Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Horror Movie and Book Trivia

1)      H.P. Lovecraft was a voluminous correspondent, churning out 87,500 letters to friends, according to one estimate.  He also was in the habit of predating them by 200 years.  Additionally, he and author protégé Robert Bloch “killed” each other in stories.  Bloch offed a thinly veiled version of Lovecraft in his 1935 story “Shambler From the Stars” (with H.P.’s written permission).  Lovecraft returned the favor by slaughtering “Robert Blake” in his 1936 story “The Haunter of the Dark.”
2)      It’s not uncommon for authors to have pen names, but Dean Koontz took this practice to an extreme.  He used at least 11 pen names—David Axton, Leonard Chris, Brian Coffey, Deanna Dwyer, K.R. Dwyer, John Hill, Leigh Nichols, Anthony North, Richard Paige, Owen West, and Aaron Wolfe.  Many of these books were eventually republished under his real name.
3)      In the original screenplay for George Romero’s classic Dawn of the Dead, Peter (Ken Foree) actually does shoot himself at the end, and Frannie (Gaylen Ross) also commits suicide by sticking her head in the whirling helicopter blades.  A dummy head for Frannie was prepared, but apparently the scenes were never shot.
4)      The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z author Max Brooks is actually the son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft.
5)      The theme song to the army of rats movie Ben (sequel to Willard) was performed within the film by Lee Montgomery and over the end credits by Michael Jackson.  Jackson’s version was a #1 pop hit single, and won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song, and was nominated for an Oscar (it lost to a song from The Poseidon Adventure).
6)      In the early days of Hollywood, it was common for studios to shoot separate foreign language version of movies at the same time, reusing the same costumes, sets, etc.  The Spanish version of 1931’s Dracula is one of the few to survive.  Many critics contend that it was arguably better than Tod Browning’s English version.  The Spanish version crew had the advantage of shooting after the English version, at night, and after viewing the English version’s dailies.  As such they were able to correct mistakes and use better camera angles, lighting, etc.  The Spanish version was directed by George Melford, and starred Carlos Villiarias.
7)      Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has been filmed 123 times to date.
8)      The narrator for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was John Larroquette, of TV’s  “Night Court" and “The John Larroquette Show” fame.
9)      An American Werewolf in London is one of the very few movies to use a real     telephone number (516-472-3402) and not a “555” one when David (David Naughton) calls his parents in Long Island, NY.
10)  Stephen King revealed in his nonfiction book On Writing that due to his heavy drinking at the time, he basically doesn’t remember writing 1981’s Cujo.

(Precious Monsters I Love Horror/Paranormal Novella Blog Hop Code posted below)



  1. Very interesting facts. I never knew all of them. Especially the number 2, 3, and 10.

  2. I've read a lot of Stephen King. He's supposed to be one of my favorite writers, but he's not. I do love the book ON WRITING, however.

    Shirley Jackson, who King admired, is my favorite.

  3. Fascinating facts--thanks for sharing!

  4. Zach, Jolie, and Leigh--thanks for stopping by, and I appreciate your kind words. Jolie--I liked the two Shirley Jackson works I read ("The Haunting of Hill House" and "The Lottery"). Perhaps I should try some of her other ones.

  5. Very interesting facts Paul. I was not aware of #3. Thanks for the information.

    K.N. Porter

  6. K.N.--Thanks for dropping by. Re #3, I'm glad that Romero ditched the double-suicide ending. I thought Peter and especially Frannie had a stronger will to survive.

  7. Paul, you MUST read We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson. It's incredibly good and creepy.

  8. I knew fact #10 about King. He's come up with truly creepy ideas, but I don't care much for his stories because he doesn't develop the characters deeply enough to suit me. But I very much enjoyed the concise autobiographical portion of "On Writing." He said that he should have known better than to drink so much, but it took him a long time to figure it out. Having a bad habit that you just can't conquer is a human foible I can relate to (not drinking for me, though.)

  9. Jolie--thanks for the tip. I read a description Jackson's last, and it does sound good--I'll order up a copy. Vala--evidently a lot of folks agree with your opinion of King. Many people who aren't horror fans (or King fans) like "On Writing." Glad he was eventually able to beat his addictions.