Friday, May 26, 2017

James Bond in Find Your Fate

The James Bond Find Your Fate books were published in the U.S. and Canada in 1985. Marketed to young readers, the books used a similar format to the popular Choose Your Own Adventure series, which were essentially game books with multiple story threads and possible endings.


Parachute Press, a Manhattan-based book packaging company established by Jane Stine and Joan Waricha, created the Find Your Fate series for the Random House imprint Ballantine Books. The first ten books focused on Indiana Jones, but for #11-14 Danjaq commissioned Random House to feature Bond as a tie-in to A VIEW TO A KILL.

The books were outlined and edited by Stine and Waricha and authored by R.L. Stine (Jane’s husband, who penned the first book, Win, Place, or Die), Barbara & Scott Siegel (Strike It Deadly), Jean M. Favors (Programmed for Danger), and Steven Otfinoski (Barracuda Run).

Random House hired Cliff Spohn to design the covers and interior illustrations. Spohn got the job after his painting of Roger Moore, eventually used as the cover of Strike It Deadly, met the late actor’s approval.


The Projector’s Philip Poggiali interviewed Spohn, Otfinoski, and Jane Stine for an article on the books that appeared in MI6 Confidential #36. To order a copy of the issue, go here.

Cliff Spohn's artwork, including the Bond cover paintings, can be purchased here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

“THEY STILL HAVE PRISONERS”: A REVIEW OF INVASION

by Philip Poggiali

Late at night a rural English hospital receives an unusual patient who has been struck down by an automobile. The patient is rubber-suited, has an unidentifiable blood type, and claims to have crash-landed on Earth while pursuing an escaped prisoner from the planet Lystria. An oppressive heat settles over the grounds, the phone lines are cut off, and a physician, Dr. Mike Vernon (Edward Judd), theorizes that the high temperature has been caused by a force field surrounding the hospital, created to keep the patient’s unseen convict trapped. Vernon and a hospital administrator bicker over whether to leave, and when the administrator attempts to do so he crashes his car into an invisible barrier and is killed instantly.

INVASION, a 1965 British production directed by Alan Bridges, is a sci-fi thriller about confinement, literally and figuratively. Even before the hospital has been besieged by extraterrestrials, the humans seem trapped, whether in disabled or deteriorating physical conditions (the film opens with the image of a child in an iron lung), or in occupations and relationships that leave them unsatisfied – from the cynical, overworked doctors to the bored army soldiers to the philandering husband who delivers the injured alien to the hospital. An invisible force field becomes a metaphor for the frustrations of its central characters.

To emphasize this sense of confinement, Bridges draws attention to the cinematic frame. In one unusually lengthy shot, he foregrounds a minor military character so that the actor seems to become part of the audience, both character and viewer observing two other people as they inspect the Lystrian crash site.



The film’s self-consciousness extends to frequent shots of actors looking or staring into the camera.







Later, after the hospital administrator smashes into the force field and is ejected through his car windshield, Vernon, colleague Dr. Claire Harland (Valerie Gearon), and Major Muncaster (Barrie Ingham) examine the wreckage. We see the smoking remains of the car and its driver lying dead on the hood, but there are no special effects or mimed movements from the actors to illustrate a physical barrier. Instead, the actors look up, down, to the side and directly at the camera, as if indicating the edges of the frame.



The filmmakers were presumably limited in how they might visualize a force field from a budgetary standpoint, but the result is far more interesting than any effect: It is as if the cinema screen has acted as the imprisoning structure.

Veteran television writer Robert Holmes receives credit for INVASION's story. As recounted in Robert Holmes: A Life in Words by Richard Molesworth, Holmes concocted the idea for INVASION with Dr. Phyllis Spreadbury (later Phyllis Mortimer, and misidentified in Molesworth’s book as Phyllis Gibbons), a medical advisor on the series Emergency Ward 10, a popular hospital-based soap opera for which Holmes contributed over 40 teleplays. Holmes brought the idea to producer Jack Greenwood of struggling Merton Park Studios but, not wanting a television writer involved, Greenwood hired Roger Marshall, a friend of Holmes, to expand the treatment into a screenplay. At his friend’s insistence, Marshall wrote the script in collaboration with Spreadbury, who went uncredited.

