Buyer Beware!

Everyone reading this knows I tend to collect horror reference books. More than your average fan. And because of my love of them, I always like to help promote them as well, either through reviews or just letting my followers know about upcoming titles that might be of interests. 

In the past, I’ve made posts about some books that publishers like to re-issue every couple of years, but change the title and cover a little to make it seem like its a new book. For example, Carlton Books have re-issued their Horror! title that was first published in 2006, at least 3 different times, all with a new cover and all with a slightly different name, adding a few pages at the end to “update” it to the current year. Sure, newer fans aren’t going to have the previous release, but at least they could do is state that it is an updated edition.

But this month I came across another publisher that has done something similar that I want others to be aware of. There is a book series called Scripts from the Crypts, which features a particular film that has the script in the book. But there is also tons of information about the making of the film as well, with them either by Tom Weaver or at least he has a huge involvement in it. They usually are on older films, such as Bride of the Gorilla or The Hideous Sun Demon, but are well worth picking up if you enjoy those films. They are published by BearManor Media.

scripts from the crypt brute manEarlier this year, the latest volume in this series was on The Brute Man (1946), which I planned on picking up at some point. Here is the description listed on BearManor’s website about this book:

“He made the Universal back lot his own personal preyground: Rondo Hatton, who attained B-movie stardom at the very end of his life via the role of the spine-snapping serial killer The Creeper. The victim of a disfiguring disease, Hatton needed no makeup when he played this night stalker in The Pearl of Death (1944), House of Horrors (1946) and The Brute Man (1946).

A lot of misery and physical pain were packed into Rondo Hatton’s 51 years on Earth and he met his challenges with courage. This book tells his full story and pays tribute with a biography chapter, the lowdown on The Brute Man’s production and theatrical release, artist George Chastain’s tribute to other “brute men” of the movies, and more. Also: Rondo’s miraculous 21st-century “rebirth” as a coveted award for the finest in Monster Kid achievement.”

The main author of this book was Scott Gallinghouse, as well as contributions by Tom Weaver, Dr. Robert J. Kiss, George Chastain, David Colton, Andrew J. Fenady, and Gary D. Rhodes.

Rondo Hatton Beauty Within the BruteA few weeks ago, BearManor announced a new book title, a biography on the star of The Brute Man, Rondo Hatton, who also appeared in a few other low budget horror films. The books title was Rondo Hatton: Beauty Within the Brute. Once again, the author was Scott Gallinghouse, with additional writings by Tom Weaver, Robert J. Kiss, George Chastain, and David Colton. But when I read the book’s description, it seemed pretty similar to the one from Scripts from the Crypt. Here what it stated:

“In the horror movie heyday of Universal Pictures, he made the studio back lot his own personal preyground: Rondo Hatton, star of the company’s “Creeper” series. The victim of a disfiguring disease, Hatton needed no makeup to play the Creeper, a night-prowling vertebrae-ker, in The Pearl of Death (1944), House of Horrors (1946) and The Brute Man (1946).

A lot of misery and physical pain were packed into Rondo Hatton’s 51 years on Earth and he met his challenges with courage. This book tells Hatton’s full story and pays tribute with a full biography, the production histories of his five horror movies, artist George Chastain’s tribute to other “Brute Men” of the movies, artwork (and an afterword) by celebrated pop culture cartoonist Drew Friedman and more. Also: Rondo’s miraculous 21st-century “rebirth” as a coveted award for the finest in Monster Kid achievement.”

Since the wording seemed more than a coincident, I emailed the publisher to inquire if this biography was the same as the Scripts book they published earlier. I guess I should have worded my question better because the response I got was simple and straightforward.

“Nope!”

So I ordered both books from them. When they arrived, I started to browse through and discovered just what I thought, that while they were not the exact same book, about 2/3 of the biography was in the Scripts book. The entire biography section from the Scripts book, which is a little over 100 pages, is pretty much identical to the biography. The section on the Rondo Awards by Colton is exactly the same, as well as the part on other movie giants. In fact, there is nothing on the copyrights page stating that any of this new biography had been previously published. Can you do that?

I emailed BearManor back, stating that more than half of the biography was already published in the Scripts book. Their reply?

“Sorry about that!”

Now, I’m not writing this to try and get any money back or whine because I bought almost two of the same book. I was pretty sure going into this that they were going to be pretty similar, but hoped that after the statement from the publisher that I would be wrong. My point in bringing this up to not only to warn potential buyers to make sure they know what they are getting, but also to make them aware that BearManor acted pretty shifty in regards to this new biography. Sure, they didn’t lie when he said they are not the same book, but he had to know they were pretty close to being the same, and should have stated that.

I have purchased many of BearManor’s titles over the years, and have really enjoyed their work. So it really confuses me on why they would do this now and be so shady about the whole thing. This is the kind of stuff I’d expect from politicians. Not book publishers.

So buyers beware. If you have the Scripts from the Crypts book on The Brute Man, then you pretty much already have the Rondo Hatton: Beauty Within the Brute.

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