FORGOTTEN HORRORS 3:
DR. TURNER'S HOUSE OF HORRORS
by Michael H. Price and John Wooley with
George E. Turner. Luminary Press. Softcover 224 pages. $20
Back to: Forgotten
Horrors Back to: Forgotten Horrors 2
The old adage "if it aint
broke...don't fix it" is never more true than with the Forgotten Horrors format.
As before, the seasoned and greenhorn horror movie fan is greeted with another host of
some unknown, some familiar, but always intriguing titles to whet the appetite. Not since
my teenage years pouring over Denis Gifford's A
Pictorial History of the Horror Movie have I felt such unabashed glee at the
discoveries that may lie within a book as I do with the Forgotten Horrors series.
Michael Price, this time collaborating with
John Wooley and using notes from the late George Turner, has concentrated on the years
1943-1946, a heyday for Poverty Row and the increasing familiarity with John Carradine,
Warner Oland as Charlie Chan, and Erich von Stroheim. Bela Lugosi also features regularly,
but his performances in movies like The Ape Man,
and Ghosts on the Loose bring with them a tinge
of sadness as they highlight a distinguished career in decline.
Again, Westerns, or "Oaters" to
use the familiar term by fans, feature highly in this installment. I once asked Michael
why they are included in such abundance, not realising that to someone who lives in Texas,
the windswept plains and eerie howls of the wind through sandblasted cattle skulls and
lonely ghost-towns can indeed constitute the truest sense of the word horror. My British
naivety used to such movie plots that include masked smugglers lurking in caves on the
Cornish coast, haunted railway stations, isolated pubs and insane aristocracy, was
Now my movie tastes will indulge such titles as Marked Trails with Veda Ann Borg; Wild
Horse Phantom and Rough Riders of Cheyenne, a move that is entirely due to
Michael and Forgotten Horrors.
It is easy to continue listing the unknown
titles that Michael, John and George have unearthed in their "moving-picture
archaeology", but this would not do justice to the numerous facts accompanying each
entry and the nuggets of information contained in the many digressions that Michael
embarks on, taking the reader into a mind that actually remembers and loves these films.
Without the passion of the authors most of these movies would have never seen the light of
And yes...Forgotten Horrors 4 is on the way!
FORGOTTEN HORRORS 2:
BEYOND THE HORROR BAN
by Michael H. Price with George E.
Turner. Midnight Marquee Press. Softcover 255 pages. $20
Back to: Forgotten
Horrors Go to: Forgotten Horrors 3
Fans of the original Forgotten Horrors and
the Definitive Edition will be equally immersed in the sequel Forgotten Horrors
2 covering the years 1936-1942. Here, it seems, that Michael Price working without his
friend and collaborator George Turner who sadly passed away in 1999, has found even more
gems from an era in a genre that has still been sorely neglected despite the popularity of
the first in the series of Forgotten Horrors.
Beginning with an Annotations, Marginalia & Addenda to the last edition, these brief,
but valuable additions demonstrate the ongoing research and plain hard work that is put
into these books. While others may consider their publications to be the final word and
pinnacle of their endeavors, Michael faces up to the huge challenge before him and boldly
announces that Forgotten Horrors 3 is only just months away from completion.
Much the same broad application of the term
"horrors" is applied here and we see the inclusion of Westerns The Range
Busters (1940) and the like of Saddle Mountain Roundup (1941), Whodunnits
starring Boris Karloff as the celebrated detective James Lee Wong, and Oriental mastermind
Fu Manchu in Drums of Fu Manchu (1943). Poverty
Row stalwarts Mantan Moreland, George Zucco and, of course, Bela Lugosi are all to be
found within in these pages.
