The Missing Link Reviews

Forgotten Horrors 3: Dr. Turner's House of Horrors Available from click hereFORGOTTEN HORRORS 3:

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 promptly corrected.
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 day again.
And yes...Forgotten Horrors 4 is on the way!

Forgotten Horrors 2: Beyond the Horror Ban Available from click hereFORGOTTEN 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.

Forgotten Horrors UK edtionForgotten Horrors

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

Forgotten Horrors: The Definitive Edition available from click hereI 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 (1927).
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.The Horror (1933)

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 Monsters