Archive for Movie Novelizations

AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: Night of the Living Dead (1974) novelization and a shambling mob of other zombie novels

Posted in books, Genres, horror, monsters, movies, pop culture, zombies with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2013 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

There are a lot of zombie novels out there. I can’t read and review them all, nor would I really want to. However, there are a few I read that I’ll quickly review for you in an opportunity to get them out there so you have other zombie books to read now that AWESOME-tober-fest 2013 has got you hot for zombies again.

Let’s begin with the novelization of the original Romero classic, Night of the Living Dead.

NOTLD novel
George Romero’s 1966 film, Night of the Living Dead, is a classic in the horror genre. While attending college in Pittsburgh in the 60s, George Romero and John Russo developed a horror script. They pitched it to a film company, received funding and created one of the most important genre-defining pictures of all time.  This book is the novelization of that script.  Surprisingly, the book wasn’t released until 1974, a clear six years after the release of the movie.  Which means that it wasn’t based on an original draft of the script, it was just a page one copy of the movie.  I didn’t realize that before I started reading.  So, if you’ve seen the movie, you’ve essentially read the book.  Except, the movie is actually better.  The book is slow and a LOT less interesting than the movie.  I don’t know if it’s the way Russo writes or what, but I had a hard time staying awake while reading plus there’s not really any new story information you get for reading.  You may as well just watch the movie again.

ROTLD novel
In 1978, after Russo and Romero went their separate ways, Russo decided to write a sequel to Night of the Living Dead.  He called it Return of the Living Dead.  This book has nothing to do with the 1985 horror comedy of the same name other than it inspired that movie.  Russo wanted this book to be the movie and wrote it as a screenplay, but Dan O’Bannon disliked Russo’s story and did a page 1 rewrite.  This book was Russo’s attempt to continue the story they began in Night of the Living Dead.  It’s boring, uninspired and will immediately put you into a reading coma before you finish the first page.  It’s not even worth reading as a novelty.  As a matter of fact, just skip both of these books.  Watch the original 1966 Night of the Living Dead movie and the 1985 Return of the Living Dead movie.  They are much more enjoyable and you’ll get more out of it.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith – This is sort of the grandaddy of the outlandish classic fiction category that has become all the rage the last few years.  Stuff like Android Karenina, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter all began with this book.  All the zombie/ninja embellishments were written by Seth Grahame-Smith who also wrote Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, that Johnny Depp Dark Shadows movie and he helped create and write the MTV TV show The Hard Times of RJ Berger.  I read this book several years ago.  It’s actually very entertaining.  I thought that the structure would be 1 chapter of Austen/1 chapter of Smith.  However, it isn’t.  Smith manages to deftly combine zombies and ninjas into every aspect of this story.  The lines have been blurred and it’s really hard to see where one story ends and the other begins.  It’s actually quite amazing how well this book works.  I can’t speak for the other quirky classic makeovers I mentioned, but at the very least, this deserves a read.  I think you’ll like it.  FYI, a prequel was written by another author called Dawn of the Dreadfuls, but I haven’t read it.

Continue reading

About these ads

AWESOME-tober-fest 2013: Return of the Living Dead movie novelization (1985)

Posted in books, monsters, movies, zombies with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2013 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Today I’m going to talk about one of my favorite things to do on this blog, movie novelizations.  If you read this blog, you know I love movie novelizations.  Especially movies from the 70s and 80s.  Today, I’m going to discuss the novelization of the zombie classic, Return of the Living Dead.

Return of the Living Dead novel

The history of this movie and its novelization is interesting in and of itself. I discussed it a bit when I reviewed the actual Return of the Living Dead movie. Essentially, John Russo who helped Romero write the original Night of the Living Dead movie, also wrote the novelization AND in 1977 a direct sequel book, Return of the Living Dead.  When Romero and Russo parted ways, they split the rights.  Romero went on to create his “of the Dead” movies and Russo went on to adapt his Living Dead sequel novel.  However, when the book was optioned, the studio had Dan O’Bannon rewrite the book as a script with a heavy comedic undertones to the horror.  That was how the movie was made.  John Russo would go on to write the novelization of O’Bannon’s script.

