Archive for Movie Novelizations

Krush Groove the novel now exists. FINALLY.

Posted in Beastie Boys, books, movies, music, nostalgia, pop culture, rap, Run-DMC with tags , , , , , , on September 21, 2016 by Paxton


In the latest episode of the Cult Film Club podcast, we are talking about one of my favorite movies, Krush Groove, from 1985. It’s a fun discussion and a great look back at essentially the genesis of my interest in rap, which was around early 1985 when the first Fat Boys album and Run-DMC’s second album, King of Rock, was released.

Later that year, in October 1985, the movie Krush Groove was released.  I did a small review of the movie back in 2010 for the 25th anniversary.  Check out episode #36 of the Cult Film Club podcast for my more in depth thoughts on the movie.

What I really want to talk about is, why wasn’t there a Krush Groove novelization?  The obvious answer is that it was a movie focusing on the music industry and it may have been hard to translate that since there are at least 3 music video sized interludes in the movie.  But that shouldn’t have stopped them.  I just finished reading the novelization to Jason X and that book expands the sparse 1 hour and 20 minute movie into a 400+ page novel.  You telling me something couldn’t be done with Krush Groove?

So, to correct this rather EGREGIOUS oversight, I created my own Krush Groove novelization based mostly on the design of the soundtrack album cover.

Krush Groove novelization

I think it goes without saying that I would have read the sh*t out of this book.

Movie novelizations that should exist

Posted in books, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , on August 22, 2016 by Paxton


If you’ve read this blog or my Twitter feed for any length of time, then you know I’m a huge fan of movie novelizations.  As a matter of fact, several years ago I started a feature where I read and reviewed a few of the more obscure movie novelizations like Clue: The Movie, the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie as well as a bunch of old rare horror novelizations like Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th VI and Return of the Living Dead.  I’d like to eventually continue that feature but right now, I want to talk about movie novelizations that never got made.  That should have been made.

It seems almost every genre picture from the mid 80s to the mid 90s received a novelization.  It was a simple way for studios to extend someone’s movie going experience outside the theater.  Plus, in the age before the ubiquity of home video, it allowed you to revisit your favorite movies over and over.  I loved novelizations and I read them fervently growing up.  I still do, but to a lesser extent.

However, as with anything else, there are gaping holes in what movies did and didn’t get novelized.  Maybe the movie studios didn’t have a lot of faith in the movie’s success.  Or were deciding not to spend the money on an author to translate the script.  Whatever the reason, like I said, there are movie novelizations that I wish existed that don’t.

One of the first big novelizations I’ve already talked about wishing existed were both of the Young Guns movies.  My buddy Shawn and I wanted them to exist so much that we created our own.  These were previously displayed when Shawn and I collaborated on Young Guns vintage trading cards.

YG novelization YG2 novelization

Awesome, right? Well, that’s what I want to do, start creating my own custom movie novelization covers for movies that I wish had novelizations.  This feature is going to reveal a totally eclectic set of covers, but I think you’ll enjoy it.

Another set of movie novelizations I created and previously revealed on Twitter involved the first two Christopher Reeve Superman movies. The reason those novelizations don’t exist (novelizations for both Part III and Part IV do exist) is because of Mario Puzo, the author of The Godfather.  Puzo wrote the original screenplays for both of those first Superman movies and as a clause in his contract, no one could write the novelizations of those screenplays except him.  And he never wrote them.  Kind of a dick move, Mario.  So all I have are these fake covers of what could have been.

Mario Puzo Superman novels

These covers were created from two Superman novels written by Elliot Maggin that were released because there were no Puzo novelizations.

Okay, so those are some covers I’ve previously shared. How about two brand new covers? Let’s start off this Fantasy Movie Novelization Library with two of my favorite 80s genre movies. Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.  I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but I made these junior novelizations which are lighter in page count and are taller and more square in shape.  You can mostly tell by the Scholastic logo I put in the bottom left.

Breakin' novels

I love the idea of having these two break dancing centric movies get junior novelizations because I imagine the books would be like 120 pages long and breezy fun to read.

So that’s the gist of this feature.  I’ll make a few novelization covers for movies that don’t have them and post them right here.  It’s sort of a fun sister project to my Vintage Comic Throwdowns feature.

Hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoy making them.

Keep reading those movies, my friends.

More Young Guns vintage trading cards!

Posted in 80s, Billy the Kid, books, movies, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , on July 8, 2015 by Paxton

A month or so ago Shawn Robare and I unveiled our custom set of vintage Young Guns trading cards. I showed you the even numbered cards in the set (Billy, Dick, Charlie, Tunstall, etc) and Shawn showed the odd numbered cards (Doc, Chavez, Dirty Steve, Murphy, etc). Also, if you guys were paying attention, we both revealed some variant/chase cards over on Cult Film Club which featured alternate image cards as well as custom book covers for the movie novelizations Shawn and I so wish existed.  Click the cover below to see these alternate card images plus see the other Young Guns novelization cover.

YG2 novelization

As such huge fans of the Young Guns movies, Shawn and I couldn’t leave well enough alone.  I mean, if we do an entire custom made vintage set of trading cards for the first Young Guns movie and then can’t do one for the sequel, then what are Shawn and I doing here?  Not our jobs, I’ll tell you that much.

So, we dug in and made a second set of cards for the sequel and now it’s time to see those cards.  Like last time, I’m going to show you half the set here.  If you want to complete the full set of Young Guns II cards, hop on over to Branded in the 80s and see Shawn reveal the second half of the set.

First off, lets check out the wax paper wrappers.  Here’s the main wrapper with Billy.

YG2 wax wrapper

And as is sometimes done, we made a variant wax wrapper for the set featuring Pat.  Shawn even has a rare third wrapper variant over in his article featuring Arkansas Dave.  Check it out.

YG2 wax wrapper 2

Now, let’s take a look at the odd numbered cards in this set. Like I said, jump on over to Branded in the 80s to see the even numbered cards in the set. You can click any of these images to see them BIGGER on Flickr.






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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.