Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Zooming along with Forgotten Horrors Comics & Stories, the first graphic-novel spinoff. Off-the-wall full-scale comics versions of The Man from Planet X (1951), Destination Moon (1950), Carnival of Souls (1962), and The Wampire Bat (1933), along with John Wooley & Bruce McCorkindale's comics biography of Tor Johnson, Tor Johnson -- Hollywood Star, out of print since 1992. And herewith, the first promotional collateral...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wooley’s Wes Craven bio finds new depth in Nightmare Master

In my home-base town of Fort Worth, Texas, One of the more peculiar pastimes of the past generation has been the phenomenon of the Random Wes Craven Sighting. The spontaneous game seems to have originated with an impostor on the local scene — pretending to be the filmmaker responsible for such lucrative box-office franchises as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream.

Never met the guy, myself — although I have been cordially acquainted with the genuine Wes Craven and affiliated actors since the first Nightmare on Elm Street appeared during the 1980s. I halfway expected a bogus Craven to show up late in the 1990s when the Fort Worth Film Festival included Elm Street as part of a showcase for star player John Saxon. But no doubt the poseur steered clear of events whose producers would have known the real Craven.

And why Wes Craven? And why Fort Worth, Texas? Go figure, as the wise old Klopstokian proverb would have it. The act of imposture, in any event, seems to have been good for Craven’s box-office returns within the region. And any city outside of Hollywood always enjoys imagining a connection with a for-real moviemaker. The recent opening of a new Scream feature might even have generated a Craven Sighting or two.

The interest is compounded with the arrival of a perceptive biography called Wes Craven: The Man and His Nightmare (Wiley; $16.95), by John Wooley. The book deals in primary sources and interpretive insights to such an extent as to become an essential document of the perils and pleasures of the filmmaking process. (Full disclosure: Wooley, an Oklahoma-based novelist and cultural historian, has deep connections to Fort Worth, largely through the Stockyards’ Western swing music-making scene. He and I have collaborated extensively, and the new book contains portions of interviews, some hitherto unpublished and some long out of print, that I have conducted with Craven.)

Typecast since the 1970s as a horror-movie director, Craven comes across in Wooley’s view as a versatile and ambitious artist, philosophically accepting his genre-fied niche while retaining a sense of humor and a willingness to plant big social-political ideas and literary sense in films that most customers associate with rudimentary scares and sensationalized shock value. As Craven has described his situation elsewhere: “I was teaching mythology, as a professor, and when it dawned on me that [horror films are] the American mythology of the present day, I told myself, ‘Okay, let’s make the best films that you can in the genre.’”

Craven’s conversations with Wooley are particularly revealing, covering a scholarly background and a strict upbringing that seem naturally to have led to the rebelliousness implicit in the films. Craven’s generosity as a storyteller proves to extend to a trusting nature that has placed much of his moneymaking work under unsympathetic corporate control. Along the way, the book digresses rewardingly to cover such points as the real-world events that inspired Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes, the practical background of the Scream franchise and the childhood anxieties that have figured in Craven’s life as a productive businessman-artist.

Craven has told on occasion of the factual inspiration for his celebrated bogeyman, the Elm Street pictures’ Freddy Krueger, as originally played by Robert Englund. Wooley’s biographical survey elaborates so rewardingly upon that story that it should not be repeated here — better to let the book treat that matter as a fresh revelation.

And here, all along, you’d believed that A Nightmare on Elm Street had been inspired by a rush-hour traffic jam in downtown Dallas.

Michael H. Price’s new book-in-progress, The Movie Beat, is a collection of his newspaper movie reviews spanning 2002–2007.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Forgotten Horrors Podcast Up & Running

Producer-engineer Joey Hambrick has launched the Forgotten Horrors podcast -- a series of opinionated conversations and general hoo-hah between John Wooley and Mike Price on topics dear to the hearts of genrefied scholars and enthusiasts. The opener is a sustained riff on writer-director Edward D. Wood, Jr., and his peculiar screenplay for a grindhouse staple of the 1960s, Orgy of the Dead. Further entries are in the works, so subscribe while the thought is fresh and stay attuned, already...

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Forgotten Horrors Update -- Vol. 5 et Seq.

