BOOK REVIEW: INTERVIEWS TOO SHOCKING TO PRINT / AUTHOR: JUSTIN HUMPHREYS / PUBLISHER: BEAR MANOR MEDIA / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
The title might be a little misleading – there’s little in the way of shocking in the interviews contained in this book – but this is a great book of interviews, articles and essays nonetheless. Humphreys has collected together these interviews with often obscure directors, writers, visual f/x artists, and production designers over a period of years, and the result is an affectionate glimpse into the fringes of Hollywood, and some of the lesser-known, often forgotten and/or overlooked talent residing there.
In his eloquent introduction, Humphreys explains the reasons for his eclectic choice of interviewees: “their work always connected deeply with me, and a filmmaker’s popularity seldom had anything to do with whether or not I interviewed them. I have never felt, for example, that Chuck Griffith ever got his due.” Griffith was the writer, director and actor best known for his work with Roger Corman (amongst other things he wrote Death Race 2000), but was involved in many more. Likewise, the directors Herbert L. Strock and Gene Fowler Jr. are rarely – if ever – interviewed, but directed the B movie classics I Was a Teenage Werewolf and Blood of Dracula, and their insights into the making of these films are fascinating. Humphreys intersperses transcribed interviews with interview-based articles, and he is erudite interviewer and journalist; the interviews and articles are witty, fun and often quite poignant. In writing about the late actor William Finley (Sisters, Phantom of the Paradise, The Funhouse), Humphreys describes writing a eulogy for Finley’s funeral in 2012: “Bill was like a ten-year-old kid who loved celebrating Halloween 365 days a year.” For Finley and the other interviewees in the book who have since sadly passed on in the intervening years – including the make-up artist William Tuttle – there could scarcely be a better tribute to them than this book.
Not all the interviewees in the book are as obscure as Finley, Strock and Fowler; within its pages there are the likes of director Robert Wise, production designer Jack Fisk, and writer Alan Ball. All give interesting and revealing anecdotes to Humphreys, and the book is generously illustrated with scores of rare photographs, many supplied by the interviewees themselves.
Belying its title, Interviews Too Shocking To Print is a charming love letter to monster movies of old, and an essential collection for cult film fans. Highly recommended.
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