Hot Best Seller

The Very Witching Time of Night: Dark Alleys of Classic Horror Cinema

Availability: Ready to download

The book covers unusual and often surprising areas of horror film history: (1) The harrowingly tragic life of Dracula's leading lady, Helen Chandler, as intimately remembered by her sister-in-law. (2) John Barrymore's 1931 horror vehicles Svengali and The Mad Genius, and their rejection by the public. (3) The disastrous shooting of 1933's Murders in the Zoo, perhaps the mo The book covers unusual and often surprising areas of horror film history: (1) The harrowingly tragic life of Dracula's leading lady, Helen Chandler, as intimately remembered by her sister-in-law. (2) John Barrymore's 1931 horror vehicles Svengali and The Mad Genius, and their rejection by the public. (3) The disastrous shooting of 1933's Murders in the Zoo, perhaps the most racy of all Pre-Code horror films. (4) A candid interview with the son of legendary horror star Lionel Atwill. (5) The censorship battles of One More River, as waged by Frankenstein director James Whale. (6) The adventures (and misadventures) of Boris Karloff as a star at Warner Bros. (7) The stage and screen versions of the horror/comedy Arsenic and Old Lace. (8) Production diaries of the horror noirs Cat People and The Curse of the Cat People. (9) Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man revisited. (10) Horror propaganda: The production of Hitler's Madman. (11) Horror star John Carradine and the rise and fall of his Shakespearean Repertory Company. (12) The Shock Theatre television phenomenon. And (13) A Tribute to Carl Laemmle, Jr., producer of the original Universal horror classics, including an interview with his lady friend of almost 40 years.


Compare

The book covers unusual and often surprising areas of horror film history: (1) The harrowingly tragic life of Dracula's leading lady, Helen Chandler, as intimately remembered by her sister-in-law. (2) John Barrymore's 1931 horror vehicles Svengali and The Mad Genius, and their rejection by the public. (3) The disastrous shooting of 1933's Murders in the Zoo, perhaps the mo The book covers unusual and often surprising areas of horror film history: (1) The harrowingly tragic life of Dracula's leading lady, Helen Chandler, as intimately remembered by her sister-in-law. (2) John Barrymore's 1931 horror vehicles Svengali and The Mad Genius, and their rejection by the public. (3) The disastrous shooting of 1933's Murders in the Zoo, perhaps the most racy of all Pre-Code horror films. (4) A candid interview with the son of legendary horror star Lionel Atwill. (5) The censorship battles of One More River, as waged by Frankenstein director James Whale. (6) The adventures (and misadventures) of Boris Karloff as a star at Warner Bros. (7) The stage and screen versions of the horror/comedy Arsenic and Old Lace. (8) Production diaries of the horror noirs Cat People and The Curse of the Cat People. (9) Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man revisited. (10) Horror propaganda: The production of Hitler's Madman. (11) Horror star John Carradine and the rise and fall of his Shakespearean Repertory Company. (12) The Shock Theatre television phenomenon. And (13) A Tribute to Carl Laemmle, Jr., producer of the original Universal horror classics, including an interview with his lady friend of almost 40 years.

30 review for The Very Witching Time of Night: Dark Alleys of Classic Horror Cinema

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jim Dooley

    This is a very good book for the fan of classic horror who wants to learn more about what went on behind the screen. The writer has a style that can be pedantic at times for those whose interest is causal or focused on the more sensational aspects. However, the level of detail for the "student" is appreciated. The book excels in a number of stories, especially the life of Helen Chandler, John Barrymore making SVENGALI and THE MAD GENIUS, the delightfully nasty MURDERS IN THE ZOO, and the revisio This is a very good book for the fan of classic horror who wants to learn more about what went on behind the screen. The writer has a style that can be pedantic at times for those whose interest is causal or focused on the more sensational aspects. However, the level of detail for the "student" is appreciated. The book excels in a number of stories, especially the life of Helen Chandler, John Barrymore making SVENGALI and THE MAD GENIUS, the delightfully nasty MURDERS IN THE ZOO, and the revisions to FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN. All of these gave me new insight and appreciation for the films...and an intense desire to return to my collection for some re-viewings. There are also some mis-steps. Since the focus is supposed to be on the "Dark Alleys of Classic Horror Cinema," there are some inclusions that didn't make any sense to me. The chapter on James Whale would seem a natural, but the focus is on a non-horror movie, ONE MORE RIVER. The details of HITLER'S MADMAN were interesting, yet the film wouldn't be in anyone's list of "classic horror cinema." And while the life of John Carradine is appropriate, the writer's attention is on the launching of his Shakespearean troop to escape the films he felt were beneath him. All of these were good stories. I just didn't feel that they belonged here. As a side note, the chapter on CAT PEOPLE sent me back to the film this weekend, and the insights from the writer made my delight for this film grow. That is one of the strong benefits of the book. It provides new perspectives that heighten involvement. A return viewing of FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN won't be far behind!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Scott H. Colfer

