Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Scary Books – Horror! By Drake Douglas

Originally published in 1966, my paperback copy of Horror! By Drake Douglas is now dog-eared and battered. It’s a hell of a book and the only non-fiction book I’m promoting this month outside of my own. The back cover blurb for Horror! stated: The awful truth about the monsters, vampires, werewolves, zombies phantoms, mummies, and ghouls of literature – and how they went Hollywood, the book is an affectionate and literate account of monsters with emphasis on Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, werewolf folklore, and the writers that helped popularize them. Written in the strong, imagistic style of the pulps, Horrors! Is a beguiling and fascinating introduction to the world of monsters and other creatures of the night. I have always loved the unique style of the writing and the obvious love the author has for films and literature. This book also includes a mystery that has never been solved, at least as far as I know. The back cover offers little about author Drake Douglas except this titillating clue: “Drake Douglas is the pseudonym of a gentleman who has been deeply involved with horror throughout his life – and prefers to remain anonymous.” This leads us to the inevitable mystery I and others have never solved – who is Drake Douglas? Is he still alive? Surely someone, somewhere knows who Drake Douglas is – or was. One Amazon reviewer claims he was really Carlos Clarens, author of An Illustrated History of Horror and Science Fiction Films which I also own, but there are modest stylistic differences. Clarens died in 1987 and his obituary makes no mention of Horror! It’s an intriguing possibility and anyone that can clarify this please feel free to contact me.


  1. Tom,

    Thanks to you, I am reading "Horror!" right now. After seeing your post I found a pristine copy in a used bookshop here in Hollywood.

    I don't know who Drake Douglas was (or is) but I thank him; this book is the most entertaining and the most lovingly-written overview of the early supernatural creatures in the genre I love that I have ever read. Douglas reminds me with each page why I love horror so. It is work of fun and genius. Thanks for featuring it.

    very best regards,
    Bill Oberst Jr.

  2. And thank you for reading my blog!

  3. Larry Edmunds? I just had a thought you might have fund your copy at the larry Edmunds Bookshop, one of my favorite "haunts" when I'm in L.A.

  4. Yes! Larry Edmunds it was. I can spend hours in that place.

  5. I first walked into Larry Edmunds in 1971 when it was down the street from its current location. Bought a 1939 Dodge City Lobby Card for under ten bucks, expensive at the time, but worth a lot more now. I still have it. By the way, I believe now that Drake Douglas was in fact Carlos Clarens. Have a great day!

  6. I hope you have alerts for comments on your post, since it's a few years old. A website called the Speculative Fiction Database has an entry for Drake Douglas that lists his legal name as Warner Zimmermann, and includes other titles by him as well. "Horror!" was a favorite book of mine in the late 1960s, along with Carlos Clarens. Still have them both.

    1. Thank you for this interesting tidbit. I've heard this before but never seen any verification.


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