Forgotten Horrors update: Nifty interview with FH co-author Jan Alan Henderson just posted at Carl Glass' Website -- -- and some fine progress meanwhile on the sixth volume in the FH series, covering the history of indie off-Hollywood chillers during 1955-1960. An additional book of Forgotten Horrors comics (movie adaptations) is in the works. More about that as things develop.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5 Is Complete -- Vols. 6 &c in Preparation

Just now approved final pruf (that's journalese for "proof") on Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5: The Atom Age. Up and running any day now at Amazon-dot-com.Working away with John Wooley on one long-term sequel, Forgotten Horrors to the Nth Degree, and with John W. and Jan Alan Henderson on Forgotten Horrors Vol. 6; these two additional titles will carry the series from 1955 to somewhere around 1985. John and I will be launching a Forgotten Horrors podcast, in the meantime. And more about all that as things develop.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A New Book from the Forgotten Horrors Team

...or should I say, another new book? Forging along already on Forgotten Horrors 6 (covering 1955 through ca. 1960) and Forgotten Horrors to the Nth Degree (running from approximately 1963 into the 1980s).
John Wooley and Jan Alan Henderson and I have just added The Hounds of Zaroff to the agenda -- a deep-focus study of The Most Dangerous Game (1932) and its (probably) innumerable remakes, takeoffs, spinoffs, ripoffs, and knockoffs. Stay tuned, already.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Early Press on Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5: The Atom Age

Nifty spread on Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5 in the new issue of Fort Worth Weekly, as related by ace critic Jimmy Fowler. The piece appears at

Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction from John Wooley and Laurie Moore

John Wooley, a mainstay of the Forgotten Horrors crew of writers and researchers, comes from an additional background of original novels and the editing of retrospective collections of crime-and-horror fiction. The following entry, recapping a newspaper column of mine from 2002 -- speaking of retrospectives -- places one of the Wooley anthologies in context with a then-new novel from ace storyteller Laurie Moore. Both Wooley's Roscoes in the Night and Moore's The Wild Orchid Society can be found at Amazon-dot-Com. And herewith:

The past and the future of hard-boiled crime -- the fictional variety, that is, comfortably distanced from any Real World concerns -- are amply well represented in a pair of mass-market books from storytellers well known to Texas.
Sales have proved brisk enough to require a second printing of Oklahoma-based John Wooley's Roscoes in the Night -- a restoration to prominence for the Depression-into-wartime author Robert Leslie Bellem.

Meanwhile, Laurie Moore's The Wild Orchid Society (Five Star; $25.95) is gaining ground as a sequel to the Fort Worth lawyer's The Lady Godiva Murder.What is most remarkable about the close-in-time arrival of these books -- each from an independent publisher, each distinguished by a maverick streak of a sort that the mainstream publishing industry avoids at all costs -- is how much they share in common.
Bellem's prose from 1934-1950, as resurrected by Wooley from such periodicals as Spicy Detective Stories and Hollywood Detective, seethes with violence and erotic encounters. Bellem's macho attitudes (as expressed through his main character, a private detective named Dan Turner) might most charitably be considered quaint today.

Which scarcely matters. The very cover of Roscoes in the Night (Adventure House; $17.95), as reproduced from a pulp magazine in which Dan Turner had been a recurring character, bespeaks a throwback to an age that could not be bothered with social correctness, nor with apologies for lack of same. The scale of gender politics could never have been balanced by sending Dan Turner, or his creator, away for Sensitivity Counseling.
These things take time to evolve, and the only appropriate answer to hard-boiled fiction from the masculine sector is its equivalent from a womanly viewpoint. And I don't mean the thin-blooded daintiness of Agatha Christie.

