Friday, April 1, 2016

'THE GHOUL' -- FROM BOOK TO FILM

 

Thought lost for over 3 decades, Gaumont British's 1933 release, THE GHOUL, was discovered in Czechoslovakia  by horror film historian William K. Everson in 1969. It was in nearly unwatchable shape, but he nevertheless made a 16mm transfer of it and showed it as a special event in various film societies and other gatherings.

A near perfect nitrate negative was discovered in a forgotton Shepperton Studios vault in the 1980's, and in 2003 MGM/UA purchased it to release a restored DVD.

But, before all this, THE GHOUL had its inception as a novel. It was written by Frank King (1892-1958), a pseudonym for Clive Conrad, and was first published in 1928. King wrote many mystery novels published in the UK from 1927 until the end of his life. Titles like, "Terror at Straups House", "Death of a Cloven Hoof", and "The House of Sleep", promised thrilling tales for readers. THE GHOUL was reprinted at least twice, but nevertheless, is rare to find and thus demands collector's prices.

Boris Karloff was fresh off from his role as Im-ho-tep in THE MUMMY (Universal 1932) when he travelled to his native England for the first time in years to film THE GHOUL with Ernest Thesiger (who he would meet again two years later back in the States in BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN). The film enjoyed success in the UK, but less so in the US.

The novel is a straight mystery. Developed by five writers, including King himself, the film treatment added elements of mysticism and horror that the novel did not contain. This was surely done as an attempt to capitalize on Karloff's fame as a horror actor.

Offered here are examples of the book as well as posters, stills and lobby cards from the film.


Vintage bookstore dealer description and - gulp! - price.













 

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