Friday, April 5, 2013


Was the little French magazine, CINEMA 57 really the first monster movie magazine? Or, does the title really go to FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND? How about AFTER HOURS #4?

What if another publication entered into the debate?

Not really a magazine, per se, and not a periodical in the generally-accepted sense, I nevertheless submit that the SHOCK! exhibitor book be considered along with the short list of others. The release of this oversized publication by Screen Gems in advance of it's 52-film syndicated package of vintage Universal horror and mystery movies was -- for us Monsterologists anyway -- a monumental historical event.

To a generation of future Monster Kids, the world would never be the same. Instead of the Cold War and cars with fins, we had fog-shrouded graveyards and scary faces clothed in chiaroscuro. The SHOCK! movie package made its way to every corner of the country and soon after, monsters attacked major cities from L.A. to New York.

My research shows that the Screen Gems exhibitor book was released in August, 1957, just one month, perhaps even days after CINEMA 57. Each film represented included a publicity still from the move, a synopsis, a list of the cast and running time, and recommended on-air promo spots.

So, does the Screen Gems exhibitor book qualify as a "monster magazine"? I say, if you include CINEMA 57 and AFTER HOURS as prototypes, why not SHOCK!?

The examples shown below are from a copy that was auctioned off last fall. It sold for $717.

"Shock! Screen Gems Presents Universal Horror (Screen Gems, 1957). Exhibitor Book (Multiple Pages, 11" X 14.5"). Horror.
Rare, wonderful large exhibitor book produced by Screen Gems, Inc. advertising the first television release of 52 classic Universal horror movies, such as Frankenstein (1932), Dracula(1931), The Mummy (1932), The Wolf Man (1941), The Invisible Man (1933), Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), and many others. The book includes an image from each film, its synopsis, news releases and exhibition ideas for its potential broadcast. The Screen Gems campaign was so strong that in 1958 they released Son of Shock!, featuring their television releases of both Universal and Columbia titles. An unrestored exhibitor book that displays signs of use. May include light edge or cover wear, small corner bumps, wear around the plastic comb binding, very minor paper loss, or unobtrusive stains. There is a pop-up of Frankenstein's monster on the inside front cover, which still works, although it has a small spot of paper lift on its right side and some glue stains around its base. Please see full-color, enlargeable image below for more details. Fine/Very Fine."

1 comment:

Dr. Theda said...

Cool and informative post... Great job and well researched...


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