Thursday, March 19, 2015


The Forgotten Horrors line of movie-reference books has grown considerably since we launched the set of uniform and expanded editions during the earlier 2010s. I'm at work just now (spring of 2015) on Forgotten Horrors Vol. 8: The Resurrection of Edgar Allan Poe, which will open at 1960 (and a lasting cycle of Poe adaptations from Roger Corman and my cousin Vincent Price).

The following catalogue of Amazon eStore addresses will prove helpful in singling out the individual volumes and their spinoffs. These titles render all earlier editions obsolete, or at best nostalgic relics. Only the Cremo Studios editions conform to the intentions of the historians, critics, and design talents in charge. The distinctive Forgotten Horrors logotype (above) is the signature element.

We here at Cremo Studios appreciate your interest, and likewise your help in keeping Forgotten Horrors the longest-running genre-study franchise in commercial publishing. Since 1979, that is. And still running. And herewith, the titles and eStore links:

  • Hounds of Zaroff: This Rondo Awards-nominated study describes how Richard Connell's famous story of 1924, "The Most Dangerous Game," has persisted into the New Century as an indelible influence. Michael H. Price and the late George E. Turner began tracing that influence as early as the 1960s, while interviewing the filmmakers responsible for the first adaptation, 1932's The Most Dangerous Game. The research has continued apace, and it all comes together in Hounds of Zaroff. The book compiles kindred films, remakes, knockoffs, ripoffs, and toss-offs into a 250-page survey -- from the original film, through such famous titles as PREDATOR and THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, through rank obscurities like WALK THE DARK STREET and CONFESSIONS OF A PSYCHO CAT. The coverage extends into the present day, with the HUNGER GAMES pictures of 2012-2013 providing a coda. A coda, yes, but never a cul-de-sac for one of the most often-filmed stories ever to see the light of cold print. The eStore:
  • Forgotten Horrors to the Nth Degree: In which Michael H. Price and John Wooley continue their exploration of the Badlands of Grindhouse Cinema -- an expanded compilation of their acclaimed Forgotten Horrors columns for Fangoria magazine. The Afterword is by artist and film theorist Stephen R. Bissette, who chronicles a wealth of chillers with origins in his native Vermont. The cappers include a comprehensive survey of the bizarre filmmaking career of Larry Buchanan (of Mars Needs Women), a sampling of Mike Price's long-out-of-print columns for the New York Times News Service, a primary-source history of the Gore Film Trilogy of Herschell Gordon Lewis and David F. Friedman, and a study-in-depth of Leo Fong's career in martial-arts thrillers. The eStore:
  • Forgotten Horrors Vol. 7: Famished Monsters of Filmland covers the closing years of the 1950s, in context with a burgeoning market for the trappings of a year-'round Halloween. Shock! Theatre brings the chillers of the Depression Era to television, and American International Pictures gets more serious with a craze for youth-exploitation horrors. And William Castle delivers Macabre, House on Haunted Hill, and The Tingler to launch a celebrated string of gimmick-horrors. The eStore:
  • Forgotten Horrors Vol. 6: Up from the Depths brings postwar decade up through 1957, heralding the genre's boom-or-bust stretch of the late 1959s with such watersheds as Herman Cohen's teenage-monster cycle and the rise of Bert I. Gordon's gigantic-monster cycle. The eStore:
  • Forgotten Horrors Vol. 5: The Atom Age tracks the rise of the post-WWII atom-age scare-shows, from George Pal's Destination Moon to William Cameron Menzies' Invaders from Mars and delves into the emergence of William Castle (with an offbeat exploitation film called It's a Small World) toward his "Master of Horror" reign of the late 1950s and 1960s. The eStore:
  • Hounds of Zaroff: The Most Dangerous Game as a Persistent Muse to the Movies is the Rondo Awards-nominated study of Richard Connell's famous short story of the 1920s, "The Most Dangerous Game," and its influence upon filmmaking from 1932 into the New Millennium, Or from RKO-Radio Pictures' The Most Dangerous Game through The Hunger Games and beyond. The eStore:
  • Forgotten Horrors Vol. 4: Dreams That Money Can Buy is in preparation for a revised and expanded edition. And more about that presently.
  • Forgotten Horrors Comics & Stories covers the influence of the independent horror and SF films upon the comic-book industry, utilizing generous examples of complete comic-book stories. Included are John Wooley's Tor Johnson, Hollywood Star, an early-1950s takeoff on Destination Moon, and a fanciful revision of 1932's The Vampire Bat. The eStore:
  • Forgotten Horrors Vol. 3: Dr. Turner's House of Horrors covers the genre during the middle years of World War II, combining new research with elements from founding author George E. Turner's moviegoing notebook of the 1940s. A heavy-duty concentration of the chiller factories of Monogram Pictures and Producers Releasing Corp. The eStore:
  • Forgotten Horrors Vol. 2: Beyond the Horror Ban catches the genre in revival following a ban by foreign censorship groups. The centerpiece is a detailed rundown on Bela Lugosi's so-called "Monogram Nine," with numerous additional obscurities. The eStore:
  • Forgotten Horrors: The Original Volume, Except More So is the series-launcher, expanded considerably from prior editions -- and now containing the original version of George Turner & Mike Price's 1975 manuscript, in addition to many new chapters and insights and illustrations.  The eStore:
  • The Music of Forgotten Horrors Vol. 3: Forgotten Horrors of the Gramophone is the Rondo Award-nominated compact-disk compilation of hair-raising phonograph records, from the early days of recorded sound. And yes, the scary business pre-dates movies and comic books and radio and teevee. The eStore:
  • The Music of Forgotten Horrors Vol. 2!: A selection of pop, rock, and jazz novelties that by turns foreshadow and reflect the Old School horror movies. Tiny Parham's "Voodoo" (1929) stems from the same popular craze that gave rise to the film "White Zombie" in 1932. Joel Shaw's jazzified tune "White Zombie" (1932) is a timely response to the movie's box-office success. Herman Cohen promoted "Horrors of the Black Museum" and "The Headless Ghost" in 1959 with a rock-and-roll record. You get the picture. The eStore:
  • The Music of Forgotten Horrors Vol. 1 is out of print.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

