Poverty Row Horrors!: Monogram, PRC and Republic Horror Films of the Forties / Edition 2 available in Paperback
- Pub. Date:
- McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Poverty row horror films were usually inexpensively (some would say cheaply) produced with writing that ranged from bad to atrocious. Yet these movies with their all-star horror casts (Carradine, Lugosi, Karloff, et al.) and their ape men, mad monsters, devil bats and white zombies still have a loyal audience 50 years after their release.
Essays contain full filmographic data on the 31 horror chillers made by the three studios from 1940 through 1946 and are arranged by year of release. Each entry includes the date of release, length, production credits, cast credits, interview quotes, and a plot synopsis with critical commentary. Filmographies for prominent horror actors and actresses, from John Abbott to George Zucco, are provided in the appendices.
|Publisher:||McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.78(d)|
About the Author
Tom Weaver of Sleepy Hollow, New York, has been interviewing moviemakers for 35 years. The New York Times called him a leading scholar in the horror field and USA Today has described him as the king of the monster hunters. Classic Images said he was “the best interviewer we have today.” A frequent contributor to ﬁlm magazines, he has written many books about American popular culture and is also a Blu-ray audio commentator.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fun-to-read catalog of the sub-B horror films churned out by the Poverty Row studios of the 1940's. These kinds of book succeed or fail based on the writing expertise of the author, and Weaver is a solid writer.
Poverty Row films make today's direct-to-video films look like 'A' features. Shot on the tiniest of budgets and often completed in a matter of a few weeks, these films were the bottom of the barrel in 1940's Hollywood and yet somehow many have survived to considered cult classics in the horror genre, This is largely due to the stars of these cut-rate cheapies such as Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, George Zucco, and others. Tom Weaver, perhaps the foremost expert on these films is the man behind this fantastic book detailing all 31 poverty row horrors produced by Republic, Monogram, and PRC studios. The 31 films are listed in order of release date beginning with 'Boys of the City' in 1940 and ending with 'Spookbusters' in 1946, both East Side Kids/Bowery Boys films. For each film Weaver provides complete cast and credits, run time, release date, and a lengthy plot synopsis. Weaver gives his expert analysis of each film as well as informative anecdotes. Snippets from reviews of the day are also included. Among the films featured are: 'The Ape', Boris Karloff's only true poverty row film shot in just one week. This gem must be seen to be believed. One can only imagine how the distinguished and proper Karloff must have felt parading around inside a gorilla suit. Of course the king of poverty row was Karloff's rival Bela Lugosi. Lugosi did nine of these low-budget offerings including 'The Devil Bat', 'Invisible Ghost', 'Black Dragons', 'The Ape Man' and 'The Corpse Vanishes'. One can only feel for Lugosi who needed the work and always gave his fullest in every performance no matter how ridiculous the script was. In an appendix, Weaver along with other luminaries such as Forrest Ackerman, Joe Dante, and Gary Svehla of Midnight Marquee magazine rate all of Lugosi's poverty row films and give their opinions on his best...and worst! One of my favorite films that Weaver covers is 'King of the Zombies' which was intended to star Lugosi as the evil Nazi doctor but he was already committed to another film. Great black character actor, wide-eyed Mantan Moreland steals the show hands down and deservedly, is the only one in the cast who gets good mention for his comedic performance. Other films in the book are George Zucco vehicles 'Fog Island', 'Dead Men Walk' and the 'Mad Monster'. The book also spotlights some of the truly little known poverty row horrors: 'Strangler of the Swamp', 'The Face of Marble', `The Girl who Dared' and more. Weaver brings his vast knowledge and intelligent writing to this book. He never fails to surprise me with interesting notes about films and their stars. Reviewed by Tim Janson