Souvenirs Of Terror

fiendish film & TV show tie-ins

Ian Covell on ‘Carl Dreadstone’

Posted by demonik on October 3, 2007

Like many people, I suspect, I was always under the delusion that Ramsey Campbell wrote all six of the ‘classic horror’ novelisations credited to ‘Carl Dreadstone’ and, later, on their UK publication, ‘ E. K. Leyton’, so I’m very grateful to Ian Covell for giving me permission to reproduce the following correspondence.

“The Universal Horror Library” series is interesting in about five ways –

(1) Ramsey Campbell says that it was commissioned by Star Books [W H Allen] although all the books first appeared from Berkley Medallion in the US.

Campbell: The Universal monster movie novels were commissioned by Piers Dudgeon of Star Books in London. The original idea was that I should write all six, but two werewolf novels would have been one too many, and since I can’t swim, I wouldn’t have been much use to the Creature from the Black Lagoon. At the time I didn’t know to suggest David Schow. We therefore needed a house name, and I originally suggested Carl Thunstone, but Manly Wade Wellman felt people might think it was hiding him. Dreadstone was the compromise. For the record-and no matter how many times I say this, I seem to need to repeat myself-I did not write The Mummy, The Werewolf of London or The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and even Piers can’t recall who did.


(2) Campbell wrote 3 of the 6 books – acknowledged at Tartarus — and Walter (“The Day I Died”) Harris wrote 1 of the others; I don’t recall who wrote the other two

(3) Berkley published them in pairs – June, July, and August 1977 – all as by Carl Dreadstone. “Tandem-Universal” (it was on that cusp when Tandem was becoming Universal and then Star, and I can’t remember what stage they were at) published the first three in Oct, Nov and Dec 1978 as by Dreadstone.. and then stopped publishing them until 1980, when they brought them out by Star under the pseudonym “E K Leyton” – I have no idea why they changed the pseudonym, but I do know it has caused confusion all round.

(4) The UK editions (without the film covers and film stills of the US editions) do look crap alongside the US editions.

(5) I don’t think I ever knew about the hardcover omnibus of “The Mummy” and “The Werewolf of London”. I presume it preceded any of the UK paperback editions [I am not convinced it was ’77 *] but it is puzzling that they collected _those_ 2 novels, and not all 6.. especially since neither of them was by Campbell.. although he has been known to sign copies because of his introduction.

* Ian’s scepticism on this point is justified. On checking the book I found it was published in 1978, not 1977 like some feeb had originally speed-posted *blush*


Berkley Medallion originals illustrated throughout with stills; introductions by Ramsey Campbell

Bride of Frankenstein, The
As by Carl Dreadstone [Ramsey Campbell] Berkley Medallion June 1977 (abr); Tandem-Universal 19 Oct 1978 (restored text)
0425034143 cover

The Mummy
As by Carl Dreadstone [??] Berkley Medallion June 1977; Tandem-Universal Nov 1978

The Werewolf of London
As by Carl Dreadstone [Walter Harris] Berkley Medallion July 1977; Tandem-Universal Dec 1978

The Creature from the Black Lagoon
As by Carl Dreadstone [Walter Harris] Berkley Medallion July 1977
As by E K Leyton [Walter Harris], Star 80

Wolfman, The]
As by Carl Dreadstone [Ramsey Campbell] Berkley Medallion Aug 1977
As by E K Leyton [Ramsey Campbell] Star 80

Dracula’s Daughter
As by Carl Dreadstone [Ramsey Campbell] Berkley Medallion Aug 1977
As by E K Leyton [Ramsey Campbell] Star 80
0425034631 cover

The Mummy & The Werewolf of London [Omn]
As by Carl Dreadstone [??] Allan Wingate hc 1978

..oops, forgot to mention, the “Ian Thorne” who did one novelisation of The Creature from the Black Lagoon is a pseudonym of the SF writer Julian May…

The hardcover is just weird – it’s not the first two or last two published. They aren’t both by Campbell (in fact, neither is) and they didn’t follow it up with the others. [Compile an Omnibus] out all 3 Campbell books, and you could have created a Collectors’ item. Limited library printing sounds right.