“Carnival of Souls” Graphic Novel Adaptation Returns in New Edition from Cremo Studios

“Carnival of Souls” Graphic Novel Adaptation
Returns in a New Edition from Cremo Studios

Herk Harvey, pioneering independent moviemaker of the last century, foreshadowed the development of an indie-film groundswell with a maverick production called Carnival of Souls in 1962 The film’s resurgence during 1989-1990 as a film-festival and art-theatre attraction brought about, in turn, a graphic novel that inspired Stephen King to declare, “I’m in awe...!”
With the restoration of that Carnival of Souls book in two distinct editions for 2013, Cremo Studios, Inc., has brought Herk Harvey’s accomplishment full-circle. The filmmaker had commissioned the Carnival of Souls graphic novel while enjoying renewed popular and critical acclaim for a film that, during the 1960s, had been confined largely to the drive-in and grindhouse theatres and then banished to late-night television.
The designer and co-author of the comics version, Michael H. Price, had been involved with the film’s 1989 restoration as a syndicated motion-picture critic and a jurist with the USA Film Festival at Dallas, which launched the big-screen reissue. A representative of Herk Harvey approached Price about developing the graphic novel in 1990, and a collaboration with Harvey began. Price enlisted newspaper illustrator Todd Camp as principal artist.
Price and Camp, in turn, developed the comics adaptation from a combination of the restored film, the original shooting script, and Harvey’s film-cutting continuity. The tale follows the narrative arc of Harvey’s original vision: A haunted protagonist finds herself under siege by a mob of ghostly stalkers.
Price & Camp developed the book in a visually intense Pointillist style, employing millions of dots of ink to achieve a photo-realistic image comparable with the film’s shadow-laden camera compositions. The original edition of Carnival of Souls appeared in 1991 from Malibu Graphics, its release coinciding with the first authorized video edition of the restored film.
The new graphic novel, Carnival of Souls: Black & White Omnibus Edition (Cremo Studios; $25) reproduces the original edition with refinements and embellishments. The 290-page package is rounded out with a retrospective of Price & Camp’s additional comics work of the 1990s, including the Hollywood-themed comic strip Moviola, a collection called Holiday for Screams, and such short-story selections as Planet of the Dead and a little-seen serial feature called Corridors of Terror. A limited alternate edition, Carnival of Souls & Further Crepuscular Peculiarities (Cremo Studios; $55) contains a selection of full-color pages.    
Both editions of Carnival of Souls are in distribution via the Web catalogue of Amazon-dot-com. The eStore link is:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Turner Classic Movies weighs in on Forgotten Horrors

