What a surprise to learn that Tod Browning, the director of 1931’s Dracula, used to have himself buried alive in a coffin as part of a carnival act. Or that he spent a youth immersed in the seedy world of sideshows, soaking up experiences that he later used in his notorious 1932 film Freaks. Yet much about Browning’s life remains a secret; he rarely talked about himself and left no papers of consequence. The authors have pieced together a patchwork of interviews with actors and studio personnel who worked with him, along with newspaper clips, film reviews (too many), and information recycled from David J. Skal’s previous book, The Monster Show. Browning still comes across as an alcoholic cipher, though a strong case is made for his influential art (a filmography takes up almost a third of the book). A director who thrived in the silent era — particularly in his Grand Guignol collaborations with Lon Chaney Sr. — Browning faltered in the sound era: Freaks, for example, caused a scandal and lost MGM money. After retiring in 1942, the director spent the next 20 years drinking and watching old movies on television, leaving unrealized such dream projects as a film version of They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (made in 1969 by Sydney Pollack). What a movie Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning, Hollywood’s Master of the Macabre would make. If only Browning were around to direct it.
Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning, Hollywood's Master of the MacAbre What a surprise to learn that Tod Browning, the director of 1931's Dracula, used to have himself buried alive in a coffin as part of a carnival...Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning, Hollywood's Master of the MacAbreBiography, MoviesTod Browning, Elias Savada, David J. Skal What a surprise to learn that Tod Browning, the director of 1931's Dracula, used to have himself buried alive in a coffin as part of a carnival...1995-11-17
Genre: Biography, Movies; Author: Tod Browning, Elias Savada, David J. Skal
Posted November 17 1995 — 12:00 AM EST
- Charlize Theron in talks to star as gender-swapped lead in 'The Gray Man'
- Giorgio Moroder remixes My Morning Jacket's 'Compound Fracture'
- Tinashe on the empowering message of female friendship she learned from Nicki Minaj
- Hear Jessie Ware's take on 'Cinderella' song 'A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes'
- 'The Walking Dead': Michael Traynor on Nicholas and his road to redemption
- Rihanna will perform at the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
- Pierce Brosnan warns Owen Wilson in 'No Escape' deleted scene
- 25 Unforgettable Dresses From the Past 25 Years
- Box Office Flops: 19 Notorious Opening Weekends
- EW's 25 Best Movies in 25 Years
- EW Reunions: Bonus portraits of your favorite TV and movie casts
- 'The Walking Dead': 15 Exclusive Storyboard Illustrations From Season 6
- Cast Reunions: See Costars Then And Now