With typical bad timing, I’ve started a blog the week that a storm broke the windows in my flat and cracked the roof, so all the insightful and erudite posts I had planned have temporarily fallen by the wayside.
So in the meantime, I thought I’d indulge my passion for that almost forgotten art, the movie novelization, or tie-in. Yeah, they still do these occasionally (last year’s Godzilla and The Force Awakens being the more high-profile examples), but back in the 70s and 80s, it seems that anything was fair game.
Here we have Kingdom of the Spiders and Grizzly, two low-budget but thoroughly entertaining examples of the nature-runs-amok subgenre so prevalent in the 70s. The cover for Kingdom, or “THE SENSATIONAL FILM THAT TURNS HORRIFIC NIGHTMARE INTO FLESH-CREEPING FACT”, features the classic movie poster, depicting a massively constipated William Shatner, and hordes of townsfolk bizarrely running towards the approaching arachnids. Grizzly goes for a pretty basic image of a bear waving and beckoning the reader to come closer and read the book, but tells a major lie by claiming that the film was a ‘MAJOR MOTION PICTURE”. Majorly awesome, perhaps, but not a high profile release. Probably.
Next up, the perils of writing a novel based on a musical. The Wicker Man actually survives the transition well, and for fans of the movie it contains a few scenes that were presumably among those that were shot and then lost. I’ve not read Phantom of the Paradise, partly because anytime I pick it up to read it, the cover urges me to “SEE THE FANTASTIC MOVIE!”, so I go and do that instead. Is that good or bad marketing? Who knows.
In the “novelizations no one asked for file” sit these little beauties. “THE LUCKY ONES WERE ALREADY DEAD” screams the cover of The Hills Have Eyes part 2, and the cynical among you would argue that that refers to the cast members from the original who did not have to appear in the sequel. But not me, no sir. I actually enjoyed part 2 quite a bit, though not even the idea of reading the legendary dog flashback scene is enough to make me want to pick this up anytime soon. Maybe by the time I get a round to it, I’ll be lucky and already dead. Child’s Play, like the original Hills Have Eyes, did not warrant a tie-in novel. But also like Hills, we were lucky(?) enough to be blessed with novelizations of the sequels.
Last one for now is a real rarity. A Japanese novelization of Michele Soavi’s berserk and brilliant Italian slasher movie Stagefright aka Aquarius aka Delirium aka Bloody Bird. Phew! It’s tiny, pocket sized and packed with b&w stills.
Of course, it’s also in Japanese. But isn’t it lovely?
Hopefully next time, my roof will be fixed and Boris the pug will be on hand to help out with the photos.