If you're a horror addict, this book is indispensable to your library
Customer: Bill George
-- February, 24, 2012
During the 1950s, theaters were inundated with horror films routinely produced on a shoestring. British producer Richard Gordon, a self-professed film nostalgist, circumvented budget constrictions by occasionally casting genre icons (Boris Karloff, Peter Cushing) in his movies. He also courted controversy by appending graphic violence to FIEND WITHOUT A FACE, his 1958 cult classic. Unfortunately, Gordon's early films (CORRIDORS OF BLOOD, FIRST MAN INTO SPACE, DEVIL DOLL, THE HAUNTED STRANGLER) have been exiled to trivia competitions simply because they were shot in b&w (anathema to modern technology, they appear antiquated to today's core demographic). Happily, Tom Weaver has rescued Gordon's legacy by informally addressing the producer with poignant questions; though in his mid-80s when he convened with the author, Gordon's recollections are crystal-clear (he passed away in 2011, the same year that the book was published). Especially significant is Gordon's insight into marketing (see the book's illustrated content, i.e. the NY street ballyhoo negotiated to launch HAUNTED STRANGLER and FIEND WITHOUT A FACE. This sort of panache has been subsequently forfeited in corporate Hollywood; today's B-horrors are dropped into Redbox dispensers). Gordon's compromises with U.S. and British censors are also documented (nudity and violence--especially manifest in TOWER OF EVIL, INSEMINOID and HORROR HOSPITAL--were further intensified to compete with Hammer's bosoms/bogeymen commerce). The producer deports himself as an unpretentious, very affable raconteur (not a dull story in the book's 238-pages); the horror community should be indebted to Weaver for his preservation of Gordon's (historically cogent) memories. Very highly recommended.