Laurie Moore is hardly the first woman to meet the good ol' boys' club of crime authors, thoroughly well-armed, on their traditional turf. But she may be the contender most thoroughly aware of the No. 1 rule of hard-boiled talespinning: Anything can happen to anybody at any moment. More crucially, Moore understands that virile adventure need not be the exclusive province of the men-folk, and never mind the gender-specific nature of that adjective.Robert Leslie Bellem had his Dan Turner, who ranged Hollywood as a sleuth-for-hire during the glory days of Old Hollywood. Laurie Moore has her Cezanne Martin, a Fort Worth homicide detective who, like Dan Turner before her, has the damnedest habit of barging in on situations that might better be left undisturbed. Such qualities course through the dream-stream of popular fiction, and they are invariably more appealing than infallible heroism.
The Wild Orchid Society finds Cezanne Martin, fresh off a triumphant case whose sleazier particulars have embarrassed her superiors, busted to cold-case duty. Of course, the moment one of Moore's characters lays hands upon a dormant investigation, you know the thing is bound to re-heat itself to a rolling boil. There follows a connection to a perverse community, led by a predatory sadist who hasn't any better sense than to equate mayhem with entertainment. The detective hasn't any better sense than to infiltrate this den of deviants -- a fortunate thing, too, for without her fools-rush-in gumption there'd be no story worth the telling.
Had Moore found herself at large in the day of Robert Leslie Bellem, she'd probably have given the established writers of that era a run for their money. She might have found it necessary to assume a masculine-sounding pseudonym, or to employ a male character as her protagonist. She would have found, perhaps, a readier market for her fiction - the pulp magazines' circulation ran past the tens of millions -- and when the pulps died out during the 1950s she'd probably have retrenched successfully into the new realm of paperback-novel originals.

Moore's entrepreneurial nature - as a practicing attorney, a self-starting novelist and a credentialed peace officer -- dictates that she must create a professional environment in which she, and her storytelling muse, can thrive.
Bellem, by contrast, probably could not survive if he should re-surface as an author of the competitive here-and-now. The pulp magazines in which Bellem held forth were like found money for a writer with the simple ability to make a typewriter smoke. And when the pulps cratered, as John Wooley writes in an introduction to Roscoes in the Night, "guys like [Bellem] had to look for other sources of income." The operative phrase here is look for, as opposed to creating one's moneymaking device. (Bellem retrenched into early-day network television, as a writer and editor.)

Each of these books stands on its merits, and on its vivid, verbose evocation of a time and a place. Their proximity to one another underscores the lasting nature of the hard-boiled school of crime fiction. That the books also should share ties to Fort Worth -- where Moore bases her parallel careers, and where Wooley is a mainstay of the Cowtown Society of Western Music - only intensifies their appeal to a readership attuned to rooting for the home team.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A New Cover-Design Element for Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5

This just in: A rear-cover design component for Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5 -- modeled after the main lobby card for Bob Lippert's production Rocketship X-M, the first coattail-rider to try to get the drop on George Pal's higher-minded Destination Moon. Art here. Additional listing of contents to follow...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5 Titles through 1952

And herewith, Part No. 1 of a listing of titles covered in Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5, through 1952. Balance to follow, in due course, of course...

