Gary D. Rhodes with Richard Sheffield
Gary D. Rhodes, the premier Bela Lugosi scholar, already has published two books on the world’s most popular Dracula. This new biography concentrates on the last period of Lugosi’s life, the “Ed Wood years.”
After his identification with the horror genre became set in stone, Lugosi’s film career paralleled those of his most famous colleagues, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr. One well-written, well-directed B picture would be followed by two or three lousy, poverty-row clunkers. The kings of horror were stars in their niche productions, but they discovered that the bigger the budget, the smaller the role.
With one foot in the fields of academia and the other on the highway to pop-culture hell, Rhodes is a knowledgeable guide to all things Lugosi. His style is clear and straightforward, and he packs more information into each sentence than most film historians can load into a long paragraph.
“Dreams and Nightmares” is more than just the last word on Lugosi’s last gasp “ it’s an examination of the lower rungs on the Hollywood ladder before you hit rock bottom.