Interviews Too Shocking to Print!
Published by BearManor Media, 2014. 332 pages.
By Justin Humphreys
Right off the bat, let me say that if you’re expecting a but of unedited and sorid tales of Hollywood that couldn’t be printed before, you will be disappointed. The title of the book refers to the old fashion ballyhoo that B-movies used to use in hopes to draw a crowd. That being said, I think this book should draw the crowd because it is simply a must read for anybody interested in the horror and sci-fi genre and the people behind them.
I have quite a few “interview” books in my library and at least half of them cover the usual suspects in the movie industry. Not saying that is a bad thing, but we tend to read the same stories, as well as the people being covered are ones that we are usually very familiar with. But what Humphreys does with this book is put the spotlight on more than a few names that have made huge strides in the industry, but are names that you don’t typically hear being brought up, which is a damn shame. Thankfully, with this book, hopefully that can change.
Humphreys started interviewing some of these talents at the early age of 15 years of age, so right away it shows his diehard passion for these kind of films. Throughout his career, he befriended a lot of these people in the industry and is now trying to give them the credit they most assuredly deserves. And even if quite a few of them that are covered here have already passed away, learning about them and their work is the best way to keep them alive. And Humphreys has done a wonderful job doing just that.
Within these pages, you’ll read some great stories about and from B-movie directors like Gene Fowler, Jr., who gave us pictures like I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957) and I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958), or Herbert Strock, who directed I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957) and How to Make a Monster (1958), as well as Nathan Juran, who gave us some great films in the ’50s, such as The Black Castle (1952), The Deadly Mantis, 20 Million Miles to Earth, The Brain from the Planet Arous, all in 1957 alone! These are guys that gave us movies that are still remembered and talked about today, but yet their names are usually never mentioned in conversations.
But there are more than just directors covered here. There is a wonderful chapter on the genius Charles B. Griffith, who wrote a lot of the early Corman films, such as Bucket of Blood (1959) and Little Shop of Horrors (1960). Humphreys gives the reader a great portrait of his highly underrated talent. I had the wonderful opportunity to not only meet Mr. Griffith at the Cinema Wasteland show in April of 2007, but he was gracious enough to give me a few minutes for an interview (which you can read HERE). He was definitely a unique and interesting character, which Humphreys shows here.
I think this is where this book really excels in that it gives these names the proper treatment and respect they deserve, such in the case of actor William Finlay, most known for his role in Brian De Palma’s The Phantom of the Paradise (1974), but played so many other strange and interesting characters, but unfortunately unless you’re a genre-geek, you might know about this talented actor.
And to show that you’re never too old to learn, there is a nice chapter on Wah Chang, another name that I’ll admit that I was embarrassed not to know. But the more I read about his work as a sculptor and designer of some of the most interesting and outrageous creatures in the original series The Outer Limits, such as the infamous Zanti Misfits, though for some strange reason he’s not showing up in the credits for that show on IMDB. But he worked on a ton of amazing productions, creating some of the memorable moments from those childhood favorites, and you’ll get to read all about this incredible man here in this book.
Since I’m always waving the ‘Discover the Horror’ flag here at the Krypt, this volume is a perfect example of just that. Not only will you learn about the ones I’ve mentioned above, but plenty more. Even for someone like me who’s been doing this a while, I was still able to learn new things here. So kudos for Humphreys for creating this wonderful book and hopefully others reading this review will go out and pick it up and expand their knowledge as well.
You can order this directly from BearManor Media by clicking HERE.