Although Holmes had a successful career over the next few decades, particularly as a writer and script editor on Doctor Who, he never worked on another feature film and remained in the confines of television. He later recycled story elements and dialogue from INVASION for Spearhead from Space, the only Doctor Who serial to be shot entirely on (16mm) film and the first produced in color.



Ironically, INVASION had only a brief theatrical run overseas and was sold to AIP-TV in the States, where it aired late at night with its beautiful widescreen visuals cropped.

In a surprise reveal, the Lystrian patient turns out to be the escaped prisoner; he stabs Muncaster, takes Dr. Harland hostage, and attempts to flee Earth. The Lystrian Leader (Yoko Tani) has arrived at the hospital to re-capture the criminal and leave with her two female guards. The Leader is ultimately benevolent and expresses remorse over whatever calamities have befallen the humans because of the Lystrians’ arrival: “You wonder why a civilization like ours can still produce destructive people. We are ashamed.”

Intriguingly, the extraterrestrial characters are played by East Asian actors, including “guest star” Tani and, in the role of the Lystrian patient, Eric Young (later Ric Young of THE LAST EMPEROR and THE TRANSPORTER). The filmmakers seem to have hired Chinese and Japanese actors interchangeably for roles intended to reflect western fears of communist subversion (a sci-fi cliche), which is seemingly a deliberate choice considering the film’s treatment of race.

As it turns out, any trepidations from the characters regarding the “other” are mostly unwarranted: The Lystrians are a peaceful species and have no plans of conquering Earth. Moreover, there are indications of social progression beyond even the humans’ capabilities. For one thing, Lystrian females seem to be holding most leadership positions, and the patient finds it unusual that nurses take orders from a male doctor.

Dr. Harland isn’t so convinced of Lystrian superiority: “They still have prisoners,” she notes cynically as a door swings back at her. Curiously, Bridges repeats the image of a door swinging back at actress Tsai Chin, who portrays Nurse Lin.



Does INVASION offer something of a commentary on racial stereotypes in the entertainment industry? Chin toiled in many thankless roles in British film and television, and is probably best known to genre fans as Fu Manchu’s daughter and James Bond’s sexual conquest in the opening of YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (“Darling, I give you very best duck”). She is the only Asian actor in the film who is not one of the aliens, but frequently seen alongside supervising doctor and Caucasian hero Dr. Vernon.

As Chin recalls in her autobiography Daughter of Shanghai:

For Asian or black actors, there are particular disadvantages, now as then. […] Stereotypes … are one-dimensional characters, demanding little creative energy or artistic truth from those who play them. […] As actors, the danger for us is that we begin to perform according to the stereotype. […] Reality becomes divorced from truth and we lose our collective and individual identity, and with it our self-respect. (143-144)



Although not stereotypical, Nurse Lin is, on the page, merely a functional character and, at times, representative of the superficial roles available to Asian actors in the 1960s. But there seems to be something else going on with her. In the early scenes, her lack of individuality is reflected in Eric Young’s Lystrian, who is at first perceived to have no distinguishing characteristics beyond his racial features (“His condition is more important than his identity,” Vernon says.)

In one scene Lin is asked her opinion on the origin of the patient, as if she would automatically know simply because of her race.

VERNON: He’s not Chinese.
SISTER EVANS: How do you know?
VERNON: Well …
SISTER EVANS: Is he, nurse?
NURSE LIN: No, I don’t think so.
SISTER EVANS: Japanese?
NURSE LIN: No, I don’t think –
VERNON: It doesn’t matter. We’ll worry about his nationality later.

Although played in a subtle way, Nurse Lin is visibly uncomfortable, as if she were reacting to the insensitivity of the questions.



When the Lystrian Leader arrives to locate her prisoner, she hypnotizes Lin into an unconscious state and then assumes the nurse’s role. The hospital employees, seeing only a female with East Asian features, cannot tell the difference and are taken in by the ruse. In this scene Bridges (later known for his indictments of the British class system in THE HIRELING and THE SHOOTING PARTY) expands on the theme of confinement, as Lin is seemingly “trapped” and unable to be recognized as an individual beyond her racial characteristics.

A thoughtful and often challenging piece of science fiction, INVASION is one of the more underrated genre films of the 1960s. It is currently available as a Region 2 DVD from Network.