A grateful acknowledgment to Turner Classic Movies -- an essential network, by the way -- for its coverage of our two new additions to the Forgotten Horrors shelf. We've announced the books in prior postings, so I'll refrain from adding anything else and let Turner Classic Movies' state the case:

Big Thanx A lot to Turner Classic Movies for its prominent highlighting of Cremo Studios' new Forgotten Horrors books -- F.H. Vol. 6, on the one hand, and the series capper Forgotten Horrors to the Nth Degree, on the other -- among a wealth of coverage of interest to any and all movie enthusiasts. (TCM, man: Teevee that won't waste your time.)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Forgotten Horrors to the Nth Degree

And many thanks to Dennis King (at Projections Movie Blog) for all the kind woids on Forgotten Horrors to the Nth Degree (eStore link below):

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Timely Preview from 'The Movie Beat' — New Companion Volume to 'Forgotten Horrors'

     Rounding the halfway-mark curve on The Movie Beat, the first book to collect a sizeable number of my newspaper reviews from a good long hitch in the screening room. Akin to the Forgotten Horrors books, of course, but covering a broader range of subject matter and popular appeal. Currently fitting in the 2003 newspaper article about Ang Lee's The Hulk, which seems timely in the Here-and-Now not only in light of its early station in the current sooper-dooper-hero movie craze, but also in view of the chronic controversy over Marvel Comics' shabby treatment of its essential artists. Herewith, a preview of The Movie Beat (below). The book, containing a Foreword by my news-editor cohort Bill Thompson of the Maine Today papers, will issue during the summer from Cremo Studios.
Mike Price