Like I said, interesting.  I’ve always enjoyed this movie so I thought I’d track down the novelization to review.  Because of the convoluted back story, it’s tough to actually track this down.  Many times the original Russo 1971 Return of the Living Dead book is mistaken for the 1985 movie novelization.  You have to make sure you are getting the right book.

But I got it, and I’ve read it.  How does it stack up to the movie?  By the way, in the below review I’m assuming you’ve seen the movie.

As a novelization, it’s not that bad.  Most of the scenes of the movie are there.  The character names are a little different in so far as the punker group of Freddy’s friends are concerned.  The major story details are the same, however, there are a few changes for the book.  It’s a lot more clear in the book that Freddy used to be a major punker.  He and his girlfriend Tina had walked in on their friend Sunshine after he overdosed on dope and the sight, in effect, scared them straight.  Freddy got a job and was determined not to end up the same as Sunshine.  This event is referenced throughout the book, but is only quickly mentioned in the movie.

The major difference in the novelization is a subplot of Russian spies who worked for the government back in the late 60s during the original events of Night of the Living Dead.  They are the reason the barrels of Trioxin are mistakenly sent to the Uneeda Medical Supply warehouse.  The spies sent some of the barrels there to hide them away from the government so the chemical could be released again later.  The spies then leave the country and head back to Russia.  We have several scenes of them in this book drinking and discussing their actions spying for the government and talking about the missing Trioxin barrels.

More differences involve the character Legs (aka Trash), played by Linnea Quigley in the movie.  During her graveyard striptease (which exists in the movie), in the book it turns into actual sex with her boyfriend, Suicide.  And even though, in the movie, Trash returns as a zombie for a short appearance at the end, Legs, in the book, stays dead and we don’t see her again.

We get a bit more fleshing out of certain characters like the mortuary owner, Ernie.  A little bit more with the paramedics that come to pick up Freddy and Frank, and even some back story to a few of the zombies that go on the rampage.  Two of which were being “dressed” by Ernie in the beginning.  They were a couple who died in a car wreck.  As a matter of fact, the zombie that is interrogated at the end of the movie, in the book, is actually the female side of this dead couple from the beginning.

All in all, this was actually a pretty good novelization.  I enjoyed reading it and seeing a little bit more than what we get out of the movie.


2012 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Superman Week 2013: BB Hiller’s Superman IV novelization (1987)

Posted in books, comic books, movies, Superman with tags , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2013 by Paxton

Superman Week

So the new Superman movie, Man of Steel, made it’s theatrical debut on Friday.  To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to do another Superman Week.  I convinced CT over at Nerd Lunch and Robert over at To The Escape Hatch to join along.  So leap in a single bound over to those wonderful blogs and see what Superman content they are offering up this week.

Continuing Superman Week 2013 with another look at one of the Superman novelizations.  Here’s a review of the Superman IV movie novelization from 1987.  And yes, I’m pretty sure I hate this weird cover.

Supes 4 novel

The book is written by B.B. Hiller who is a veteran of movie novelizations. This guy has penned novelizations for Little Monsters (the one with Howie Mandell and Fred Savage), Ghostbusters II, Big, ALL of the 90s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies and ALL of the Karate Kid movies.  So this guy has been around…so to speak.  Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at these things, Hiller didn’t adapt any of the other Superman movies.  Only this one.  The last one.  And, ostensibly, the worst one. However, to be perfectly honest, I’m a fan of this last Superman movie.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely f**king terrible but I love it anyway.  And I wanted to see if the book makes an attempt at explaining ANY of the crazy ass insanity that goes down in the movie.  A quick check of the page count (144) tells me that, no, this probably won’t explain a g**damn thing.  But I decided to try it anyway.

