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

Dark Carnival by David J. Skal
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's review
Oct 15, 2007

really liked it
Recommended for: Horror Movie Fans
Read in January, 1999

Tod Browning is one of my favorite film directors, simply because he directed the original "Dracula." He also was responsible for one of the most controversial films in Hollywood history, "Freaks." His resume includes many of Lon Chaney's best silent films as well. "Dark Carnival" reveals that Browning was naturally drawn to the dark and macabre. As a teenager, for example, Browning ran away with the circus and actually enjoyed performing an act where stayed underground in a coffin, for days at a time, existing only on chocolate malt balls. The book is full of interesting anecdotes from the early days of Hollywood. We learn, for instance, that Bela Lugosi was paid only a few thousand dollars total for the starring role in "Dracula," while co-star David Manners was paid several thousand per week. Manners lived to be nearly 100, and Skal reports that when he interviewed him, the old actor revealed that he had never seen "Dracula," was embarrassed of it, and refused to watch it then. Anyone interested in old horror films, and the life of one who made some of the best, would really enjoy this book.
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Andy This book is OOP and a bitch to find. I should've bought it when I first saw it (1994).

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