Dark carnival: the secret world of Tod Browning--Hollywood's master of the macabre

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Anchor Books, 1995 - Performing Arts - 359 pages
10 Reviews
One of the most original and unsettling filmmakers of all time -- the creator of the horror classicsDraculaandFreaks, among others-- Tod Browning is also one of the most enigmatic directors who ever worked in Hollywood.  A complicated, troubled, and fiercely private man, he confounded would-be biographers hoping to penetrate his secret, obsessive world -- both during his lifetime and afterward. Now, film historians David J. Skal and Elias Savada, using newly discovered family documents and revealing published interviews with friends and colleagues, join forces for the first full-length biography of the man who earned a reputation as "the Edgar Allan Poe of the cinema."  The authors chronicle Browning's turn-of-the-century flight from an eccentric Louisville family into the world of carnival sideshows (where he began his career literally buried alive) and vaudeville, his disastrous first marriage, his rapid climb to riches in the burgeoning silent film industry, and the alcoholism that would plague him throughout his life.  Browning's legendary collaborations with Lon Chaney, Sr., and Bela "Dracula" Lugosi are explored in depth, along with the studio politics that ended his career after the bizarre circus dramaFreaks-- a cult classic today -- proved to be one of the biggest box-office disasters of the early thirties. Illustrated throughout with rare photographs,Dark Carnivalis both an artful, often shocking portrait of a singular film pioneer and an illuminating study of the evolution of horror, essential to an understanding of our continuing fascination with the macabre.

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Review: Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning, Hollywood's Master of the Macabre

User Review  - Lisa - Goodreads

One monkey on one typewriter could produce a better book. Ultimately pointless. Read full review

Review: Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning, Hollywood's Master of the Macabre

User Review  - Dusty - Goodreads

The teeny review of this read: Dude (Tod Browning) was elusive. David J. Skal did the best he could. Smells like struggles Ed Wood, Jr. went through decades later with the studios. Although Wood was on a zero budget. I liked it. Read full review



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About the author (1995)

David J. Skal is the author of several books on genre cinema and fantastic literature, including Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of "Dracula" from Novel to Stage to Screen; The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror; V is for Vampire; and Screams of Reason: Mad Science and Modern Culture. With Elias Savada, he is co-author of Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning. He has also written and produced numerous video documentaries on fantastic films and literature.

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