Robert Holmes: A Life in Words was published by Telos in 2013.

Daughter of Shanghai was originally published by St. Martin’s Press in 1989 and is out of print.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Soon to be a Major Motion Picture?



The Adulteress
by William Maidment
Apollo Books, 1971

In the late 1960s, American International Pictures attempted to produce a film adaptation of Philip Roth's novel Letting Go. That didn't end happily, so they tried again with a few more literary purchases, including Public Parts and Private Places by Robin Cook, Venus Examined by Robert Kyle, and Implosion by D.F. Jones. Two of the novels they acquired -- Peter Saxon's The Disoriented Man and Angus Hall's The Late Boy Wonder -- became the films SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN and UP IN THE CELLAR, respectively. The others were never produced, though screenplays were commissioned for all of them (Richard Matheson wrote the adaptation of Implosion). AIP must have purchased William Maidment's The Adulteress in galley form, because I've found no indication that it was published prior to this movie tie-in paperback from 1971.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

UPDATED: Donald E. Westlake's Bond treatments

Issue #32 of MI6 Confidential, the excellent UK magazine focusing on James Bond, includes an article by the Projector's very own Philip Poggiali on novelist Donald E. Westlake's story treatments for the eighteenth Bond film (eventually produced as TOMORROW NEVER DIES). Although not available in stores, the issue can be ordered here.


The article also covers Westlake's 1998 unpublished novel Fall of the City, which was based on the first BOND 18 treatment.

UPDATE (3/7/17): Hard Case Crime has announced the publication of Fall of the City, now titled Forever and a Death (one of Westlake's suggested titles for the Bond film). It's set for release in June 2017. We hope that our article put the idea in Charles Ardai's head!


UPDATE (9/5/17): Clément Feutry of the obsessive fansite Commander James Bond (CJB) has digested Phil's MI6 Confidential article and the Forever and a Death afterword by Jeff Kleeman (formerly Vice President of Production at MGM/UA) into a tidy and surprisingly coherent French-language article.

Another of Westlake's suggested titles for the Bond film was Dragonsteeth. Oddly enough, a "lost" novel by Michael Crichton titled Dragon Teeth was published by HarperCollins last May. Westlake and Crichton were Edgar Award winners for Best Novel in consecutive years (1967 and '68) and had several of their early works brought back into print by Hard Case Crime. Both authors died in 2008.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

ADAPT OR DIE: MALZBERG'S PHASE IV

by Philip Nathaniel Poggiali


The sci-fi thriller PHASE IV, graphic designer Saul Bass’s only feature film as director, had a chilly reception from audiences in 1974 and fell into obscurity for many years. Thanks to home video, an appearance on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and recent screenings that restored Bass’s original ending, the film has gained something of a cult following.

Award-winning sci-fi author Barry N. Malzberg penned a novelization of PHASE IV for Pocket Books. Malzberg called the Mayo Simon screenplay “wretched” (The Business of Science Fiction 62) and claims to have written the book in four or five days (60), yet his adaptation seems unhurried and is a strong example of developing thinly drawn characters and motivations for another medium. It differs significantly from the film in the way it presents the evolutionary climax and its build-up almost exclusively from the humans’ perspective, detailing the events as a psychological suspense tale quite unlike the clinical approach of the film.


At a research outpost in the Arizona desert, senior scientist Hubbs (Nigel Davenport) and cryptology specialist Lesko (Michael Murphy) investigate the death of livestock and various insect species at a nearby, and abandoned, housing development. Hubbs traces the deaths to an aggressive strain of ants that are being controlled by an extraterrestrial intelligence emanating from a cluster of dirt monoliths. Lesko attempts to understand the ants by breaking down their actions and communication patterns but Hubbs, impatient for a reaction from the insects, destroys the dirt towers.

Mr. and Mrs. Eldridge and granddaughter Kendra (Lynne Frederick) live nearby and have stubbornly refused to leave despite a government order. One night the ants attack Kendra's horse and eat it alive, and the Eldridges flee their home, seeking shelter at Hubbs's outpost. When Hubbs sprays pesticide as a defense against the insects, the Eldridges are killed and Kendra ends up with the two scientists. Meanwhile, the ants adapt to Hubbs’s insecticide and lay siege to the outpost, cutting off power and leaving the humans helpless. Eventually, only Lesko remains to locate the ant queen and exterminate her. He must descend into the earth and confront Kendra, who may be the queen in human form.


