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It Came From... The Stories and Novels Behind Classic Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction Films

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How many times have you said, the book was better? And how many times was that actually true? The cinema of the fantastic has benefitted from literary adaptations on a level unlike any other genre. With such brilliant authors as Mary Shelley, Robert Bloch, Pierre Boulle, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert Louis Stevenson to choose from, it's no surprise that fantastic film sha How many times have you said, the book was better? And how many times was that actually true? The cinema of the fantastic has benefitted from literary adaptations on a level unlike any other genre. With such brilliant authors as Mary Shelley, Robert Bloch, Pierre Boulle, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert Louis Stevenson to choose from, it's no surprise that fantastic film shares its pedigree with literary fiction. But do films never live up to their literary inspirations? Or are some movies just ... better than the books that inspired them? Join genre critics Jim Nemeth and Bob Madison for a rule-busting examination of 21 classic - and not so classic - horror, fantasy and science fiction films, and the classic - and not so classic - books that inspired them. It Came From...The Stories and Novels Behind Classic Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction Films will delight legions of movie buffs along with devoted readers of cherished fantastic fiction.


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How many times have you said, the book was better? And how many times was that actually true? The cinema of the fantastic has benefitted from literary adaptations on a level unlike any other genre. With such brilliant authors as Mary Shelley, Robert Bloch, Pierre Boulle, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert Louis Stevenson to choose from, it's no surprise that fantastic film sha How many times have you said, the book was better? And how many times was that actually true? The cinema of the fantastic has benefitted from literary adaptations on a level unlike any other genre. With such brilliant authors as Mary Shelley, Robert Bloch, Pierre Boulle, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert Louis Stevenson to choose from, it's no surprise that fantastic film shares its pedigree with literary fiction. But do films never live up to their literary inspirations? Or are some movies just ... better than the books that inspired them? Join genre critics Jim Nemeth and Bob Madison for a rule-busting examination of 21 classic - and not so classic - horror, fantasy and science fiction films, and the classic - and not so classic - books that inspired them. It Came From...The Stories and Novels Behind Classic Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction Films will delight legions of movie buffs along with devoted readers of cherished fantastic fiction.

42 review for It Came From... The Stories and Novels Behind Classic Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction Films

  1. 5 out of 5

    Keith Chawgo

    It Came from by Jim Nemeth and Bob Madison is an interesting book which looks fantastic with its professional design and in-depth look at films and the books that they are based on. Divided into three subsections which are horror, science fiction and fantasy, it is a kaleidoscope of different eras and styles. The book tends to stick to well-known films and books but does go beyond this to pull out some very interesting films as well. Starting with Body Snatchers and working through classic books It Came from by Jim Nemeth and Bob Madison is an interesting book which looks fantastic with its professional design and in-depth look at films and the books that they are based on. Divided into three subsections which are horror, science fiction and fantasy, it is a kaleidoscope of different eras and styles. The book tends to stick to well-known films and books but does go beyond this to pull out some very interesting films as well. Starting with Body Snatchers and working through classic books and films of the 50’s and 60’s. The horror section I thoroughly enjoyed and has given me ideas for future episodes of my show which I cannot wait to delve into and read. Nemeth and Madison know their subject matter and they do not shy away from their opinions. The fantasy segments of the book covers a wide range from The Wizard of Oz, Seven Faces of Dr Lao through to A Christmas Carol. The interesting aspect is the section on Superman as I remember seeing this as a teenager and was wowed by the experience. The subject matter does reach beyond the familiar with Something Wicked This Way Comes – a classic tale and Willy Wonka. The Science Fiction section starts off with Flash Gordon and carries through to modern day with the film Tomorrowland. He even covers John Carter which is now in my list of films to see and books to read. His Logan’s Run section is interesting as this was one my favourites growing up along with the television series at that time but my particular attention is to my all-time favourite Planet of the Apes which I really enjoyed. The book is a fascinating read and although I do not always agree with the authors on some of their points of view, I totally respect it. I love how they are able to explain why they feel about their subject matter and what works and did not work for them. A book of this style will have people agreeing or disagreeing and this is part of the gamble but I like a difference of opinion from my own because it makes me look at things slightly different. Even though I did not enjoy his views of Seven Faces of Dr Lao, one of my all-time favourite books and films, I guess I am very bias but saying that, I did respect where they were coming from. Overall, this is a book that was lovingly put together and the design make this a must for all film fans to be placed on their shelves. I lovingly look at the pictures enclosed and read every word and even though I was given a review copy, I will be purchasing my very own to put on my book shelf. This is an excellent look at book to films and the highs and lows of what that entails. This is a must read for all lovers of books and films. I highly recommend this.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Shelly Reuben

