I’m proud to announce that my first book, due for publication next May, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.co.uk (but not yet Amazon US). It’s an entry in Auteur Publishing’s Devil’s Advocates series, a line of books discussing classics of horror cinema, with each volume covering a specific film – if you’ve come across the BFI’s film guides, you’ll know the general idea. Past contributors to the series include the likes of I. Q. Hunter, Calum Waddell and the late James Marriott, and I’m honoured to be joining their ranks.
I was offered the opportunity of writing the first Devil’s Advocate to cover a Universal classic, and I decided to go with The Mummy. Why that film, rather than Dracula or Frankenstein? Well, in large part because mummies – as a horror theme – have had considerably less written about them than other monsters such as vampires, werewolves or zombies. I was interested in placing mummy movies in their original context as a reflection of weird fiction which, in turn, reflected nineteenth- and early-twentieth century interest in Egyptology – and what better case study than the original 1932 The Mummy?
Like I say in the book, this humble Boris Karloff vehicle has a hundred years of weird fiction behind it, and a hundred years of mummy movies in front of it; when you look at the history of the mummy as a horror motif, Karloff is standing slap-bang n the middle of it.
The prospect of writing an entire book about a single film was intimidating at first, but in practice, The Mummy turned out to be a nexus for a good number of topics. As the book progressed, I found myself touching upon Arthur Conan Doyle, H. P. Lovecraft, Amazing Stories, 1950s horror comics, Doctor Who, Walt Disney, German expressionist cinema, British kids eating yogurt, Dungeons and Dragons, turn-of-the-century spiritualism, the Suez crisis, H. Rider Haggard, William Shakespeare, the usage of mummies as painting materials, Napoleon, stage adaptations of Dracula, the family of Tutankhamun, belief in reincarnation, Daft Punk and Count Cagliostro. Phew!
So, if you’re currently rubbing your chin and thinking “now that’s a range of topics I want to see covered in a book”, hop over to Amazon.co.uk and pre-order your copy of Devil’s Advocates: The Mummy!