The release version sees Kendra, presumably under the influence of the ants, leading Lesko to his fate in an abrupt, bizarre, and downbeat conclusion. Bass and Simon’s original climax was a montage of hallucinatory visuals that depicted “Phase IV” as a melding of humanity and insect into the next stage of existence. This ending was shortened before the film's release, but the full version has been screened recently and the finale can be seen on YouTube. Because of the uplifting music score and Bass’s poetic, visionary images, the original ending seems optimistic about the human race: It’s implied that “Phase IV” is a natural adaptation of humans and insects to ensure survival.

Bass and Simon develop their theme by allotting more-or-less equal screen time for humans and ants, this shared dramatic perspective acting as a metaphor for the climactic fusion of species. The scenes between Hubbs, Lesko and Kendra alternate with footage of real insects photographed by Ken Middleham. The two perspectives complement each other, so that we see both Hubbs’s attempt to eradicate the ants and the insects' calculated defense, which involves a worker ant carrying a morsel of pesticide to its queen to absorb and adapt to the poison and hatch new eggs. Bass and Middleham also capture a suspenseful confrontation between two ants and a praying mantis that leads to the destruction of the air conditioners and the humans’ increasing madness.


In the novelization, this structure is largely ignored. Although Malzberg focuses on the ants mostly in opening and concluding sections, the bulk of his text alternates third-person narrative favoring Lesko -- and, in a few brief scenes, Kendra -- with Lesko's first-person diary entries. Malzberg explains that he designed the adaptation as such to keep from “running out of story [by] page 23," (62) but the effect is one of heightened tension, so that even in the absence of an immediate threat the novel’s tone becomes unnerving. Unlike the film, it’s not always clear if the ants are attacking the outpost and, as Lesko’s psychological state slowly deteriorates, a reader may wonder if the diary entries are meant to be a delusion (Malzberg has used an unreliable narrator several times, most notably in his 1972 novel Beyond Apollo). The author’s contempt for the source material can be glimpsed at times, such as Lesko comparing his situation to “one of those idiotic obligatory scenes at the end of a dramatic second act when characters talk to one another ponderously” (Malzberg 93), but even then humor and self-consciousness bring a certain plausibility.

Not surprisingly, considering how much of the plot is told from his perspective, Lesko emerges a more fully developed character. In the novel he comes off as lonely, depressed and sexually frustrated, with concerns that in two decades’ time he will be a clinical neurotic like Hubbs. It’s difficult not to sympathize with Lesko when Hubbs is initially characterized as “demoniac,” “possessed,” and “psychopathic,” the unpleasant next phase of Lesko’s personality if the younger scientist continues down a path of antisocial behavior.


As the novel progresses, Lesko’s reactions to his superior range from admiration to disgust, an interesting contradiction that the film never approaches. Hubbs is more likely to act impulsively, and when he suddenly destroys the towers to spur the insects to action, Lesko vocally objects but secretly admires Hubbs for having a “certain force and courage that had led him to perform precisely that act that I would have if I had had the authority … and the imagination” (47). In the film and novel Lesko is clearly upset when Hubbs's pesticide kills the Eldridges and the family's employee, Clete, but his anger at Hubbs weakens as both men struggle to stay alive against the insect siege.

Kendra, too, becomes a stronger character. In the film she is little more than beautiful and naive, and never seems to care that Hubbs and Lesko were responsible for her grandparents' deaths. Malzberg, however, writes Kendra as perceptive and intelligent. Shortly after arriving at the outpost, she assumes that both Hubbs and Lesko are "insane" and humors them in order to stay alive. Her innocence is basically an act, and yet, she finds herself drawn to Lesko and sees some integrity in him. In one scene she correctly deduces the relationship between the scientists and challenges Lesko:


She held that curious, intense look on me.

“You’re afraid of him, aren’t you?” she said.

“Not exactly. But I am his assistant.”

“All right,” she said. “You’re not afraid of him.”

There was nothing else to say. She still looked at me levelly; she would have held that position indefinitely
(87).

