob mentioned that I could just write for Icons if I wanted to. While it may sound trivial to some, it meant the world to me, as I haven’t stopped writing since (save for a short break from September ’13 to March ’14). I devoted myself to writing for Icons, and did my absolute best to keep it fresh and new and to help keep the dream alive. The Icons of Fright crew became a second family to me, and I’ve made so many awesome friends because of it. I was able to interview people who I had looked up to for years (Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Dee Wallace..the list goes on and on), I was excited as hell to take part in Dead Right Trivia Night a couple of times, I’ve attended premieres, written articles that mentioned very personal things to me, and attended some really great film festivals. Being a part of Icons of Fright has meant so much to me, and hell, it still does. I’m so very happy to be on the team, and am so very grateful that Rob G. gave me the chance and so many opportunities to do what I love to do: write about the most pleasurable, cathartic genre for me: horror. Happy ten years, Icons, I can’t wait to celebrate 15!