    IT CAME FROM … by Jim Nemeth and Bob Madison Reviewed by Shelly Reuben July 8, 2021 IT CAME FROM… is a marvelous book that achieves what it sets out to do, comparing movies with their source material (usually books; sometimes short stories, comic book characters, etc.), and shows us how they are similar and/or different. But wait! It also does so much more. The co-authors, Jim Nemeth and Bob Madison, write charmingly, and have such similar styles and senses of humor that, try as I might, I couldn’t f IT CAME FROM … by Jim Nemeth and Bob Madison Reviewed by Shelly Reuben July 8, 2021 IT CAME FROM… is a marvelous book that achieves what it sets out to do, comparing movies with their source material (usually books; sometimes short stories, comic book characters, etc.), and shows us how they are similar and/or different. But wait! It also does so much more. The co-authors, Jim Nemeth and Bob Madison, write charmingly, and have such similar styles and senses of humor that, try as I might, I couldn’t figure out who had written what. Both grew up in the 1970s “in different states and a few, scant years apart,” and are equally remarkable in that neither reflects the values of the turbulent and usually nihilistic era of their youth. So, lest you worry that their takes on Tarzan, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or The Wizard of Oz are mocking, cynical, or aloof, fear not. Even movies they don’t particularly like are treated with something akin to pitying respect, as if they are musing about the unfortunate behavior of a delusional mental patient. IT CAME FROM… is divided into five parts: The first three deal with Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction. Parts four and five discuss only Dracula and Frankenstein, which books by Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley inspired so many offspring (films, plays, radio dramas, mini-series) that both need their own section. Each part of the book has an introduction that describes the origins of the book and movie, and gives wonderful insights into comparative irrelevances (who knew that Daphne du Maurier was so beautiful? … that Buster Crabbe dyed his hair blond to play Flash Gordon? … or that Ian Fleming’s Dr. No was inspired by Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu?) Now I’ll tell you what I really loved about IT CAME FROM… FIRST, that for every detail we are given about, let’s say, Planet of the Apes, Psycho, or A Christmas Carol, we are given dozens more, not necessarily on-point but irresistibly interesting, such as Ray Bradbury opining. “As soon as you have an idea that changes some small part of the world you are writing science fiction. It is always the art of the possible, never the impossible.” Or that other than the unforgettable Bela Lugosi, Dracula also was played by (gasp!) Jack Palance, Christopher Lee, Martin Landau, Louis Jourdan, Frank Langella, and Gary Oldman. What fun! SECOND, that Jim Nemeth and Bob Madison, in discussing films like Superman: The Movie, which they loved, and Man of Steel, which they hated, treat us to deliciously refreshing insights, such as: “How to translate a myth like Superman – a peculiarly American Myth – into a simple three-act motion picture? Amazingly, this has been tried twice, with Superman: The Movie (1978) and Man of Steel (2013), two starkly different films made at different times with different agendas in radically different Americas. What each film says about us, as a people and a culture, is startling.” Later, Jim (or Bob) tells us that when he was 16-years-old, he “saw Superman: The Movie and openly wept. While the special effects were terrific, what blinded me with tears was the simple, emotional heft of the story … a film of unsurpassed sweetness. It is devoid of irony, or ‘darkness,’ or cynicism. It has heart. It not only wears its emotions on its sleeve … it telegraphs them … it was, I thought, not only a Superman for my generation, but for all generations.” The 1978 Superman of which Bob (or Jim) speaks so lovingly was sent to earth by his (Superman’s) father, who advises his boy that humans, “… can be a great … they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you … my only son.” The author(s) go on, “As our institutions, customs and social mores crumbled around us, we desperately needed something, someone to believe in. And Superman – dependable, heroic, incorruptible – answered our call.” In contrast, about Superman, Man of Steel, Jim (or Bob) writes, “Never have I seen a blockbuster film so cynical in its conception so ham-fisted in its execution or so bleak in its worldview. What should have been an exhilarating romp with a sense of wonder is instead a grim and dour computer game, devoid of life, sentiment, wit, intelligence or fun.” The differences between the two films become inescapable when we hear Perry White, Clark Kent’s editor, ask about Clark’s alter-ego (Superman) in the 2013 film, “Does he still stand for truth, justice, all that stuff?” Stuff? Through their comments, Jim Nemeth and Bob Madison invite us to celebrate the joy and optimism of their favorite movies. They also ruthlessly dissect movies and adaptations whose premises, implied or overt, gloat about the dissolution of hope, empathy, compassion, community, creativity, morality, and, dare I repeat, “Truth, justice, and the American way.” For movie lovers in general … for those wanting to indulge in intelligent nostalgia … and for young people who might someday want to make great movies themselves, IT CAME FROM… is an entertaining expedition into the past and a pure cornucopia of delight.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    Interesting idea: the authors look at classic science-fiction, fantasy, and horror movies along side the books they were based on, telling the history of their development, comparing and contrasting their merits and failures, and commenting a bit on the culture they reflect. Unfortunately, the writing is clumsy, even annoying (especially the many distracting parenthetical remarks), while the commentary is rarely insightful, and often clueless.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Goeslori

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lizzy Walker

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gina Goodson

  7. 4 out of 5

    Xinyu Liu

  8. 4 out of 5

    Avgrma

  9. 4 out of 5

    marc cilfone

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chuck White

  12. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Cheresnick

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shantel

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mel

  15. 5 out of 5

    Christine E

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mary Simmons

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  20. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlyn Walas

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kim Ellis

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Adams

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sanjanaa

  26. 4 out of 5

    Douglass Abramson

  27. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Gerhart

  28. 5 out of 5

    amy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Melisa Dowling

  31. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Maki

  32. 4 out of 5

    Fleet Sparrow

  33. 4 out of 5

    Loren Palmer

  34. 5 out of 5

    lou brown

  35. 4 out of 5

    Kole

  36. 5 out of 5

    Hil

  37. 4 out of 5

    Ian

  38. 5 out of 5

    Nell

  39. 5 out of 5

    Shelby Howard

  40. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  41. 4 out of 5

    Selkie

  42. 4 out of 5

    Steff

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