Malzberg's finale is even more grotesque and disturbing than the film's revised ending. The author was obviously limited in how he could depict “Phase IV” without benefit of film images and music, but as various characters are mutated into human/ant hybrids the descriptions are potent and horrifying. Characters are “running desperately” and screaming before their agonizing transformation into “crawling thing[s]” identified using names combined into a Frankenstein patchwork (HUBBSELDRIDGEMILDREDCLETE; LESKOKENDRA).

Strangely enough, sections from the Phase IV novelization found their way into Bass's film. As Malzberg recalls in The Business of Science Fiction: Two Insiders Discuss Writing and Publishing, post-production dragged on for so long that the author turned in his manuscript about ten months before the film premiered. When Malzberg and his editor finally viewed Bass’s work, they noticed that a passage from the novelization had been used in Lesko’s voiceover narration (63). Although the author receives no credit (and, according to him, no additional compensation), the narration provided as Lesko travels to the ant queen’s lair is an edited version of the protagonist's final diary entry from pages 151-153.

[EDIT: Sean Savage, who wrote an article on PHASE IV and studied the various drafts of Simon's screenplay, debunks Malzberg's claim. See Sean's post in the comments section.]


I would still like to believe that, given time, we could have come to an understanding. Some rational accommodation of interests. Some agreement. But that's not the way it's going to be. I've made some calculations about their rate of expansion using their intelligence, their powers of organization, their network of communications, the poisons, their ability to adapt genetically. I believe that after this test run they'll move rather quickly into desert areas, taking over the countryside first, then laying siege to towns and cities. I believe that they will learn as they advance, anticipating our moves and continue to stay a move ahead. We have only one chance: The counterattack suggested by Dr. Hubbs. A direct assault on their queen. Jesus, I wish it wasn't me.

Works Cited

Malzberg, Barry N. Phase IV. New York: Pocket Books, 1973. Print.

Resnick, Mike, and Barry N. Malzberg. The Business of Science Fiction: Two Insiders Discuss Writing and Publishing. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2010. Print.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

THE CAT O' NINE TAILS (Award Books, 1971) by Paul J. Gillette



Reviewed by Philip Nathaniel Poggiali

An American publication based on a European co-production, The Cat O’ Nine Tails is the only novelization of a Dario Argento film. It’s also one of the few penned by two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee (for the novel Carmela and the stage play Red River Rats) Paul J. Gillette.

The film’s screenplay, from a story co-authored by Argento, Luigi Collo and Dardano Sacchetti, follows the investigation by newspaper journalist Carlo Giordani (James Franciscus) and blind crossword designer Franco Arno (Karl Malden) into a series of murders tied to the break-in of the Terzi Institute for Genetic Research in Rome. They discover the murders are connected to research subjects possessing an XYY chromosome aberration, which is thought to make a person more inclined to violence, and that two of the victims -- one of them a doctor who is pushed in front of a train -- were blackmailing the killer. Giordani falls for beautiful Anna Terzi (Catherine Spaak, in a stunningly wooden performance), adopted daughter of the Institute director and a suspect. After several attempts on the amateur detectives’ lives, Arno’s granddaughter Lori is kidnapped, and, in a gripping finale, Arno and Giordani trace the killer to the rooftops of the Institute.


Argento’s often subjective camerawork, jarring edits and a tendency to withhold information reinforces what Maitland McDonagh identifies in the film as the “impossibility of seeing ... anything in a world in which all perception is by its nature fragmentary or distorted” (67). The novelization runs counter to the film’s approach: it lets us see nearly everything. For example, Argento’s impulse is to drop us into the action, as Arno and Lori, during an evening stroll, overhear the conversation that sets off a deadly chain of events. Gillette, however, opens with a lengthy description of the Terzi Institute and the street on which it is located, the Via Pax Augusta -- including the street’s residents, architecture, and commercial properties -- before seguing into Arno’s childhood memories of the neighborhood, the details of the accident that left Arno sightless and, finally, his relationship to Lori. All before the two characters overhear that crucial conversation.


Also interesting is a scene that never appears in the film, in which Arno reveals the identity of the killer and his whereabouts to Giordani and the police. Arno believes the killer’s homicidal impulses are triggered when his XYY aberration is in danger of being exposed. In his summation, he questions the killer’s irrational behavior -- and, by extension, the film’s plot -- calling the killer “rather stupid,” “genuinely stupid,” and a “stupid man,” and marveling at the “limited intelligence” that drove him to murder people that posed no discernible threat to his security, since the records of his aberration, according to Arno, would have hurt him “only slightly if at all.” Arno’s lecture exposes the film’s wobbly foundation, as if Gillette were working out his own frustrations with Argento’s story.

