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Sunday, November 09, 2014

Michel Parry (1947-2014)

News that Michel Parry, author, screenwriter and anthologist, had died at the age of 67 was reported on 1 November. He had been diagnosed with cancer some years ago.

Michel Patrick Parry was born in Brussels, Belgium, on 7 October 1947 to a Welsh father. He grew up in Maldon and went to the Colchester Royal Grammar School. Parry was already a horror fan: Des Lewis, who was in the same sixth form class, recalls bumping into Parry at the local W.H. Smiths in 1964. "He picked the Panther edition of HP Lovecraft's Haunter of the Dark off the shelf and recommended it to me. He scored his nail under a few tales as particular favourites of his, 'The Dunwich Horror' being one, I recall. Despite still being at school, Michel had a flat of his own where he later showed me an amazing Arkham House collection."

Parry began writing for film magazines in the 1960s whilst at film school, his contributions including an extensive 3-part interview with Christopher Lee for Castle of Frankenstein. Parry remained close to Lee and later edited a number of anthologies under Lee's name.

An early collaboration with Barney Bubbles (Colin Fulcher), Alice In Wonderland, a film project shot in the 1960s in Soho Square, Crystal Palace Park, Kensington Gardens and other locations with actress Rosemary Chester that remained uncompleted, recently surfaced as a video for Bear Driver's "Balloon Race".—a band fronted for some years by Parry's daughter, Cassie.

He wrote and directed the short film Hex (1969) starring Melinda Martin and John Nicholson and submitted two script treatments to Roger Corman's American International Pictures, including one entitled The Countess Bathed In Blood based on the story of Countess Bathory. He joined A.I.P.'s London office as a junior story editor and worked on the script, now known as Blood Bath. He left A.I.P. in 1970 and worked part-time as a consultant for Anthony Cheetham's Sphere Books. For Sphere he novelised Hammer Films' Countess Dracula (1971), based on the Bathory legend, although he later admitted that he thought the film disappointing and incredibly restrained—the real Countess Elizabeth Bathory was accused of slaughtering 600 young women whilst Ingrid Pitt managed only four.

Parry scripted The Uncanny (1977), a horror film centred on the notion that cats have supernatural powers; the notion probably derived from Beware of the Cat, his first anthology of horror short stories compiled for Gollancz.

Parry's later movie career included writing the original story for the alien abduction movie Xtro (1983) and scripting the 11-minute short The Zip (1988). He also wrote the teleplay "Rouse Him Not", based on a story by Manly Wade Wellman, for the series Monsters.

Parry's earliest anthologies predated the horror boom by a couple of years, although there was some momentum from tie-ins—the deal between Sphere and Hammer resulted in two other novelisations, for instance—and a steady flow of anthologies by Peter Haining and others. The UK release of The Exorcist in March 1974 led Anthony Cheetham to have an Exorcist-style cover made up; Parry was given two weeks to put together a selection of stories and the results were published by Futura that November (The Devil's Children).

When Stephen King's novels became bestsellers, Parry was able to capitalize by producing 25 anthologies over the next five years. They were for the most part well researched and usually included an illuminating introduction. One, More Devil's Kisses by Linda Lovecraft (an amalgam of Linda Lovelace and H. P. Lovecraft) was pulped after a complaint was made to the publisher about one of the stories, "The Magic Show" by Chris Miller, involving some explicit goings-on at a children's party.

An earlier novel, Agro, was also pulped. It had begun life as a screenplay about Hell's Angels in London optioned by A.I.P., but was never made; it was then written as a novel for Sphere and published under the byline Nick Fury, only to be pulled when Sphere received complaints that the book had libelled the Hell's Angels. It was later revised and published under Parry's own name by Mayflower four years later.

Like most authors, Parry's career was littered with unpublished projects, including a six-book series of Dracula novels, a third Sloane novel, The Man With The Golden Fist, and a fifth Reign of Terror anthology, a cover for which (see below) was painted by Les Edwards but never used. Parry had also written at least one other horror novel and, in the mid-1990s, ghosted a book about a mercenary in South America.

PUBLICATIONS

Novels
Countess Dracula (novelisation of film). London, Sphere, 1971; New York, Beagle, 1971.
Agro (as Nick Fury). London, Sphere, 1971; revised edition as by Michel Parry, St. Albans, Mayflower, 1975.
Chariots of Fire, with Garry Rusoff. London, Futura, 1974; New York, Popular Library, Jan 1977.
Throne of Fire, with Garry Rusoff. New York, Popular Library, Jun 1977.

Novels as Steve Lee (series: Kung-Fu Western; co-written with Steve Moore)
Sloane: Fastest Fist in the West. London, Futura, 1974; as Sloane: The Man With the Iron Fists, New York, Pinnacle Books, 1975.
Sloane: Fistful of Hate. London, Futura, 1974; New York, Pinnacle Books, 1975.

