- Library Binding: 408 pages
- Publisher: McFarland (September 29, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786494182
- ISBN-13: 978-0786494187
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 9 x 11.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #980,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Creature Chronicles: Exploring the Black Lagoon Trilogy
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"Each movie is examined through an exhaustive account of production history, interviews, biographies, and photographs...packed with first-hand narratives from producers, directors, costume designers, and actors." --Library Journal
"Plumbed with submarine depth and paleontological detail...by the prolific Tom Weaver, who is to monster movies what Jacques Cousteau was to the sea: a tireless investigator, researcher and champion...a definitive work of scholarship...a true trilogy." --The Commercial Appeal
About the Author
Tom Weaver lives in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and has been interviewing moviemakers since the early 1980s. The New York Times called him one of the leading scholars in the horror field and USA Today has described him as the king of the monster hunters. Classic Images called him "the best interviewer we have today." He is a frequent contributor to numerous film magazines and has been featured in the prestigious Best American Movie Writing. A frequent DVD audio commentator, he is the author of numerous reference and other nonfiction books about American popular culture.
David Schecter has been a writer for more than three decades, and also produces soundtrack recordings for his Monstrous Movie Music CD label, which operates out of Chatsworth, California. He lives in Chatsworth.
Steve Kronenberg is the managing editor of Noir City, the e-magazine published quarterly by the Film Noir Foundation. He lives in Boca Raton, Florida.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is divided into two parts, with the first part containing lengthy sections on each film. In these chapters, the authors organize their research from pre-production and scriptwriting, to casting, to the process of filming itself, ending each section with a description of distribution and the process of providing the films’ musical accompaniment. They draw upon extensive primary sources such as production notes, photographs from the sets, copies of original scripts, and, best of all, numerous interviews with persons involved in the making of the three movies: writers, directors, actors, stuntmen, production assistants, and even the musical staff from Universal-International. In an odd parallel, the chapter on each film is slightly shorter than the one that preceded it, seemingly mirroring the declining production quality of Creature from the Black Lagoon’s sequels.
In the second section, Weaver, Schecter, and Kronenberg chronicle and examine knock-off films or those inspired by the Black Lagoon trilogy, document the attempts to remake the film from the 1980s through the end of the last decade, feature longer interviews, and discuss a well-loved fanzine about the film series. Though this section of the book is the weakest (containing, for the most part, marginalia and trivia), it’s still packed with interesting information sure to entertain the reader who, by this point, is thoroughly educated about the films themselves.
Weaver, Schecter, and Kronenberg’s The Creature Chronicles not only examines these particular films, but also chronicles the film industry in the early 1950s (and the authors make it clear that Universal-International was an industry). There are a few puns and phrases that appear to be in-jokes among the monster movie fan community, but they don’t interrupt the book’s flow and are part of its charm. Perhaps the best thing about this book was the opportunity it affords the reader to reexamine a classic science fiction/horror film series and better appreciate the extensive work involved its creation and how it fits into the pantheon of Universal’s monsters.
I’m at a disadvantage in reviewing “The Creature Chronicles” because I haven’t read any of his other works. The only other “Creature” book in my library is the very rare “Features from the Black Lagoon,” which the publisher withdrew almost immediately after it hit the market because its author allegedly plagiarized so much from Tom Weaver’s work.
With that said, it’s hard for me to imagine that “The Creature Chronicles” is not the definitive book about the Creature films.
I’m astounded at the breadth and depth of its coverage, its excellent quality and high production values, its impressive collection of black-&-white photographs and its sheer readability. Mr. Weaver’s encyclopedic knowledge and expertise on Creature minutia shine through on every page, even as his breezy, engaging writing style draws the reader into the worlds of the Creature with effortless ease. Well-organized and exceptionally comprehensive, and with tasteful red accents that set off headings, photos and footnotes from the main text, this book is clearly a labor of love. I’m sure it will serve as the go-to source for Creature information for many years, if not forever.
If you’re just casually acquainted with the Creature, the amount of information that Mr. Weaver presents in “The Creature Chronicles” may overwhelm you. My own level of interest lies between casual and obsessive. I’m not by any means a fanboy, but I enjoyed the Creature films and still watch my DVDs of them from time to time. If you have more than a passing interest in the Gill Man, and if you want to learn everything you can imagine about what went into the making of these three classic Universal Studios monster films from the mid-1950s, you can’t do better than to pick up a copy of “The Creature Chronicles.”