The finale is almost a parody of the haunting, ambigious ending of the film. In the final scene Arno, thinking his granddaughter has been killed, causes the death of the murderer, leaving Lori (and Giordani’s) fate unknown. The novelization’s wrap-up, however, is silly: Arno and Lori are reunited after the killer accidentally falls to his death (Arno's involvement is played down), an injured Giordani jokes with Anna about his ability to perform in bed, and food-obsessed Deputy Inspector Morsella suggests to a colleague that they go out for a celebratory dinner of scungilli!


Argento, a reader of American crime novels who used Fredric Brown’s The Screaming Mimi as the basis for his debut effort, THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE, may have been aware of The Cat of Many Tails (1949) by Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee using their Ellery Queen pseudonym (The Italian translation appeared in 1954 as Il gatto dalle molte code, #33 in the Serie gialla series published by Garzanti). The novel focuses on a hunt for a serial killer, named The Cat by the newspapers, that has strangled eight young women using a collection of multi-colored silk cords. A plot twist in both The Screaming Mimi and THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE has strong similarities to Dannay and Lee's revelation that the assumed murderer is actually a guilt-ridden husband protecting his psychotic wife, the real killer, from authorities.

Though the number nine does not figure into the title, it is significant: Ellery Queen, the heroic detective, tries to stop a ninth murder by using another woman as bait. Argento's film references its title when Giordani identifies “nine leads to follow,” though how he and Arno arrive at that number is never explained; in his critical study of Argento's cinema, L. Andrew Cooper counts the initial break-in at the Institute, the theft of incriminating photographs, and a combination of victims and suspects as a total of nine. Cooper explains that since a cat o’ nine tails is also an instrument used in fetish clubs, in such a context the title seems apt: most of the film’s nine threads involve some kind of sexual aberration (39).

Gillette forces the undercurrent of sexuality, aberrant or otherwise. He finds (lame) humor in the Institute’s research with unfertilized sperm (“Hi Spimi,” grinned Giordani, extending his hand as the inspector approached. “Who stole all the jism?”) and writes several minor characters as comically horny. Even investigating authorities are driven to distraction: “Inspector Spimi ... slid down in his seat, and fixed his eyes to her gorgeously golden thighs which were visible right up to her pink bikini panties.” When Giordani arrives at the Terzi mansion to question Anna, she greets him with her legs spread, sans panties. Gillette also graphically expands on a sex scene that, in the film, was depicted in a series of coy, PG-rated images.


Award Books may have requested Gillette spice up the material. It’s curious, then, that one of the more perverse aspects of the film didn’t make it to the book. In the film Giordani breaks into Terzi’s office and discovers from a series of journal entries that Anna may be having an affair with her adoptive father. When Giordani accuses her of committing the murders under threat of blackmail, Anna says "You petty, narrow-minded little reporter. You figured it all out, didn't you? A neat equation, Italian-style: whore equals liar equals murderer." Cooper points to this scene and its incestuous implication as one of the film's aberrations. This material does not appear in Gillette’s novelization; Anna never even seems to be a suspect.

Works Cited

Cooper, L. Andrew. Dario Argento. Champaign, IL: UI Press, 2012.         Print.

McDonagh, Maitland. Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams         of Dario Argento. New York, NY: Carol Publishing, 1994. Print.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Doc Savage (Gold Key, 1966)



In 1966, Gold Key put out a one-shot Doc Savage comic book that was originally commissioned as a tie-in for a DOC SAVAGE movie from Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions, to star Chuck Connors. Both the comic and the unproduced movie were based on the pulp hero’s seventeenth adventure, The Thousand-Headed Man, written by Lester Dent and first published in July 1934. To learn why the cast and crew that was assembled for this film ended up working on a western called RIDE BEYOND VENGEANCE instead, head over to the excellent Atomic Kommie Comics, where you’ll also find the once rare and highly sought after DOC SAVAGE comic book, scanned in its entirety and posted in three parts for your enjoyment.