I still have The House Of Horror (The Story Of Hammer Films) with the ol' Twins Of Evil cover, and, of course, Savage Cinema. For years RTW's piece on Straw Dogs in there was the only positive press this film seemed to receive.
Speed : Cinema Of Motion and Ape : The Kingdom Of Kong weren't quite up to scratch, but Cut : The Unseen Cinema was an eye-opener. Cinema Of Mystery, dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe stays in my mind for Arthur Rackham's fantastic picture of the Red Death claiming Prince Prospero - sheer genius!
I wish I had the Hammer volume, but I have a few others...
I had Cinema of Mystery! Bought at a WHSmith book sale in the same job lot as Peter Cushing's Tales of a Monster Hunter from Arthur Barker. The main thing it did was to introduce me to those fantastic Rackham illustrations.
Other Lorrimers here are Swastika, Catastrophe, Freaks and Ape.
Catastrophe:The End Of Cinema? rang a bell as soon as you mentioned it, Rog, but I had to go and look up Swastika: Cinema Of Oppression! Bloody hell, that sounds like a lot of fun - "A detailed study of film & cinema used for propaganda by Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Hirohito, Lenin, Stalin". Actually it's probably a very interesting book but I'm not sure I'd really have appreciated it at the time.
Italian Western: The Opera of Violence Laurence Staig and Tony Williams Lorrimer, 1975
A few years back I was blathering on about Italian Westerns on another board (it was before we met) and, out of the blue, Laurence Staig posted a reply which began; "I agree with Steve G..." Quite made my day, I can tell you. And to understand quite how much it meant to me, you have to understand just how much this book meant to me back in the 70s.
Unfortunately, I couldn't even begin to explain it.
This book was a dream. The fact that somebody had written a whole book about these films that I loved so much. I've no idea how many times I must have read it. I read it again recently and it's still a great book. Staig and Williams clearly wrote it quite simply because they loved these films and wanted to address the fact that, at the time, they were largely dismissed out of hand as "Spaghetti westerns", i.e., cheap Italian knock-offs of the real "authentic" American thing, i.e, John Ford.
Italian Western: The Opera of Violence was the first and at that point the only book to make the case for the Italian western as innovative and unique cinema. Christopher Frayling's scholarly Spaghetti Westerns: Cowboys and Europeans from Karl May to Sergio Leone, a more academic and far less interesting book to me, wasn't published until some years later.
One of the great things about The Opera of Violence, as the title suggests, is that it gives as much space to the music of the Italian western and its composers, as it does to directors and actors. For a genre (and Italian westerns are a distinct genre unto themselves) where music plays such an integral part, this is entirely appropriate and, I imagine, quite an innovative approach itself for a book of this sort.
In his message referred to at the start of this post, Laurence Staig went on to say that he really disliked the term "Spaghetti Westerns". In fact the publishers had wanted to use it as the title of the book as they considered it to have greater commercial appeal (Frayling's opus hadn't appeared yet), and Staig and Williams felt so strongly about it that they threatened to pull out and either take their book elsewhere or forget the whole thing. I deeply admire them for sticking to their guns. This is a genuinely great book and The Opera of Violence is a brilliant title. Lorrimer? What did they know?
Got this Italian Western one from the market a few months ago for 50p. Have not read it in full but it looks excellent.
Think I had another of these Lorimer books when I was very young, can't recall which one right now. And somebody mentioned Denis Gifford's Pictorial History of Horror Movies?? damn, that brings back memories. Used to spend hours with that book. The axe-in-head shot used to freak me out. And the pic from 'Horror Of Malformed Men', which I found fascinating - still haven't seen that movie...
Barrie Pattison - The Seal Of Dracula (Lorrimer, 1975)
I. Silent Vampires `The Abbey reminds me of the broken battlements of my own castle in Transylvania.' 2. Talkie Vampires `For a man who has not lived even one lifetime you are very wise, Doctor.' 3. The English Vampire `Dear God! When shall we be free of this evil?' 4. The Italian Vampire `Those empty eyes seem to be looking at us.' 5. Vampires from Mexico and the Philippines `They tried to bite me. I don't know what to think.' 6. The Spanish Vampire `Elvira, I know our love has no future.' 7. Sex-Vampires `Tomorrow you will be Satan's slaves.' 8. New Vampires `Oh, it's so exciting when those teeth start biting.' 9. Cowboys, Spacemen and Nazi Beasts `The Dead don't bother me. It's the Living give me trouble.' 10. The Saga of the Dracula's `Gentlemen, we are dealing with the undead.' I1. Batmen from the Box `It's not so funny now that it's your jugular vein.' 12. Art and Commerce `Did you know vampirism is a sexual perversion?' 13. Lust, Blood and God `My world is waiting for you. Forsake the Cross so you can join me there.' 14. Filmography
Advertised on the back are Kung Fu: Cinema Of Vengeance (£1.75), Celluloid Rock ("the definitive history of rock" - no wonder it costs 20p more than the others), Cinefantastic: Beyond The Dream Machine (weird cinema, £1.75) and the Hammer one (£1.75). Forthcoming were Ape: The Kingdom Of Kong and Savage Cinema (both £1.95).
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.
as is probably no news to anyone here, Creation's Hammer book is the Lorrimer with very little copy editing, a few cuts, and a new and superfluous bit on other vampire cinema.
the interesting thing is that James Williamson at Creation once told me that he'd bought the Lorrimer catalogue. as far as i know, this was the only one he used or recyccled, but i haven't read many of their cinema titles. anyone got any thoughts on Lorrimer stuff that he reused? certainly they had a great catalogue, if a little off-kilter in being halfway between academia and populism.
Talking of opera of violence - I picked up Death Rides a Horse on dvd ( cheers Rog for the nag's heads up) and watched it last night. Apart from how psychotronic this one is - I just LOVED the score - in a absolutely adored it! I'd forgotten how impressive it was. The print is great and as far as I know uncut - it certainly is worth getting. Easily one of the top five spags made ( in my view )
Talking of opera of violence - I picked up Death Rides a Horse on dvd... Apart from how psychotronic this one is - I just LOVED the score... Easily one of the top five spags made ( in my view )
Belting film, wonderful score.
Morricone at his dissonant best with some lovely choral work. And who knew flutes could be menacing? The main theme is a bit like being cast down in the middle of a thunderstorm to the ninth circle of Western Hell where the Lucifer Kid and demonic chorus are waiting to greet you with a rousing chorus of "He'll be coming round the mountain" in an all but impenetrable Italian accent. One of my favourite Morricone music cues features on this soundtrack, the rhythmic, bass-led "Mistico e Severo' which, as the name strongly hints, is both mystic and severe. Similarly, "Alone in the Dark" is almost exactly like being alone in the dark.
Giulio Petroni certainly earns his place up there among the Sergios (Leone, Corbucci, Sollima) and other great SW directors with this film. Though, personally, I prefer his next western, Tepepa.
Post by The Lurker In The Shadows on Aug 14, 2008 9:55:24 GMT
The cover for "The Seal of Dracula" was originally one of the movie posters for the first "Dark Shadows" spin-off film, "The House of Dark Shadows". Blond vampire girl is Nancy Barrett as Carolyn Collins, though the big, old vampire head looks nothing like Barnabas.
There is the touch on the shoulder that comes when you are walking quickly homewards in the dark hours, full of anticipation of the warm room and bright fire, and when you pull up, startled, what face or no-face do you see?