Among the numerous obscure offerings that
serve to re-kindle an excitement in me to seek and devour titles yet unseen, (Zamboanga,
The Last Alarm and The Son of Ingagi look especially enticing), are a few of the more
familiar films that include Karloff's The Ape
(1940), Lugosi's The Devil Bat, Zucco's The Mad Monster (1942) and Moreland's King
of the Zombies (1941). Yet even these entries are fresh and insightful adding more to
much of what has been covered by other authors.
For me Forgotten Horrors epitomises
everything that The Missing Link
set out to achieve by educating and
informing fans and fans-to-be of the vast amount of material there is to explore,
providing their own variety of thrills and spills on budgets that today would barely cover
the cost of an average movie-set's coffee consumption.
I await eagerly the arrival of Forgotten Horrors 3.
by George E. Turner & Michael H. Price. Barnes
& Co. Hardcover. 216 pages.
Go to Forgotten Horrors
2: Beyond the Horror Ban
Go to Forgotten Horrors 3: Dr. Turner's House of Horrors
I first heard about the existence of this book
through Sinister Cinema's
Recommended Reading section and finally after all this time located a copy in London.
This is an exhaustive listing of over one hundred obscure "Poverty Row" chillers
dating from 1929 to 1937 with a full cast and credit listings, detailed synopsis,
explanatory notes and a wealth of poster and still reproductions. Here the term
"horror" is used loosely and includes listings of early whodunnits, yellow peril
masterminds, jungle adventures and westerns, but all the films contain a strong element of
menace to warrant inclusion.
Independently made horror films flooded the
market during the early 30's after the success of Universal's Dracula and Frankenstein
when the genre found a new form of respectability. However, the majority of the releases
from the smaller studios including Warner's all-talkie The Terror (1928), and the more obscure Black Waters (1929), or Drums of
Jeopardy (1931) had actually been inspired by the popular mystery farces The Bat (1926), The
Cat and the Canary (1927) and The Gorilla
Many of the early independent releases also boasted some high-calibre actors who were yet
to achieve recognition, these included Boris Karloff, John Wayne and Ginger Rogers to name
but a few. There were those who floated between the major and minor studios such as Lionel
Atwill, Bela Lugosi and Wallace Ford and finally there were former stars like Zasu Pitts,
Henry B. Walthall and Francis X. Bushman, whose careers were sadly in decline.
A number of the films listed including White Zombie (1932) and The Vampire Bat (1933) will be familiar, but the majority of the films
listed have rarely been given more than a passing mention elsewhere. One of the most
mysterious entries is The Horror (1933) that the
stills suggest is a full blooded chiller with an ape-like creature and a madman that bares
more than a passing resemblance to Lon Chaney Senior!
Amongst the serials mentioned is Mascot's King of the
Wild (1931), The Whispering Shadow (1933)
starring Bela Lugosi, and Republic's In Darkest Africa
(1936). One serial from Regal Pictures titled The Lost
City is described as being a 12 chapter rollercoaster ride bursting at the seams with
zombies, mad scientists, an evil hunchback, spider men and jungle beasts. Certainly sounds
like one treasure that needs to be hunted down!
The one commodity that the Poverty Row
studios had in abundance was inventiveness. While the bigger studios were able to throw
money at their production problems, the smaller studios had to use their imagination and
the result is a plethora of minor classics with a wide appeal that are detailed with such
affection in FORGOTTEN HORRORS. The fact that many of these gems are so obscure is
justification enough to find this book and buy it
"Thanks immensely for your coverage.
We'll be plugging the site in FORGOTTEN HORROS Vol. 4, which will be delivered this month
to our new publisher (Dinoship Books of NYC). FORGOTTEN HORRORS Vol. 5 will follow
presently, along with John Wooley's and my BIG BOOK OF BIKER FLICKS. John and I are
covering the later years of FORGOTTEN HORRORS (1963-85) in a recurring column for
FANGORIA, whose installments will appear in later volumes of the series of books. Usual
best"-- MHP Sep. 2004
All editions available
in the US click here
Also by Michael H. Price & George Turner: Human