- This new review of a Brad Steiger book written in 1965 was
posted in June 2008 on a website devoted to the Frankenstein
- The Internet continues to amaze. Judging by the last
couple of paragraphs, the reviewer has followed Brad's career ever since...
- Perhaps he's just a glum ghoul, but I always thought
of the creature roughly caricatured here by M. Seltzer as a Frankenstein
movie-inspired monster, with that tall billboard forehead and overhanging
- Published by Merit/Camerarts out of Chicago in 1965,
this paperback original by Brad Steiger is a quick and fairly entertaining
read, striding briskly through the history of horror films, cleaving largely
to the familiar titles and the name stars like Karloff and Lugosi. Steiger
displayed good knowledge and genuine affection for his subject, but there
was nothing really new in here for genre fans, all of the material having
already been mined by the then popular monster magazine.
- In his introduction, Steiger staked the high ground,
promising "no cute captions, no poisonous puns, no deprecating delivery
of information". Otherwise Master Movie Monsters actually
reads like an issue of an average monster mag, with short-short chapters
(one, on vampire films, runs barely two pages), and photo sections - a
little murky on the cheap newsprint interiors - making up half of the book's
122 pages. Arguments made are typical of the writings on horror films in
the sixties, promoting monster movies as serious cinema and necessary catharsis,
and decrying a "plague" of increasingly cheap sequels, culminating
in "the final indignity of mockery and laughter when they (the
Master Monsters) were forced to meet Abbott and Costello". That
was the conventional wisdom of the times, and it would be a few more
years before the qualities of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein would
come to be appreciated by serious critics.
- Teen-age monsters are similarly snubbed, and The
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) is singled out as a memorable
but "minor" Master Monster, with the fifties belatedly redeemed
with the "much-awaited Renaissance" signaled by Hammer Films
and AIP's Poe films.
- Master Movie Monsters was author Brad Steiger's
second book, and a second pass at the subject following his Monsters,
Maidens & Mayhem a Pictorial History of Hollywood Film Monsters (also
1965). Steiger went on to an amazingly prolific career as a book writer,
with 166 titles - currently - to his name. He specialized in the paranormal,
cryptozoology, UFO research, also writing true crime and even biographies.
His bio of Rudolph Valentino served as the basis for the 1977 film directed
by Ken Russell. Steiger's most recent titles deal with spirituality.
- Brad Steiger's
- Steiger's biography,
with a complete list of published works.