Come On, Cowboy! • Mantan Moreland bunks up at a haunted (yeah, right) ranch.
She’s Too Mean for Me • Mantan Moreland’s horrors of matrimony.
Souls of Sin • A raw jewel of a noir from the legendary Tyler, Texas, Black Film Collection
Siren of Atlantis • Last of Maria Montez’ exotic Hollywood costume fantasies.
The Judge • Ida Lupino turns producer with one of the crueler films noirs.
Highway 13 • Phantom wrecker on a haunted highway.
State Department File 649 • Foreign intrigues take a terrifying turn toward the Red Scare.
Daughter of the Jungle • Republic’s Third World unit scores again
Bomba, the Jungle Boy Et Seq. • Johnny Sheffield takes a sustained star turn.
Daughter of the West • And you thought A Man Called Horse had the market cornered on tribal tortures…
Amazon Quest • Steve Sekely (Revenge of the Zombies) tackles an unauthorized sequel to a Nazi-banned German picture.
Rimfire • In which Reed Hadley regales his lynch mob with a promise of ghostly vengeance: Western noir.
Harbor of Missing Men • George Zucco, working off-genre.
The Crooked Way • Low-rent noir from Robert Florey — a foreshadowing of Cronenberg’s A History of Violence.
Arson, Inc. • Firebug thriller, in emulation of Dark Eyes of London.
“C”–Man • John Carradine as a mob doctor.
The Devil’s Sleep (Hopped Up) • Dope-racketeers at large from exploitation ace George Weiss.
Africa Screams • Abbott & Costello, Shemp Howard and Joe Besser and (briefly) a gigantic ape
Omoo Omoo the Shark God • Tribal superstitions in a takeoff on Herman Melville
Reign of Terror (The Black Book) • Robert Cummings vs. the guillotine — a bridge between Tower of London and the Corman Poe entries.
Rim of the Canyon • Gothic Western (star player Gene Autry) involving a purported haunting.
Too Late for Tears (Killer Bait) • One of the finer lethal-lady noirs.
Sky Liner • Another entry in the subgenre of Murder by Unconventional Gizmo.
Down Memory Lane • Surreal tomfoolery, with a present-day Steve Allen interacting with a bunch of Old Hollywood comedy footage.
Black Magic • Orson Wells as Cagliostro.
Zamba • Ray Corrigan wears the gorilla suit.
Angels in Disguise • An unusually violent crime yarn in the Bowery Boys series.
Project X • Presumably lost crime/S-F entry, anticipating Ivan Tors’ slightly later in the scientist-as-hero image.
Master Minds • Bowery Boys vs. Atlas the Monster.
I Married a Savage (Naked and the Savage) • Third World striptease hokum, with madness and murder and a consecrated snake-dance ritual.
Oriental Evil (Unmei) • Asian noir from George Breakston.
The Flying Saucer • Mikel Conrad claimed to have photographed actual UFOs — and built this Red Scare picture around the idea.
Guilty Bystander • Zachary Scott in one of the more cynical noirs to be found.
Bells of Coronado • Roy Rogers vs. Mad Doctor. A musical Western, and more.
Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female) • Joseph H. Lewis’ classic noir — pure human-monster terrors.
Got, Mentsch, un Tajbl (God, Man, and the Devil) • A modern-dress Yiddish Faust.
Forbidden Jungle • Not as forbidding as the title might suggest, but a respectable tense entry.
The Baron of Arizona • Vincent Price, off-genre, in a con-man role that reflects Dragonwyck and anticipates his Corman/Poe pictures.
Julius Caesar • Ghostly Shakespeare, with a pre-stardom Charlton Heston.
The Great Plane Robbery • Strangler-at-large tensions aboard an airliner.
Killer Shark • Roddy McDowall’s seafaring thriller, directed by tough-guy filmmaker Budd Boetticher.
The Great Rupert (A Christmas Wish) • George Pal’s first animated feature. Wholesome fun for the entire family.
House by the River • Novelist Louis Hayward cannot write unless he has committed murder. Fritz Lang directs.
Kill or Be Killed • Lawrence Tierney at large in a Third World hell-hole.
Jiggs and Maggie Out West • Ghostly shenanigans from a long-running comedy series.
Johnny One–Eye • One of Damon Runyon’s meaner underworld yarns.
Congolaise (Savage Africa) • Primitive customs and a ritualistic hunt for gorillas.
Rocketship X–M (Expedition Moon) • Calculated to beat Destination Moon to the box office, Kurt Neumann’s down-and-dirty little ambush turned out rather well.
Sideshow • A seedy carnival setting — all that’s missing is Tod Browning.
Destination Moon • George Pal’s pocket-epic production, in detailed perspective
It’s a Small World • William Castle breaks out as a maverick artist with the tale of a dwarf’s quest for acceptance.
Motor Patrol • Vehicular homicide as serial murder.
Once a Thief • An off-genre effort from Lon Chaney, Jr.
Jungle Stampede • Third World filmmaker George Breakston brings his documentarylike style to Republic Pictures.
Holiday Rhythm • An offbeat musical with science-fictional interludes.
Prehistoric Women (The Virgin Goddess) • A pageant of mock-militant feminism, undermined by a manly captive’s discovery of fire.
Two Lost Worlds • James Arness fights pirates and dinosaurs.
Ghost Chasers • The Bowery Boys crack a fortunetelling racket.
Skipalong Rosenbloom (The Square Shooter) • Maxie Rosenbloom spoofs the Western genre, with plenty of rubber-reality surrealism.
The Man from Planet X • Pioneering space-invasion entry from low-budget noir master Edgar Ulmer.
Five • Arch Oboler’s thoughtful and influential end-of-civilization drama, a foreshadowing of On the Beach.
Tokyo File 212 • Red Peril weirdness and intrigue, from George Breakston.
The Lost Continent • Do the dinosaurs on view here represent the surviving evidence of an abandoned 1930s project called The Lost Atlantis?
Bride of the Gorilla • In which Curt Siodmak refers to his work on both The Wolf Man and I Walked with a Zombie.
Unknown World • All aboard for the Earth’s Core.
Chained for Life • The Hilton Sisters, conjoined twins, take a pitiable last stab at movie stardom.
Flight to Mars • Monogram Pictures takes a timid shot at the rocket-movie craze. He who hesitates is lost in space.
Superman and the Mole Men • First big-screen spinoff of the TV franchise, by striking comparison with its two-chapter small-screen version.
Wild Women (Bowanga Bowanga) • FX pioneer Norman J. Dawn tackles a genre beneath him.
Aladdin and His Lamp • Monogram takes on the Arabian Nights, with a particularly ominous Genie.
Geisha Girl • George Breakston attempts a Red Menace comedy, with S-F overtones.
Red Planet Mars • Peter Graves intercepts purportedly spiritual messages from space.
Rocky Jones, Space Ranger • Most FX-oriented of the TV spaceman programs, with a history of its TV-movie spinoffs.
The Jungle (Kaadu) • Documentarylike expeditionary fiction, with Cesar Romero as a heroic Sikh.
Untamed Women • Return of the One Million BC stock footage.
Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla • Notoriously unfunny comedy, pitting a self-caricatured Lugosi against a Martin & Lewis knockoff team.
Captive Women • Post-apocalyptic anxieties; not to be confused with Arch Oboler’s Five.
Bwana Devil • And speaking of Arch Oboler… his 3-D breakthrough film.
… to be continued…