Crestwood House [US] had other novelisations done at roughly the same time (1977???)…

By Carl R. Green, William R. Sanford, Howard Schroeder
Black Cat
Black Friday
Bride of Frankenstein
Dracula’s Daughter
Ghost of Frankenstein
House of Fear
House of Seven Gables
Invisible Man, The
Mole People, The
Murders In The Rue Morgue, The
Phantom of the Opera, The
Raven, The
Revenge of the Creature, The
Werewolf of London

By Ian Thorne [really Julian May]
Blob, The
Creature From The Black Lagoon
Deadly Mantis
Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman
It Came From Outer Space
King Kong
Mad Scientists
Mummy, The
Wolf Man, The

…and Paul DiFilippo recently (2007?) wrote a sequel to the film called CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON: TIME’S BLACK LAGOON

11 Responses to “Ian Covell on ‘Carl Dreadstone’”

  1. James said

    WoW! I remember these paperbacks. I own a few still. This brings back a lot of memories that last forever. Thanks.

  2. demonik said

    Thank you for taking the time to post that, James. It really cheered me up!

  3. Norman said

    The Wolfman by E K Leyton – paperback book (1980) is on Ebay.
    The Day I Died by Walter Harris – paperback (1974) A Star Book

  4. Walter Harris said

    I am happy to confirm that you are correct in your attribution of The Werewolf of London to me, Walter Harris. I am also the Carl Dreadstone who wrote ‘The Creature from the Black Lagoon’.

    ‘The Day I Died’ is indeed one of mine too.

  5. demonik said

    thank you Walter! have updated the information in Ian’s excellent initial post to reflect this. one more to find before we can finally put this one to bed:: who was responsible for ‘The Mummy’?!!!

  6. bladak said

    I just bought a set that had a slipcase but were the US edition. Does anyone know. Were these reprints of the books or was it just a collection that they did in the slipcase?

  7. walterharris said

    My name is Walter Harris. I was commissioned by Piers Dudgeon of Star Books in, I think, 1976, to ‘novelise’ under the generic pseudonym of Carl Dreadstone the films The Werewolf of London and Creature From The Black Lagoon, which seem subsequently to have been published in America by Berkley before I’d actually written them!
    I am as mystified by the publishing history of these books as so many other people seem to be. Confusion is compounded by the tiny Universal logo on the front of the
    Classic Library of Horror edition of Werewolf, whose ISBN number is 0 426 190270, and which claims copyright 1977 by MCA Publishing. The British publication date is given as 1978. I was never informed of the change of pseudonym to E.K. Leyton, or of any of the Berkley American editions.
    Furthermore, the Leyton Creature From The Black Lagoon credits me on the flyleaf with having written Dracula’s Daughter and The Wolfman,which I didn’t. The publisher is given as Star, the Paperback Division of W.H.Allen, and the publication date as 1980. To make things simple, copyright is again claimed by MCA Publishing, and dated 1977, whilst above those words are the proclamation: First published in the United States by MCA Publishing in 1977.

  8. Doug Brown said

    Thank you Mr. Covell for this great post! Carl Dreadstone always sounded like a phony name to me and I am grateful to you for revealing the real authors. Now, if only The Mummy’s author would stand up and be counted…….

  9. Walter, do you have any contracts etc? – Would be interesting to see them!

  10. Heya Walter – nope, I’m not a solicitor – I’m a historian, and genre researcher – would be good to interview you in depth about these books and see some evidence!

  11. Dear Johnny
    Thank you for contacting me. I would be happy to be interviewed but although I do happen to have copies of contracts they are naturally confidential. I am prepared t say that the commissioning system employed by Universal/MCA has, I believe, in a number of editions of Werewolf of London and Creature From The Black Lagoon being pirated, in other words, the system of payment from those two companies, which had a vested interest in Berkley Books, W.H. Allen/Star was set up in such a way that monies went directly from one to the other without the inclusion of the author. MCA particularly held its cards so close to its chest they were virtually subcutaneous.
    For example, the ‘advance’ paid for an American edition of the above-mentioned film novelisations was $6000 per title, but instead of my receivig the monies as author, Universal/MCA behaved like a holding company doing business with a sub sidiary. Furthermore, I never received any mention or acknowledgement–let alone payment–regarding translations. I have no idea how many of a possible 32 translations were made, but the books certainly went into German editions.
    For further details of my Carl Dreadstone persona, see my contribution to the cogent Ian Cowell comments on the subject.

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