Once again, those lines from what may be the greatest horror movie ever made, 1932’s immortal Freaks, welcome you to the John Wooley website. We (that’s not the royal or editoral “we,” but my webmaster son Jonathan and I) appreciate all of you who’ve visited since our last update, back in January. Thanks also for your emails, and for your support in any number of other ways.
So here’s the latest:
— Had a swell time at World Horror Convention No. 13, held in Kansas City in late March. My vampire televangelist novel AWASH IN THE BLOOD, now available in a relatively economical trade paperback after its hardcover sellout (check out your local bookstore, www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com), got a really nice reception, helped by my appearance on a panel with some true vampire-tale heavyweights, Laurell K. Hamilton and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and my Tulsa writer pal Brad Sinor. I got that shot only because another good friend, Dean Andersson, had to cancel his appearance at the last minute, and I was sorry I wasn’t able to see him.
There were, however, some fine moments. It’s always great to visit with other writers, especially when alcohol is involved, and I found myself involved in some engaging conversations with the likes of Garrett Peck, William D. Gagliani, Mort Castle (whom I’d only corresponded with, never met), Ed Bryant, and Gary Jonas. (Gary’s new novel from Yard Dog Press, One Way Ticket to Midnight, is a well-told tale of a down-and-out bluesman’s fight with dark forces, and I especially love the subtext; you could almost see the whole thing as a metaphor for the struggles any artist has to go through to be worth anything.) I also became re-aquainted with Berkley editor Ginjer Buchanan, Laurell Hamilton’s editor and a former editor of mine — she was in charge of Berkley’s 1989 release Full Moon, which Ron Wolfe and I wrote under the nom de plume of Mick Winters.
Most of the publishers at World Horror hosted parties, and most of those parties offered a special drink. Gary’s publisher, Selina Rosen, took the prize in that area as far as I’m concerned, serving up a complicated coconut concoction called a Hurling Monkey to unwary partygoers.
I went to the convention with my own publisher, the bestselling mystery-thriller author and head of HAWK Publishing Group, William Bernhardt. Bill hosted the Thursday night HAWK party, along with new horror author Fara Spence (check out her terrific first novel for HAWK, That Hurt Thing) and her husband, Jeff, who also rode up from Tulsa with us. My only regret is that we didn’t have time to visit the Precious Moments compound, which is right on the way.
— Last time, I wrote about Ripley, Steve Ripley’s new CD for his Boy Rocking Records (www.boyrocking.com), distributed by Audium, and my participation as a writer and Vox Jaguar organ player on the first cut, “Gone Away.” Well, the disc’s out now, getting great notices from all over, and “Gone Away” — in a new, shorter, mix — is coming out as the first single. Corporate country radio being what it is these days, and please don’t get me started, the prospect of a hit on those charts is, frankly, not great. However, with the rise of the Americana-type stations, which feature music willing to take a few more chances and bounce outside Nashville’s proscribed lines, there’s a good bet “Gone Away” is going to get some significant airplay. If you have an adventurous radio station in your neighborhood, we’d appreciate your taking a moment to request it. I’d like it a lot even if I weren’t on it. Of course, I’ve been a Ripley fan for a good long while.
— I originally expected The Big Book of Biker Flicks, co-authored with my friend and frequent collaborator Michael H. Price and published, as is most of my stuff, by HAWK Publishing Group, to be out by now. It’s going to be a few months more, though, as designer Carl Brune has been taking the time necessary to make it look like something really out of the ordinary. I’m just now seeing the page proofs, and Carl’s layout is all I could hope for — and maybe more.
For our parts, we’ve included material from interviews with biker-movie greats like Peter Fonda, William Smith, Jack Nicholson and Sonny Barger, among others We’ve even got the great schlockmeister Herschell Gordon Lewis ( Blood Feast, 2000 Maniacs ) on the record about his immortal She-Devils on Wheels. It’s going to be something special, I think, and current plans call for it to be ready for the Christmas season
— Meanwhile, the Wooley-Price collaboration Forgotten Horrors 3: Dr. Turner’s House of Horrors should be out in early summer from Luminary Press, a division of Midnight Marquee. It’s the latest in the acclaimed series, a tribute to film industry figure and Michael’s longtime co-writer George Turner, who passed away a couple of years ago. Following George’s death, Michael asked me to step in as collaborator on the books — and he didn’t have to ask twice. I’ve been a fan of Forgotten Horrors from the first, and I’m doing my best to uphold the tradition.
These great books deal with movies from small-time and independent producers and studios, and each volume looks at several dozen pictures — some fairly well known, some almost unknown — that feature horrific
elements. The upcoming No. 3, for instance, covers the years 1943-46, and includes entries on the likes of Dead Men Walk, Nabonga, Isle of Forgotten Sins> and the weird Cisco Kid western Beauty and the Bandit. Check out the cover at the Midnight Marquee website, www.midmar.com
— Under the same “Forgotten Horrors” title, Price and Wooley continue with their well-received column in Fangoria,America’s No. 1 horror media magazine. For Fangoria, they’re writing about movies made between the beginning of the Gore Era (1964) and the home-video era (1984); each column includes a brief interview with someone who helped make the picture. Check “Forgotten Horrors” out in the magazine or the website, www.fangoria.com
— Also due out this summer is Roscoes in the Night, a collection of stories featuring the peerless pulp character Dan Turner — Hollywood Detective, featuring an intro by yours truly and published by my pal John Gunnison at Adventure House (www.adventurehouse.com). As written by the million-words-a-year fictioneer Robert Leslie Bellem, the Dan Turner stories
are pretty much unlike anything you’ve ever read — whizzy, slangy, funny, first-person adventures that take place in a Hollywood that never was. We’ve collected a dozen Turner tales from the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s for this volume, and the substantial introduction lets you in on some little-known stuff about Dan and his creator, featuring photos from both Dan Turner movies (including the made-for-TV movie starring Marc (Beastmaster) Singer that I wrote back in 1990). It’ll be out by July, John says, just in time to make Pulpcon, that wonderful, alpha wave-creating, annual get together of pulp-magazine fans in Dayton, Ohio.
— Finally, you’ll note that this website’s special offer — for the film festival award-winning indie film Cafe Purgatory, which I co-wrote and co-produced — is still in effect. It comes in a handsome illustrated case, autographed by at least two people involved with the film. And it’s still listed because I’m trying to sell still more copies. All money we get goes into an account, and when it gets big enough — we’re about halfway there — the actors and technicians get paid.
No, you can’t take it as a tax deduction, but I think it’s worth 20 bucks. So does Tim Ferrante of Videoscope magazine. Check out his three-star review in the spring 2002 issue of the mag.
— Again and as always, many thanks for stopping by.