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Forgotten Horrors to the Nth Degree

I owe some friends over at the Classic Horror Film Board a listing of the titles that will be covered in Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5: The Atom Age, due to drop within a month or thereabouts. None too soon to suit contributing authors John Wooley and Jan Alan Henderson and my ownself. That chapter listing will be coming along presently.

In the meantime, I've got some momentum built on the next book, Forgotten Horrors to the Nth Degree -- a collection of the columns that John Wooley and I have produced since 2002 for Fangoria magazine (plus some solo efforts from out-of-print sources), expanded and amplified. The cover design (below) is Still Under Construction, but far enough along to do a First Look posting. More as things develop.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5: Cover Painting Revealed

And herewith: The cover design for Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5, coming soon to an Amazon-dot-com near you...

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Pasteboard Demons" Back in Print for the First Time

Just now digging out from beneath the book-building foundations of Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5: The Atom Age. A long and mostly lonesome process. And pending receipt of proofmarks from co-authors John Wooley and Jan Alan Henderson, it's all wrapped but for the indexing process. Can't have a movie-history book without an index.

This one will pick up where Forgotten Horrors 4 leaves off, covering 1949-1954 in terms of horror and science-fiction movies from the American independent studios. A fascinating period for horror and S-F films (plus selected crime dramas and some out-and-out oddities), especially in their reflections of the political and social turmoil of the 1950s. Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5 should make its splash at Amazon-dot-com within the month. A sixth volume is in preparation -- drawing from John Wooley's and my long-running monthly column in Fangoria magazine.

Many distractions, otherwise. Meanwhile, I've finished a true-crime anthology called Pasteboard Demons, compiled from the Bloody Visions trading-card sets that provoked such a ruckus upon their original publication 19 years ago. They're all here, reproduced from the original artwork, with quite a few outtakes and bonus tracks (including a batch of my crime-comics stories from such magazines as Heavy Metal and Taboo). All on view at, a.k.a.

Or as Amazon's pitch tells it: "The crime-card controversy of the 1990s comes rampaging back to life in Michael H. Price's anthology of his notorious Bloody Visions trading-card folios -- all together in a single whopping volume, larger by far than the original pieces. Rare bonus-card images round out the set, with an additional selection of Price's true-crime comics stories ... Veteran journalist and courtroom sketch artist Michael H. Price combines these backgrounds in Pasteboard Demons -- an expanded survey of the author's popular and controversial Bloody Visions trading-card sets of 1992-1995. Reproduced from the original artwork, with curatorial notes and a new commentary on the petty ruckus that greeted the original set's arrival in 1992. Price is the author of the long-running Forgotten Horrors series of movie-history books, and the writer-artist responsible for the Rondo Award-nominated Carnival of Souls graphic novel."

And more presently about Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5 and some other new projects.

-- MHP