Sunday, March 28, 2010

…and a Few New-Cover Prototypes

These new-cover designs (below) are prototypes in preparation for a proposed boxed-set collection of the Forgotten Horrors books. No telling when that development might take shape — better to get the fifth volume on track, first, and the sooner the better — but such distractions are probably essential to the overall progress. Meanwhile, a quick-sketch rundown of the periods covered in the first four Forgotten Horrors books:

Forgotten Horrors: The Definitive Edition (Midnight Marquee Press; 1999) — Low-budget independent chillers, 1929–1937. From 1929’s Black Waters (English, but filmed in America) up to the edge of a British–European censors’ ban that effectively bottlenecked horror-film production in the United States. Foreword by Mel Brooks. This edition expands upon the 1979 and 1986 editions of Forgotten Horrors: Early Talkie Chillers from Poverty Row.

Forgotten Horrors 2: Beyond the Horror Ban (Midnight Marquee; 2001) — Overlaps with FH: Definitive to commence at 1936–1937, continuing through 1942. Such essential titles as Monogram’s Mr. Wong pictures (Boris Karloff’s refuge from the horror-ban zealots) and Karloff’s resurgence in the genre with The Ape; Bela Lugosi’s stretch of low-budget top billing with The Devil Bat and a string of Monogram Pictures fever-dreams beginning with Invisible Ghost; and Mantan Moreland’s memorable stardom-by-default picture, King of the Zombies. Foreword by Josh Alan Friedman.

Forgotten Horrors 3: Dr. Turner’s House of Horrors (Midnight Marquee; 2003) — Picks up with 1943, continuing into 1946. John Wooley weighs in as co-author; George Turner’s posthumous contributions include extracts from a movie-buff journal kept during his WWII service. Lugosi’s additional Monogram starrers receive due attention, along with such unclassifiable oddities as the surreal comedy How Doooo You Do!!!! and the sporadically weird Lum & Abner series of rustic-hokum pictures. Extensive film noir coverage, as well. Foreword by Terry Pace.

Forgotten Horrors 4: Dreams That Money Can Buy (Midnight Marquee; 2007). A heavy concentration of horror pictures and conspicuously strange movies from 1946–1948, from such obvious choices as Scared to Death and the patchwork exploitationer Outrages of the Orient; to such hard-boiled noirs as I Wouldn’t Be in Your Shoes and The Gangster; to the birdbrain fantasy Bill and Coo and the black-ensemble hoodoo musical Killer Diller. A concentration of postwar-paranoia pictures (such as The Beginning or the End, a big-studio effort with unusual relevance to the Poverty Row studios, and the atom-scare comedy Who Killed Doc Robbin) sets matters in motion for Forgotten Horrors 5 and its chronicle of a rising infusion of science fiction into cheapskate horror pictures.

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