    Too Short I found this to be a fascinating read and would love to see a sequel. I fascinating look at classic horror films and the people who made them.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Henry Berry

    Mank brings to this work the view of an insider combined with the enthusiasm of a fan. He's acted in more than 100 stage productions, and he is a freelance writer. The book is not a history or chronology of horror films, nor a tightly focused scholarly study on an aspect of the field. Though seemingly sprawling with its countless specifics and anecdotes that "cried out for...attention," overall this book by Mank with its "tangential" point of view gives a coherent, revealing look at the history Mank brings to this work the view of an insider combined with the enthusiasm of a fan. He's acted in more than 100 stage productions, and he is a freelance writer. The book is not a history or chronology of horror films, nor a tightly focused scholarly study on an aspect of the field. Though seemingly sprawling with its countless specifics and anecdotes that "cried out for...attention," overall this book by Mank with its "tangential" point of view gives a coherent, revealing look at the history and popularity of horror films. Previous books of his have looked at the various Frankenstein films over the decades and the eight movies the two major horror films stars Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff made together. As in this work, Mank is not interested in film criticism per se nor so much in film history or cultural study; although these subjects are inevitably bound into his interests. Mostly, he's interested in the personalities, circumstances, working relationships, and varied activities including colorful and notable incidents entailed in production of horror films. One would not think there was so much of this apparently ancillary material for a work of this length. However, as the reader soon finds, Mank has an inexhaustible, kaleidoscopic knowledge of horror-film lore. This knowledge is imparted mostly by attention to the personalities and biographies of central figures and also many secondary and satellite ones and to different horror films that are both representative and unique in what they tell about the field. On nearly every page, the reader is taken to different individuals and different subjects as if doors opening up onto the inner parts of a film and all that went into making it; which particulars are also telling about the enterprise of moviemaking. It all might seem like a collection of trivia except for Mank's attraction to horror films keeping all that he is imparting in order and irrelevant. The reader comes away with an incomparable understanding of horror films and the field of films.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    This review was originally written for the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. "The Very Witching Time of Night: Dark Alleys of Classic Horror Cinema" is an interesting read. It details collected stories from the Golden Age of Hollywood Horror. "WItching Time" starts with a chapter about Helen Chandler, the leading lady from "Dracula" and wanders through descriptions of many, many other classic films, such as Dracula's sequels, "Frankenstein" and it's sequels, Barrymore's "Svengali" and "The Ma This review was originally written for the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. "The Very Witching Time of Night: Dark Alleys of Classic Horror Cinema" is an interesting read. It details collected stories from the Golden Age of Hollywood Horror. "WItching Time" starts with a chapter about Helen Chandler, the leading lady from "Dracula" and wanders through descriptions of many, many other classic films, such as Dracula's sequels, "Frankenstein" and it's sequels, Barrymore's "Svengali" and "The Mad Genius" and The Cat People movies. It builds slowly at first, but as you move through the book, you start to recognize names and personalities, making connections to create a more informed overview. The book is chock full of fascinating stories and reflections of both the movies and the people that produced them. The stories range from the comedic to the tragic, although it's fair to say that number of the brilliant individuals in this book suffered as much from their own larger-than-life personalities as outside circumstances. It makes a terrible sense, though, that sometimes it takes such enormous personalities to bring such enormous characters to life. The book both builds on and suffers from repetition. Some of it is necessary. Mank reminds you of details from previous chapters, which helps provide unity to the overall work. Some of it could have been edited down. Overall, I enjoyed the book very much. First, it made me want to go and watch all the movies described therein, and since Halloween is next month, it's ideal timing. Second, I found myself recommending this book to someone I know and offering to lend it to her.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erika