The verdict?  It’s actually not that bad.  Somehow, the ridiculous story on the page comes across better than it does on the big screen.  However, there are several added scenes and subplots that help explain some of the ridiculousness.  Just so you know, about 45 minutes of footage was removed from Superman IV including an entire subplot about a first failed attempt by Lex to create a Nuclear Man.

Continue reading

Superman Week 2013: William Kotzwinkle’s Superman III novelization (1983)

Posted in books, movies, pop culture, Superman with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2013 by Paxton

Superman Week
It’s Day 3 of Superman Week.  I convinced CT over at Nerd Lunch and Robert over at To The Escape Hatch to join along.  So leap in a single bound over to those wonderful blogs and see what Superman content they are offering up this week.

For Superman Week in 2006 (“celebrating” Superman Returns), I reviewed all of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. So, for the release of this new Superman movie, I thought I’d go back and read the novelizations to two of those same movies. There weren’t novelizations of the first two Reeve Superman movies most likely due to a clause in screenwriter Mario Puzo’s contract that forbade anyone other than him from writing the novelizations. But for whatever reason, Puzo never got around to writing the books.  So Warner Books only released novelizations for the second two movies.  I looked forward to reading these novelizations because I love the two Superman sequels in a retarded sort of way and I wanted to see if there was any more awesomely insane weirdness in the books.

So, today, let’s take a look at the novelization to Superman III.

Written by William Kotzwinkle, the guy who also wrote the ET novelization.  The overall structure of the movie story is intact in the novelization.  The biggest difference with the book is that Kotzwinkle adds a sh*t ton of internal dialogue by nearly every character, but mostly Superman/Clark and Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor).  Many of the internal monologues are weird and in the case of Superman/Clark, completely against character.  A lot of Clark’s internalized conversations are him saying how he could fly someone he doesn’t like to the moon and leave them there.  You know, stuff like, “If only you knew I was Superman…” or “If I could, I would <fill in the blank with some super powered vengeance>”.  I’m fairly certain these are supposed to setup the evil Superman later in the book, but I wasn’t buying it.  It was against everything you think about Clark and Superman.

And as for Gus Gorman.  Ugh.  I didn’t really like Pryor’s character in the movie.  Pryor did good with what he was given, but the character was dumb.  This guy who can’t hold a steady job discovers that he’s some idiot savant when it comes to “computers”.  What?  And it’s even worse in the book.  It’s made more clear in the novel that Gus literally has no idea what he’s doing or how he’s doing it.  It’s like all of his computer skills are some sort of super power he can only barely control.  Pryor makes the character somewhat likeable, but you don’t have that luxury in the novel.  And it’s painfully clear that Pryor ad-libbed many of his lines in the movie because in the book, the dialogue for Gus might be some of the worst written crap I’ve ever read.  Filled with weird late 70s-early 80s colloquialisms that make no sense.  Pryor must have agreed because in the movie, he gets the same information across but in a better way.

As for the villains, the characters of Ross and Vera Webster and Lorelei aren’t much better in this novel than they were in the movie.  Their back stories are fleshed out a little.  We get that Vera is fiercely protective of her brother and craves his approval in everything she does.  There are even a few flashbacks to their childhood.  Lorelei, is still mostly one dimensional.  A poor man’s Miss Tessmacher.  She’s pretty and the book expands a bit more on the fact that Lorelei is actually smarter than everyone thinks she is.  But it’s honestly to no further end.

Unfortunately, there’s no extra story to the evil Superman stuff.  I was hoping we’d get more scenes, but we really don’t.  Although, the book does say that Superman’s suit turns fully black and his eyes glow green.  THAT is pretty awesome and I wish the movie would have taken it the whole way.

evil_superman_superfriends
I’m Superman. BITCHES.