The Hulk
When a shabby, 10-cent funnybook of the 1960s proves more interesting than its spinoff into a high-dollar movie, the ill-balanced state of the Popular Culture becomes disturbingly evident.
Not to suggest that Ang Lee’s take on The Hulk is a particularly bad motion picture. Or even a less worthwhile investment of time and money than, say, staying at home and re–reading the original comic books. A paperback reprint of the earliest Hulk escapades can be had at Half Price Books for less money than a movie ticket.
It is just that The Incredible Hulk, as perpetrated in 1962 by a rambunctious artist named Jack Kirby and an opportunistic sweatshop-boss editor named Stan Lee—no kin to Ang Lee—packed a wallop of predatory hunger and maverick defiance that is nowhere to be found in the well-fed and only superficially edgy movie version. The anger and alienation that motivate the big-screen’s pixel-perfect, Photoshopped-to-death Hulk are entirely melodramatic, cloaked in Existentialistic posturing. The comic book is the genuine article.
Early-day Marvel Comics’ bearing upon the comic-book racket had to do with insurgence and resentment. The Incredible Hulk is an irradiated menace, the alter–ego of a brilliant scientist, an atom-age Jekyll–become–Hyde. Ang Lee’s picture is a mixed bag of honor, betrayal, and transcendence.
It bears noting that the Hulk was popularly counted among the lousiest of his kind during the early 1960s. The Academy of Comic Book Arts & Sciences—a fan-club network of schoolboys who took the funnies more seriously than the rest of the world—found itself torn between The Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman when it came to citing the Worst Comic Book on the market. (Wonder Woman had the edge in this backhanded contest, what with its being a magazine designed for girls, under consideration by a voting panel of [mostly] boys. At least The Incredible Hulk had the requisite virility.)
Luckily for all concerned except the overworked artists, Stan Lee had in his service such brilliant illustrators as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. Lee also had the advantage of a punchy and memorable monicker, having set aside his actual name of Stanley Lieber in favor of the two-syllable jab of Stan Lee. This euphonious tag would have been just right for a Top 40 disc jockey of the day—especially after he had amended it to Stan “the Man” Lee—although as an attempt at Anglo–Saxonizing the identity it did not quite work. Most of the kids in my junior-high circle of comics fans just assumed that this Stan Lee must be some Chinese guy. (Filmmaker Ang Lee, on the other hand, is authentically Taiwanese.)
Stan Lee presided over a line of also-ran funnybooks, many of them dealing with hideous monsters, like visions from a 6–year–old’s nightmare, at large and getting larger. The Hulk, though consistent with such juvenilia, also was part of Lee’s gone-for-broke attempt to challenge the well-heeled publisher of Superman and Batman, tenured mainstays of an industry. Having nothing to lose and plenty to prove, Lee copped a renegade stance, denying his heroes the joy with which Superman flaunted his powers or the official acceptance of Batman’s vigilante tactics. If Lee’s situations and dialogue were na├»ve and overwrought, at least his attitude was refreshingly grim.
Lee and his hired help (his Betters, though subjugated by economic considerations) already had defined the Amazing Spider–Man as a nerdly misfit, afflicted with superhuman abilities. Their heroic team, the Fantastic Four, was a quarreling extended family transformed into freaks as a consequence of a renegade flight into space. For the Hulk, Lee looked to R.L. Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde while Kirby took a visual cue from Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein movies. When Ditko took over, early in the run, he heightened the sense of malevolent intelligence.
Such prehistory exerts a fundamental bearing upon Ang Lee’s The Hulk. The film is, at one level, a critic-proof blockbuster for a summer moviegoing season that traditionally aspires to such bombastic sensationalism. Lee (Ang, not Stan) is, however, more an Art Film director than a dispenser of Popcorn Movies, and his thematic and artistic conceits make The Hulk somewhat more complicated.
The collaborative screenplay takes considerable liberties with the comic-book version-scientist, transformed in a nuclear shock-wave-to include an element of genetic tampering and at least one generation of mutation. Eric Bana stars as Bruce Banner, whose conversion to the Hulk (the real Bruce Almighty?) has as much to do with inborn abnormalities as with any triggering crisis. Bana’s response to his altered self is too nonchalant, denying the character his due as a tormented anti-hero of the film noir type, and this lack of depth requires what compensation the supporting players can provide.
Jennifer Connelly, as a conflicted romantic interest for Banner, moves beyond the damsel-in-distress stereotype of the Lee & Kirby version, with an actual career and a genuine stake in the motivating crisis. Nick Nolte lends a robust and ominous presence as a fatherly sort who seems responsible for having rendered Banner susceptible to the change. The Hulk himself is more a creation of the digital-effects realm than of any literary or dramatic artistry, and such soulless sensationalism is quite at odds with the deeply felt art of the comic books, where the dichotomy between the man and his monster-self was rather more sharply defined. Where the comics required just one or two capable, underpaid illustrators per issue, the movie requires a regiment of overpriced special-effects artisans.
There also are some gimmick-casting touches, including the overbearing presence of Stan Lee and the pleasanter Lou Ferrigno—television’s Incredible Hulk of the 1970s—in cameos that only flirt with overkill. Or as Stan Lee himself might put it: “‘Nuff said!”

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

And herewith: The Music of Forgotten Horrors Vol. 2 -- creepy novelties, movie-promo rock 'n' roll, and some jazz-pop hoodoo rarities from the 1920s and '30s.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Forgotten Horrors Vol. 6: New Back-Cover Design

The cover paintings are nearing completion for Forgotten Horrors Vol. 6 ... and here is the back-cover image... More about all that presently...