It’s strange how the name of Frankenstein always puts images of the monster that was pieced together by a mad doctor in our heads, when in fact the name is of the creator, not the creature. And the man who is considered to be the first Frankenstein (yes, I know there were others, but I did use the word “considered”), was Henry Frankenstein and played by British actor Colin Clive. He was the one to utter those famous lines “It’s alive! It’s alive!”. But much like the curse his character fell upon, the actor himself seemed to be cursed as well.
Now thanks to Gregory William Mank and Midnight Marquee, you’ll be able to read all the details about his life and death, in “One Man’s Crazy!” The Life and Death of Colin Clive, which should be out anytime now. I’ve read several of Mank’s books and he always fills them with so much information, details, stories, as well as heart and soul, that really shows us his subject for who they were. Mank is top-notch scholar who always delivers with his books. I can’t wait to dig into this one.
This book retails for $30 but if you order it directly from Midnight Marquee, you can get it for only $19! For ordering details, head over to their website HERE, or drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the many things that I’ve loved about the fact that this year is the 200th Anniversary of when Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, was first published, is the attention that it has been getting. Especially in the book world! I think I have picked up more books on Frankenstein, the original novel, Shelley, and the movies, this year than I have in over the last decade. And that is definitely a good thing, that Shelley’s creation and all its decedents are getting this much attention. And now, coming out later this month, is another title, The Vault of Frankenstein: 200 Years of the World’s Most Famous Monster, by Paul Ruditis.
Since I’ve just ordered my copy, all I can say about this book is what is listed on the Amazon page, but it looks pretty fun and will be a welcome edition to my Frankenstein section in my library. It retails for $29.99 and is a 176 pages that is filled with different aspects about Shelley, the novel, the films, as well as the cultural impact that it has made over the last two centuries.
A bonus to this book is the memorabilia replicas that have been created for the book, that comes in an envelope that has little movie posters, the playbill for the first stage adaptation of Shelley’s novel, and much more.
The book comes out in a couple of weeks, I’m sure I’ll have a full review posted at some point. But until then, let’s keep this Frankenstein celebration moving!
Because our September and October wasn’t filling up already, the Music Box has decided to screen some of the Universal classics in their Universal Horror: A Matinee Series, starting at 11:30am on each weekend listed below. Plus the fact that these are all being screened from 35mm prints! Now is your chance to see some of these essential titles from our horror history but on the big screen like they were meant to be seen! Here’s the schedule for this series:
Biology Run Amok!
Published by McFarland, 2018. 255 pages
By Mark C. Glassy
I first discovered the writings of Glassy with his first book, The Biology of Science Fiction Cinema, which I stumbled across at a Half Price Books a few years ago. Within those pages, he discusses different films in the horror and sci-fi genre, looking at the science in them and seeing what could be true and what is totally off. Such an enjoyable read. This time out, Glassy does the same, but also is educating the reader with a lot of science knowledge and how it is applied in some of our favorite films. These were originally published in Scary Monsters magazine, starting back in 2009, but now are all gathered together in this one volume.
In the beginning of the book, he describes how audiences today are the “Jurassic Park Generation” since we pretty much will believe the science we see in movies as reality. But Glassy goes through these different theories and explains in more details some of the fallacies therein, but also when some of the films gets the science correct.
Frankenstein: How a Monster Became an Icon
Published by Pegasus Books, 2018. 254 pages
Edited by Sidney Perkowitz & Eddy Von Mueller
Being a sucker for any books on Frankenstein, the movies, the novel, and/or anything in between, it was a no-brainer to add this one to my library when it came out. At first glance, I figured it would be another one of those psycho-babble titles, filled with such ludicrous ideas and theories. But as I started to dig into it, not only were my initial fears were wrong, I found this a very intriguing and interesting read, with plenty of ideas, theories, and information that really got my brain working.
Editors Perkowitz and Von Mueller have gathered a collection of authors that really know this subject and have quite a few interesting things to say about it, as well as giving the reader a variety of subjects relating to Shelley and her famous creation. The book covers a variety of topics, from Shelley’s original novel, to the many adaptations of it, to the science and the morals and ethics behind it. There is even an interview with filmmaker Mel Brooks, talking about Young Frankenstein (1974)! There are chapters that discuss different aspects of Shelley’s story, such as the creature and how it is looked upon, perceived, and treated, and why? These are the parts that I found most fascinating since it really gave you some ideas to think about, if Shelley really had these in mind when she wrote it. We get to hear about how Frankenstein’s creature has invaded the media over the last 200 years and how it is used, which again, I found very interesting to see how far this character has come these last two centuries.
John L. Balderston
Born Oct. 22nd, 1889 – Died Mar. 8th, 1954
Ever wonder why the original ’30s film versions of Dracula and Frankenstein didn’t seem to follow the novels too much? Well, one of the men responsible for that was writer John L. Balderston. He started his career as a journalist, even before he finished school, working for different newspapers. He would even be a war correspondent during WWI. He eventually started in show business as a playwright, while continuing the journalism gigs as well.
In 1927, he was hired to re-write Hamilton Deane’s stage play of Dracula for American audiences, making more than a few changes. Because of its huge success, he was then hired to do the same for Peggy Webling’s play version of Frankenstein. He would later have his name attached to many of the early monster classics, even if his scripts were never used. But because of his work, a lot of the foundation of these early monster flicks were due to him.
In 1953, Balderston and the heirs of Webling won a lawsuit with Universal, getting paid not only $20,000 but also 1% of any of the films that resulted from their work, including any sequels!
Larry Fessenden is one of my favorite filmmakers, because not only does he create entertaining films, but they are smart, well made, and highly effective. Ever since my first experience with his early film Habit, it still remains what I would consider one of the best of modern day vampire films. So when I read the news that he was set to direct his version of Shelley’s Frankenstein, a personal favorite classic monster of mine, I was more than excited.
The will be called Depraved and should start filming this month. It will be a modern day re-imagining of Shelley’s tale. Now, I know we all hate the phrase “re-imagining”, but in the hands of Fessenden, I am more than hopeful that it will be something highly effective and memorable. Fessenden says “I’ve been moved by the iconic character since childhood and it is a great thrill to try and put my version on screen.”
It deals with a combat field surgeon that is dealing with his PTSD once he comes back from the Middle East. While back home in Brooklyn, he creates a man out of body parts in his homemade lab. The film will star David Call, Joshua Leonard, and Alex Breaux as the monster.
I try not to get too excited or look forward to films before they are even close to coming out, but I have to say, this one is one that I’ll be counting the days until its release.