The book’s climax is essentially the same.  Not really much to add.  No further explanation about how Gus came up with the Super Computer idea.  It’s essentially taken from drawings on napkins to fully realized in the cave.  Who developed the AI software the computer runs on?  Gus?  He acts like he’d never seen the computer before when he walks into the cave after riding the donkey down the mountain.  Don’t you think he would have supervised the entire construction?  When the computer shoots the “correct” Kryptonite ray at Supes, how does the computer synthesize the .052% of unknown in the chemical makeup?  It’s UNKNOWN to humans.  Stuff like this needed a better explanation.

I was very disappointed with this book.  I love movie novelizations and it’s rare that I don’t actually enjoy one.  Especially if I like the movie.  I didn’t like this and I can’t recommend it.

If you want a peak into the Superman III movie that could have been, take a glance at this unused Ilya Salkind story treatment.  Prepare for appearances by Supergirl, Brainiac and Mr Mxzyptlk.  It’s weird, but I think it could have been spectacular.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: The Nightmares on Elm Street movie novelizations

Posted in A Nightmare on Elm Street, books, Freddy Krueger, Halloween, holiday, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2012 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Welcome to Week 3 of AWESOME-tober-fest 2012.  Week 1 was Psycho Week in which I looked at Norman Bates.  Week 2 was Friday the 13th Week in which I looked at Jason Voorhees.  This week is Nightmare on Elm Street Week.  So be prepared for some Freddy Krueger goodness all week.

In the late 80s St Martins published two collected volumes of novelizations to the first 5 Nightmare on Elm Street films. Both volumes were under The Nightmares on Elm Street banner.

The first volume was published in 1987 and called The Nightmares on Elm Street Parts 1, 2, 3: The Continuing Story. It was written by Jeffery Cooper.

Nightmares on Elm St 1, 2, 3 Nightmares on Elm Street parts 4 and 5

Here is a review of the separate stories.

A Nightmare on Elm Street – This is very similar to the movie. You get a few more insights into Nancy’s thinking. However, honestly, I think this version is a bit abridged. It’s just over 70 pages. It seems like it should be longer. I feel like there were a few dream sequences that were cut from this novel. I could be wrong because it’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie. I know some of the Freddy-Nancy dream chases were a bit different in this book. But it felt short.  But it was good nonetheless.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge – This particular movie gets so much crap from Nightmare fans. I know I hardly ever think about it. It’s not bad, it’s just not good either. The book is similar to the movie. Interesting at best. It continues the idea that Freddy feeds on fear, which is really dropped by the movie version of Part 3. I also feel like this is an abridged version. Again, it’s about 70 pages. I’m not sure what, if anything, was cut because I haven’t watched this movie in years, but nothing really jumped out at me as being different.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors – This one was the most fascinating. The book is apparently based on an early version of the script so the characters are mostly the same, but the story is wildly different. Especially the aspects of the Dream Warriors’ powers. Kirsten is mainly unchanged with her powers and character. Kincaid is a large, streetwise black man, but his dream power is flight instead of super strength like in the movie. Joey, who was mute for the majority of the movie but only part of this book, was the one that was super strong. Taryn, instead of being a punked out rocker chick with no powers actually breathed fire in the book (so much more awesome). Jennifer could turn invisible or phase out and the kid in the wheelchair, Will, that loved fantasy role playing and had wizard like powers was actually stupidly named Laredo in the book and not in a wheelchair at all. But he had the same wizard powers. Also, gone is the subplot involving Nancy’s dad and the burying of Freddy’s bones. Kirsten still tries to kill herself in the opening and gets sent to the hospital. There she meets the other Dream Warriors. Nancy shows up similar to in the movie. Nancy and Neil Guiness (Gordon in the movie) have a romantic attachment/affair. We find out about Freddy’s origin not from Amanda Krueger’s ghost but from plain and simple detective work by Nancy (which I like better). Joey isn’t seduced by the nurse but an old high school crush. The big dream fight where Freddy kills some of the Warriors is a lot bigger and more grandiose. Laredo (Will) actually has a pretty awesome shape-shifting fight with Freddy where he turns into a fire breathing dragon. If filmed, it would have been pretty epic as opposed to the lame fight that’s in the movie. Pretty much everyone dies. Kincaid, Taryn, Jennifer, Joey and Laredo (Will). Oh and Nancy dies killing Freddy. Kirsten and Neil are the only ones left. Somehow, Kirsten keeps Nancy alive in the Dream World and Neil visits her every night when he sleeps. It’s weird, honestly. The book ends similar to the movie in that Kirsten’s model Elm Street house has a light turn on. As if Freddy’s not dead.  In many ways, I liked this story better.  Especially the end battle between the Dream Warriors and Freddy.  Plus, the themes from the first movie about Freddy feeding on fear and to defeat him you must take away that fear are more prevalent.  However, with the novel, you don’t get the Dokken theme song, but I guess you can play that while you read the book.