Anthologies
Beware of the Cat: weird tales about cats. London, Gollancz, 1972; as Beware of the Cat: stories of feline fantasy and horror, New York, Taplinger, 1973.
Strange Ecstasies. St. Albans, Panther, Nov 1973.
The Hounds of Hell: weird tales about dogs. London, Gollancz, 1974; as The Hounds of Hell: stories of canine horror and fantasy, New York, Taplinger, 1974.
The 1st Mayflower Book of Black Magic Stories. St. Albans, Mayflower, Jun 1974; as Great Black Magic Stories, New York, Taplinger, 1976.
Dream Trips. St. Albans, Panther, Jul 1974.
The 2nd Mayflower Book of Black Magic Stories. St. Albans, Mayflower, Nov 1974.
The Devil’s Children: tales of demons and exocists. London, Futura, Nov 1974; New York, Taplinger, 1975.
The 3rd Mayflower Book of Black Magic Stories. St. Albans, Mayflower, 1975.
Jack the Knife: Tales of Jack the Ripper. St. Albans, Mayflower, Jul 1975.
Christopher Lee’s ‘‘X’’ Certificate, with Christopher Lee. London, Star Books, Nov 1975; in 2 vols as From the Archives of Evil, New York, Warner Books, Jan 1976, and From the Archives of Evil 2, New York, Warner Books, Oct 1976.
The Supernatural Solution. London, Panther, Jan 1976; New York, Taplinger, 1976; as by Michael Parry, London, White Lion Publishing, 1977.
The 4th Mayflower Book of Black Magic Stories. St. Albans, Mayflower, Feb 1976.
Roots of Evil: Beyond The Secret Life of Plants (as Carlos Cassaba). London, Corgi, Feb 1976; as The Roots of Evil: weird stories of supernatural plants, by Michel Parry, New York, Taplinger, 1976.
The Devil’s Kisses (as Linda Lovecraft). London, Corgi, Jul 1976.
The 5th Mayflower Book of Black Magic Stories. St. Albans, Mayflower, Oct 1976.
Waves of Terror: weird stories about the sea. London, Gollancz, Nov 1976.
Reign of Terror: The 1st Corgi Book of Great Victorian Horror Stories. London, Corgi, Dec 1976; as Reign of Terror: Great Victorian Horror Stories, London, Severn House, 1977.
Savage Heroes: Tales of Sorcery and Black Magic (as Eric Pendragon), illustrated by Jim Pitt. London, Star, Feb 1977; as by Michel Parry, New York, Taplinger, 1980.
Reign of Terror: The 2nd Corgi Book of Great Victorian Horror Stories. London, Corgi, Feb 1977; as Reign of Terror Vol.2: Great Victorian Horror Stories, London, Severn House, 1978.
The Rivals of Dracula: a century of vampire fiction. London, Corgi, Mar 1977.
The Rivals of Frankenstein. London, Corgi, May 1977; New York, Barnes & Noble, 1980.
More Devil’s Kisses (as Linda Lovecraft). London, Corgi, Jul 1977.
The 6th Mayflower Book of Black Magic Stories. St. Albans, Mayflower, Oct 1977.
Reign of Terror The 3rd Corgi Book of Great Victorian Horror Stories. London, Corgi, Oct 1977.
Spaced Out. London, Panther, Nov 1977.
Archives of Evil, with Christopher Lee. London, W.H. Allen, 1977; as Christopher Lee’s Archives of Evil. London, Mayflower, May 1979.
Reign of Terror: The 4th Corgi Book of Great Victorian Horror Stories. London, Corgi, Jan 1978.
The Rivals of King Kong. London, Corgi, Feb 1978.
The Great Villains: An omnibus of evil, with Christopher Lee. London, W.H. Allen, Sep 1978; as Christopher Lee’s Omnibus of Evil, with Christopher Lee. London, Mayflower, Mar 1980.
Superheroes. London, Sphere, Oct 1978.
Sex in the 21st Century, with Milton Subotsky. London, Panther, Sep 1979.
Lurking Shadows, with Christopher Lee. London, W.H. Allen, Sep 1979.
Santa 2000. London, Granada, Nov 1984.
Ghostbreakers. London, Granada, Oct 1985.

Non-fiction
Fire Power, with Chris Dempster and Dave Tomkins. London, Corgi, 1978.

(* Photograph from the facebook page of Simone Solon.)

1 comment:

Steve said...

I have been asked to post this as Eric has no Google account.

Dear Mister Holland,

Thank you for your obituary on Mister Michel Parry. I did not know of his passing and now I understand why he never responded last year to my electronic mail messages ; he must have been fighting his cancer. He had remembered me from a Sohemian meeting in London where I met him in 2009 when Miss Cathi Unsworth interviewed Miss Susan Compo about her new book,"Warren Oates : A Wild Life".

Mister Parry and I spoke of film since I am an actor and film actor,other than metaphysics which took us into crime and occult crime. You should be interested in knowing that when we came to The Church Of The Process in our discussion he informed me that he had inherited it's entire library before it emigrated from England to New York.

One biographical fact : You compose that he was Welsh,obviously with the family name Parry but he told me that he was from his mother's side Belgium,specifically Walloon. Hence Welsh-Walloon which is why he spoke French with his daughter. My deepest condolences to his family.Please feel free to pass on my thoughts to his daughter. Thank you once again for your obituary.

God Bless,
Eric Galati