You're going to hear some serious @#$%...
September 20, 2016 7:18 AM   Subscribe

Audiobooks for the Damned (main site, previously) have been forging ahead in their quest to audiobook-ify film novelizations, and have finally released one of their holy grails - a seven-hour audiobook of George Gipe's legendarily insane novelization of Back to the Future Part I, as chronicled in Ryan North's B to the F (read it chronologically here, also previously).

George Gipe's other novelizations include Gremlins and Explorers, both directed by Joe Dante. (A note to those interested in the Friday the 13th part of the former article - the link to The Mask of Jason Voorhees is outdated and should lead here.)

Back to the Future Parts II and III recieved novelizations by the less-ambitious Craig Shaw Gardner; Audiobooks for the Damned's audiobook of Part II can be listened to here.
posted by BiggerJ (23 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's fascinating that movies that clock in under 2 hours can be stretched to a seven hour re-telling. Yeah, yeah, a picture is worth a thousand words, and moving pictures are worth so many more words, but have there been any books or audiobooks that are closer to the original movie's length?

I realize they'd be pretty spartan affairs, but that alone is interesting - how do you pare down the story so it can be relayed, in words only, in the time it takes to watch the movie? Not a cliff notes version, but a more complete telling. By adding in sound effects, you're getting into radio play territory, and even there, the original Star Wars radio drama, a 13-part (5 hour, 57 minute) radio serial, was almost four hours longer than the movie.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:42 AM on September 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Gremlins novelization was also insane—and pretty grimdark. In fact, the Gremlins read-along storybook adaptation was grimdark. I think the signal to turn the pages on the record was gremlin cackling instead of chimes, and there was NO attempt to balance the malice of the bad Mogwai with humor like there was in the final released film. Perhaps the film was re-edited after the deadlines for ancillary media had passed?
posted by infinitewindow at 8:17 AM on September 20, 2016


the original Star Wars radio drama, a 13-part (5 hour, 57 minute) radio serial, was almost four hours longer than the movie.

The radio drama included a lot of plot that wasn't in the movie (IIRC, most was from the Alan Dean Foster ghost-written novelization).

The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi had radio plays that were much closer to the movies in length. RotJ was just over 3 hours, and that includes the opening/closing credits and intro and outro fanfare music for each episode. It's probably closer to 2:30 if you remove those parts.
posted by tclark at 8:18 AM on September 20, 2016


The Book Was Better Is a great podcast to listen to if you want to get an overview of the book-of-the-film field. There was a post a while back but I'm not finding it...
posted by Artw at 8:20 AM on September 20, 2016


I still have the novelizations of Gremlins and BTTF3 from when I was a kid (the full novels, not the junior versions). Gremlins really is insane with entire backstories for the creation of the mogwai: they come from space and were created by an alien race called Mogturmen. Film novelizations from that era were really something else. I also have the novels of both Ghostbusters films and they branch out in odd directions too. Ghostbusters, for instance, includes multiple interludes with two bums named Harlan Bojay and Robert Learned Coombs who remark on events in a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern style. I believe these bums are meant to be two bums from a deleted scene in the film seen on the DVD.
posted by Servo5678 at 8:23 AM on September 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ghostbusters, for instance, includes multiple interludes with two bums named Harlan Bojay and Robert Learned Coombs who remark on events in a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern style. I believe these bums are meant to be two bums from a deleted scene in the film seen on the DVD.
Here's some not awesome quality video of a bit of that.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:37 AM on September 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Thank you for this. I still think of the Back to the Future novelization with wonder and fondness (maybe it's only the memories of reading it as a ~10 year old I look back in fondness of), but it was eye-opening, even though at that point I'd already been exposed to The Day After, and many family conversations of nuclear winter. I mostly remember the cold war and nukes school lecture Marty sat through. I believe the book began with that. I'm going to have to listen to it.
posted by theefixedstars at 8:57 AM on September 20, 2016


The novelization of The Terminator is one of the best reads I encountered during my high school years. I still remember vividly many parts of it, including the immediate action right after the famous "I'll be back" moment from the movie. Something like "The officer looked up again from his desk and saw the headlights rushing toward him. "Oh shit," he thought, statistically the most common words during violent deaths."

I wonder if I still have my copy around here anywhere....
posted by hippybear at 9:01 AM on September 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


The novelization of The Terminator is one of the best reads I encountered during my high school years. I still remember vividly many parts of it, including the immediate action right after the famous "I'll be back" moment from the movie. Something like "The officer looked up again from his desk and saw the headlights rushing toward him. "Oh shit," he thought, statistically the most common words during violent deaths."


Also, referring to the human fighters in the future as "Doberman-mean", a description that the same writer would use again in his novelization of Alien, describing the banter of the Marines as "young Dobermans at play". I look forward to his novelization of Babe.
posted by Mogur at 9:07 AM on September 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


You must mean the novelization of Aliens, as there weren't Marines in Alien. I don't remember that particular detail of the writing in The Terminator, but if I find my copy I will keep an eye-out for it.