At the end of the book there’s a short story that supposedly tells the “origin” of Freddy Krueger.  It’s not really considered canon by anyone involved with the movies.  And that’s fine because it’s not very good.

Continue reading

AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives by Simon Hawke (1986)

Posted in books, Halloween, holiday, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2012 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2012 banner

Today, we are going to look at a novelization for one of my favorite entries in the Friday the 13th franchise, Part VI: Jason Lives.

F13 VI: jason lives

This novelization was written by Simon Hawke and published during the original release of the movie in 1986. Hawke would go on to write novelizations of the first three Friday the 13th movies in 1987 and 1988.  Hawke’s novelization of Part III would be the second novelization for that film.  I reviewed both novelizations in yesterday’s article.  And I don’t know about you, but that book cover is AWFUL.  I don’t know why they didn’t just use the awesome poster for the movie.

Jason Lives poster
This would have been a much better book cover.

This particular novelization, like many of the other F13 and Nightmare books, has become very hard to find.  Again, I want to thank my friend Jason for loaning me them for the purpose of this review.

This novelization is a very good adaptation of the movie.  Not much new in so far as cut scenes.  However, what Hawke does here that he would carry over into his novelizations of Parts I-III is to go into the heads of not only the main characters, but also Jason himself.  There are many passages in which Jason questions his undying existence and wonders about his constant blood lust.  It makes the story more interesting and adds an extra depth to the mute Jason.  These inner monologues are used to fill in backstories for many of the other characters as well like Sheriff Garris and Tommy Jarvis.

Continue reading

AWESOME-tober-fest 2012: Review of two Friday the 13th Part 3 novelizations

Posted in books, Halloween, holiday, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2012 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

And so continues our second week of AWESOME-tober-fest 2012.  Last week was Norman Bates/Psycho week.  This week is Jason Vorhees/Friday the 13th week.  Let’s start off this week with TWO novelizations written for the same movie; Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3-D.

Yes, there were two novelizations written for Friday the 13th Part 3.  The first was by Michael Avallone and published the same year as the movie’s release in 1982. This particular novelization was the first published for any of the Jason movies.

F13 Pt 3

Right away, the cover for this novelization is pretty awesome.  First of all, the hockey mask isn’t the standard Jason mask.  However, Jason didn’t actually get the mask until Part 3, so the Jason hockey mask was not the iconic symbol when this book was published that it is today.  Also, I love that they included the 3-D moniker in the title.  Like the book is actually written in 3-D (IT SHOULD TOTALLY BE WRITTEN IN 3-D!!!).

For most of the book, the story sticks pretty close to the movie.  A few deviations here and there, nothing really to mention.  However, that is, until the end.  This novelization is interesting in that it features an alternate ending from the one used in the actual movie.  In this ending, Chris, who is in the canoe in the lake, hears her boyfriend’s voice back at the lake house.  She gets out of the lake and runs back up to the house and opens the door only to have Jason decapitate her.  This is vastly different than the “it was all a nightmare” ending that was actually used.

This novelization would go out of print and become fairly hard to find until Paramount decided to publish Friday the 13th novelizations for the release of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,595 other followers