    A detailed look at the people, stories, dramas and scandals that went on behind the scenes during the early days of Hollywood 19s horror movie scene. The amount of research that had to have gone into this book is amazing and meticulous. Details about behind the scenes deals, salaries, negotiations production schedules, advertising plans, scandals big and small, minor seeming personality details, quirks, luck and timing, things I never would have thought of to even look for. Some of this can sort A detailed look at the people, stories, dramas and scandals that went on behind the scenes during the early days of Hollywood 19s horror movie scene. The amount of research that had to have gone into this book is amazing and meticulous. Details about behind the scenes deals, salaries, negotiations production schedules, advertising plans, scandals big and small, minor seeming personality details, quirks, luck and timing, things I never would have thought of to even look for. Some of this can sort of take away a bit of the magic and fantasy but it makes you appreciate the work that went into the films all the more. I do feel this book is meant way more for the serious Hollywood and movie fan, some of the details listed above were to much for me and slowed down my reading. I was far more interested in the personal stories and historic tidbits then I was who made what for how many weeks of filming but I'm sure details like this would be catnip for the serious movie buff. I had heard of most of the movies listed, most of the stars listed but there were details and histories here that I had no idea existed and the author did a wonderful job of making these people and their stories come alive. There is a lot here serious film fans but casual fans will find much to enjoy and learn from this is well, just be prepared to either slog through a lot of minutia or skip to the juicy bits.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Donald Luther

    The first thing any potential reader of this book has to realise is, it really isn't a finished book. It's like finding an author's notes for a book: shoeboxes full of notecards, legal tablets with partial drafts, transcripts of telephone conversations, and even a few primary sources. All of this makes it a bit difficult to get through. While much of the material is interesting, and there's some new information about some subjects that have an intrinsic curiosity, there's not much here that grabs The first thing any potential reader of this book has to realise is, it really isn't a finished book. It's like finding an author's notes for a book: shoeboxes full of notecards, legal tablets with partial drafts, transcripts of telephone conversations, and even a few primary sources. All of this makes it a bit difficult to get through. While much of the material is interesting, and there's some new information about some subjects that have an intrinsic curiosity, there's not much here that grabs the reader, that offers some new insights, that says "you need to know more about this!'

  7. 5 out of 5

    Arthur O'dell

    The book initially appears to be a somewhat haphazard collection of articles and stories about various classic horror films of the 1930's and 40's, but Mank's love of the subject (and his meticulous research) transform it into a series of fascinating observations about forgotten films, forgotten personalities, and forgotten history. Any student of the Hollywood studio era, let alone classic horror movies should read this book. The book initially appears to be a somewhat haphazard collection of articles and stories about various classic horror films of the 1930's and 40's, but Mank's love of the subject (and his meticulous research) transform it into a series of fascinating observations about forgotten films, forgotten personalities, and forgotten history. Any student of the Hollywood studio era, let alone classic horror movies should read this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Healy-Yang

    Mank's book is an exciting behind the scenes look at the stories and people behind some of the classic horror films of the 1930s-40s. This book is exciting and informative for its thoroughly researched revelations on studio politics, personal scandals and triumphs, and descriptions of the technical and artistic genius creating images and effects of horror in the films discussed. Mank's book is an exciting behind the scenes look at the stories and people behind some of the classic horror films of the 1930s-40s. This book is exciting and informative for its thoroughly researched revelations on studio politics, personal scandals and triumphs, and descriptions of the technical and artistic genius creating images and effects of horror in the films discussed.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Fun book about the back stories surrounding a few horror films of the 30's. You can never tell how much of these stories are true but it's sort of interesting. Fun book about the back stories surrounding a few horror films of the 30's. You can never tell how much of these stories are true but it's sort of interesting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Parker Benchley

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Fowler

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gary Sassaman

  13. 5 out of 5

    Spenser

  14. 4 out of 5

    Richard Sala

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Gorda

  16. 5 out of 5

    William Ferry

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey A. Reese

  18. 4 out of 5

    Larry Carney

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  21. 4 out of 5

    Thinking Horror

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rickster Locuson

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alan Beggerow

  24. 4 out of 5

    Keith

  25. 4 out of 5

    Blair Rhodes

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sally Stark

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael Sparrow

  28. 4 out of 5

    Armance

  29. 5 out of 5

    R Campbell

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jay Kulpa

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...