Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Frankenstein Collection

Peter Haining (ed.) - The Frankenstein Collection: Terrifying Tales Inspired By The Cult Horror Movie (Artus, 1994: also Orion, 1994 as The Frankenstein Omnibus)
Introduction - Peter Haining
Preface: The Creature Lives - Mary Shelley

1: The Prototypes:

Mary Shelley - The Reanimated Man
Jane Webb - The Mummy
William Maginn - The New Frankenstein
Herman Melville - The Bell-Tower
Sir Ronald Ross - The Vivisector
Villiers De L'Isle Adams - The Future Eve
Fred T. Jane - The Incubated Girl
W. C. Morrow - The Surgeon's Experiment
Dick Donovan - Some Experiments With A Head
E. E. Kellett - The New Frankenstein
Harle Oren Cummins - The Man Who Made A Man
Leonard Merrick - Frankenstein II
Robert S. Carr - The Composite Brain
Theodore LeBerthon - Demons Of The Film Colony

2. The Films:

H. M. Milner - Frankenstein; or, The Man And The Monster!
Garrett Ford & Francis Faragoh - Frankenstein: The Man Who Made A Monster
John L. Balderstone & William Hurlbut - The Bride Of Frankenstein
Robert Muller - The Workshop Of Filthy Creation
Fritz Leiber - The Dead Man
Jimmy Sangster - The Curse Of Frankenstein
H. P. Lovecraft - The Reanimator
Mary Shelley - The Transformation

3. The Archetypes

Gustav Meyrink - The Golem
Michael Hervey - Death Of A Professor
H. A. Highstone - Frankenstein - Unlimited
Theodore Sturgeon - It
William Tenn - Wednesday's Child
Arthur C. Clarke - Dial 'F' For Frankenstein
Robert Bloch - The Plot Is The Thing
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. - Fortitude
Brian Aldiss - Summertime Was Nearly Over
Harry Harrison - The True Story Of Frankenstein


Almost invariably you can rely on a Peter Haining collection to deliver at least one priceless gem, but when I nabbed a copy of The Frankenstein Collection the find wasn't immediately apparent. Could be that, after The Rivals Of Frankenstein, The Mammoth Book Of Frankenstein, The Ultimate Frankenstein & Co., I was completely Frankenstein-ed out and that dull cover sure didn't help. Underwhelming much.

And then, under the entry for John L. Balderstone & William Hurlbut we find the following at the foot of the introduction and I'm all smiles again!
Such was the interest in The Bride of Frankenstein when it was released, that a special adaptation was written for the English magazine, Pearson Weekly (a stable-mate of Pearson's Magazine) by a prolific British horror story writer named Guy Preston who was familiar to many readers for a pair of highly acclaimed blood-curdlers, The Inn (1932) and The Way He Died (1933). The publication coincided with the opening of the picture in London September on 28, 1935 and represented another new development in history of motion pictures - the use of the 'tie-in' novelisation to attract audiences - as well as one more landmark in the Frankenstein legend.

Guy Preston! By my reckoning one of only five authors to contribute stories to both the legendary Creeps and Not At Night series' and who's The Inn is an all-time pulp horror masterpiece! I thought he was one of the many whose work never saw publication(bar reprints) outside of those books. If Haining's correct with his attribution of authorship, Preston's on top Gothic form with this one.

Gradually, rumours began to spread through the surrounding villages. There were whispers of ghouls at work in the churchyards. Body snatchers. Vampires.
A frightened peasant ran screaming to the mayor with a fantastic story of a newly opened tomb, and a dead man who sat propped inside a coach while a cloaked figure with glaring eyes urged on his horses as though all the devils in Hell were after him ..... Night after night came tales of a monstrous shape that stalked the lanes; a giant frame reeking of the tomb, whose rags but ill-concealed the grave-worms crawling in their folds. It moved and gibbered – so said report – for it could not speak. Its yellow skin scarcely covered muscles and arteries beneath, and its dun-hued watery eyes bleared sullen murder.

That's just the second page!

Definitely more to follow on this one!

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