John Burke would warrant a section to himself. As well as the above & the 'Tales of Unease' series he edited for Pan, his collection 'We've Been Waiting for You' from Ash-Tree is well worth a read. It includes 'Comedy of Terrors' from Pan Volume Nine, which wasn't really typical of his original horror fiction.
on 06/12/2007 at 12:29:36, pulphack wrote:
I'm sure Burke must have worked to shooting scripts... He also likes to flesh out some thin material - in his Strange Report novelisation he welds two scripts together with some excellent - yet small - new scenes and some good character work.
There's a good case to be made for Burke as a relatively unsung Brit pulp hero.
on 06/06/2007 at 14:30:31, Killercrab wrote:
You might ask yourself , why bother reading a novelisation or adaption of a film...
These small changes , which are actually tighter edits make me wonder if Burke was working from an early script or whether director Gilling expanded on scenes on set.
Overall I found reading the adaption as compelling as watching the film - Burke's writing is tight yet not too functional and he presents the story well.
on 06/10/2007 at 14:12:00, Franklin Marsh wrote:
I've just read this Ade! (And half of Dracula - Prince Of Darkness). I think they stand up very well. Burke's novelisations were a godsend back in those pre-video three channel days when you had to wait years for your most wanteds to turn up (and hope you could stay awake).
I remember reading The Reptile long before I ever saw the film - but Burkey did it justice. I like the scene where the graves are opened in the pouring rain.
Screenplay by Louis Greiffer (based on his own story) in association with Louis Marks
Joachim Deutsch is a name “...more appropriate for a concert pianist.
“Anyway, being called Deutsch wasn’t the easiest way to popularity when the bombs were falling on London.”
And Joe Newman is a better name for a pianist stamping out Jazz melodies, so that’s how we’re first introduced to the narrator of this book.
Joe had changed his name when his mother died. And his father had died twenty years before. He’s baffled one day when he gets a telephone call, and the voice on the phone invites him to a meeting at the Hotel Rosengarten in Königsbaden. The man extending the invitation says he is Kurt Deutsch and that the meeting is “important – to both of us”. Kurt Deutsh was Joe’s father, and he died 20 years before.
Joe makes his way back to a Germany full of displaced and hopeless people. But the flowers are bright in Königsbaden’s square, and the blonde in the passenger seat of the Mercedes sports car has a skirt too short for modesty and killer legs.
As the writing takes on a Chandleresque style, it actually grows in brightness. “The sun was bright. It struck sparks from glasses standing on the tables outside a café. Heads turned and the coach moved away as I sayed there” Joe has arrived at the Hotel Rosengarten.
Inside the hotel, the chambermaid is cute and has a bottle of whisky on a tray besides. “Even without the tray she would have made quite a picture.”
But bad news is waiting for him. His father died last week.
When Joe leaves the hotel, he is watched by a thin man and his fat friend straight out of the Maltese Falcon.
There is another surprise waiting at the Deutsch house. Frau Deutsche is upset by her husband’s death. The only Frau Deutsch Joe knew of was his mother.
I’m barely 30 pages into re-reading this one, and it’s rattling along. I love a lot of the descriptive writing; the hard-boiled style definitely suits Burke. Nothing sketchy here:
It was a spacious room, just as I would have imagined it to be. The furniture was a good blend of the old and the new, arranged by someone with taste to complement the two. The whole place had an air of easy opulence. At the far end French windows opened out onto a terrace, with the gardens beyond. The sunshine struck bright colours from the flowers and drew me towards the windows. Warmth slanted in through the glass. A decanter on a trolley was abruptly dazzling, throwing sparks into the eyes from the cut glass stopper.
Have to say I’m really looking forward to continuing this one tonight.