Groundbreaking Movie Book “Forgotten Horrors” Returns to Its Roots for a Revised & Expanded Edition -- Due in August 2012
The publication in 1980 of Forgotten Horrors: Early Talkie Chillers from Poverty Row launched a new direction in film scholarship by subjecting the weirder movies of Old
low-rent district to the scholarly and critical attention customarily reserved
for acknowledged classics from the big studios. Authors George E. Turner and
Michael H. Price staked out a distinctive territory while rediscovering
little-seen favorites and identifying early work from important stars-to-be and
emerging major directors. Hollywood
“We intended the title, Forgotten Horrors, to be a challenge—a self-denying prophecy,” says Mike Price in announcing a new edition, revised and expanded. “With very few exceptions, such as White Zombie and The Vampire Bat, these Depression-era pictures had been popularly forgotten through neglect, careless archiving, and inconsistent copyright maintenance. We sought to make them less ‘forgotten.’
“George and I covered more than 100 such films from 1929-1937 in the original edition, and within a few years of its publication many of these pictures started cropping up on the home-video market,” adds Price. “One large-scale video dealer went so far as to publish a catalogue called Forgotten Horrors.
The new edition, Forgotten Horrors: The Original Volume—Except More So (Cremo Studios; $35), features many new chapters and an introduction by Mel Brooks—the filmmaker responsible for such horror pictures as Young Frankenstein and David Cronenberg’s The Fly. The expansion will serve both to unearth additional rarities and to restore much of the original manuscript. At the behest of the original publisher, the Tantivy Press of London, the authors had removed many chapters for the sake of brevity—including coverage of such significant independent films as Sam Goldwyn’s Bulldog Drummond and Harold Lloyd’s creepy comedy Welcome Danger, both from 1929. These and others have been restored to the text, along with many photographs and advertising images previously unpublished.
A key new discovery is a lost film by acclaimed director Edgar G. Ulmer, The Warning Shadow—made shortly before Ulmer’s big-time breakthrough with the Boris Karloff-Bela Lugosi starrer The Black Cat (1934). While The Warning Shadow remains a missing film, Price has traced its surviving footage to an unlikely location and reports accordingly on the find. More than 50 new chapters complete the package, ranging from weird Westerns to ghostly crime melodramas and offbeat comedies. The book’s 370 pages cover the rise of such iconic stars as Boris Karloff, Ginger Rogers, and Gene Autry; the decline of many silent-era talents who stuck around through the arrival of talking pictures in the late 1920s; and significant relationships between such major studios as
and Universal and
low-budget companies including Tiffany, Majestic, Victory, and Monogram. Columbia
Michael H. Price and the late George Turner, longtime editor of American Cinematographer magazine, also are responsible for such books as The Making of King Kong (Spawn of Skull Island) (1975-2002); Forgotten Horrors Vol. 2 (2001); and The Cinema of Adventure, Romance & Terror (1989). Price also has delivered Vols. 3-5 of the Forgotten Horrors series in collaboration with genre historians John Wooley and Jan Alan Henderson. A collection of Price’s film reviews for the New York Times News Service (1985-1998) is in preparation.
Forgotten Horrors: The Original Volume—Except More So will be issued in August of 2012 by Cremo Studios, Inc.