My reaction to this piece [“Tales From the Vault,” December 10] is, as usual, mixed. Delight–at reading Rosenbaum, a favorite writer on film, as he ventures into horror territory. Puzzlement–that when he talks of the film’s writers he omits George Baxt, the third of the trio adapting Fritz Leiber’s novel Conjure, Wife.
Baxt, like associates Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont, was a U.S. writer at work in this British picture. Ben Hecht he wasn’t. He wasn’t even Philip Yordan. Still, though, for those with a taste for 60s British horror, he was a notable name associated with some memorable pictures. To be specific: The City of the Dead (1960) aka Horror Hotel, Shadow of the Cat (1961), and Hammer’s delightfully convoluted Vampire Circus (1971). Mystery readers will probably also recognize him as the author of (mostly comic) mystery novels like A Queer Kind of Love–with its follow-ups involving detective Pharoah Love–and the celebrity murder series starting with The Dorothy Parker Murder Case.
Baxt, who died in 2003 (according to IMDb), was a fine–if uneven–writer. As someone, perhaps Iris Adrian, once said: “Attention must be paid.”
Jonathan Rosenbaum replies:
I’m well aware of George Baxt’s name turning up in various sources as a cowriter on this film. But he receives no on-screen credit, which is why I left his name off.