Babe the movie is actually an adaptation of the novel The Sheep-Pig. Thus far, there has been no recursion of the story from novel-to-movie-back-to-novel. There IS a novelization of Babe: Pig In The City, however.
posted by hippybear at 9:16 AM on September 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I realize they'd be pretty spartan affairs, but that alone is interesting - how do you pare down the story so it can be relayed, in words only, in the time it takes to watch the movie?

I think you've already identified it -- you do it a as a radio play. For example, I recently listened to the BBC's take on The Maltese Falcon (a radio play of a movie of a book!). I haven't read the book, but the radio play hewed very closely to the movie, and was about the same length. I'm not sure that's necessarily a great thing; for whatever reason, I personally prefer straight up audiobook reads (with or without a voice cast) to sound effects and radio play type "what is that in your hand, Sam? A gun?" stuff.
posted by tocts at 9:24 AM on September 20, 2016


The Maltese Falcon, with John Huston directing from his own screenplay, was in fact very similar to the book.
posted by spacely_sprocket at 9:42 AM on September 20, 2016



You must mean the novelization of Aliens, as there weren't Marines in Alien

Yep, good catch. Both books were tossed in the trash in my absence, so I was going from memory.
posted by Mogur at 9:42 AM on September 20, 2016


It's fascinating that movies that clock in under 2 hours can be stretched to a seven hour re-telling.

I haven't heard it, but presumably it begins by describing the Eric Stoltz Marty McFly, then has to go back and re-tell all those bits with the Michael J. Fox version. That's gotta be 45 minutes right there.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:54 AM on September 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


This looks amazing.

I read the novelization of Superman III as a kid, and I don't think I've ever actually seen the movie itself.

The novel gave Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor's character in the movie) a pretty rich inner dialogue - and if memory serves, a good chunk of the novel is told from his POV.

Servo5678 Gremlins really is insane with entire backstories for the creation of the mogwai: they come from space and were created by an alien race called Mogturmen.

IIRC correctly, it also went pretty heavily into the backstory of why Billy Peltzer hated Christmas, what with his dad breaking his neck in the chimney while pretending to be Santa one Christmas eve.*



* Why is this information still in my head?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:12 AM on September 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, also, the cover of Superman III had Pryor on it, so that fixed in my mind Gus Gorman looking and sounding like Pryor in my head. Which makes sense because I'm pretty sure I saw Brewster's Millions right around that time.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:16 AM on September 20, 2016


IIRC correctly, it also went pretty heavily into the backstory of why Billy Peltzer hated Christmas, what with his dad breaking his neck in the chimney while pretending to be Santa one Christmas eve.*
That's in the movie, but it's Kate's backstory. It's also memorably parodied in Gremlins 2 with another overwraught speech by Kate that gets cut off, this one about President's Day.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:32 AM on September 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Seeing Gremlins 2 in the movie theater opening night was SO MUCH FUN. The scene where the film breaks and the Gremlins' shadows appear from the projection booth [SPOILER ALERT] was utterly convincing as being a film break. I think when the film was transferred to VHS they remade this scene in ways appropriate to the medium.

I wonder if the novelization could in any way replicate that moment of a failure in reality intruding on the experience only to discover it was still part of the story.
posted by hippybear at 10:42 AM on September 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Seeing Gremlins 2 in the movie theater opening night was SO MUCH FUN. The scene where the film breaks and the Gremlins' shadows appear from the projection booth [SPOILER ALERT] was utterly convincing as being a film break. I think when the film was transferred to VHS they remade this scene in ways appropriate to the medium.

I remember that too. Little Trotsky was so upset at the time, and then so impressed. Finger Puppets!
posted by leotrotsky at 11:08 AM on September 20, 2016


Also, re: Gremlins 2... never have I been pandered to so effectively.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:13 AM on September 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


hippybear, the novelization of Gremlins 2 doesn't quite get there. Basically it has an extended monologue from the Smart Gremlin where the fourth wall break was in the film.
There. The novelizer, Mr. David Bischoff, Esq., has been successfully waylaid and is now tied up in the bathroom of his Los Angeles apartment.
Do not attempt to adjust your book.
We have control of the programming.
Please excuse the rudeness. You have previously known me as the "Gremlin that drank the brain fluid" — or, as Bischoff quaintly called me, Mr. Glasses. Believe it or not, in the screenplay, I am referred to as BRAIN GREMLIN.
I want to take this opportunity to talk to you about our philosophy toward life, so that we will not be misunderstood and branded as "monsters."
Yes, but faithful novel readers, I do not intend to cheat you. In the movie presentation, Gremlins take over the movie theater (ah, what a delicious conceit — excellent, Joe — was that you?) and Hulk Hogan comes to the rescue.
I do believe that Kenneth Tobey of THE THING is somewhere in there.
However, let us deal with more intellectual matters.
In the great paradigm of anti-intellectualism that is the vast American untermenchen, there needs to be a seismic quake of thought, a veritable avalanche of anarchy, to wake you somnambulent beings from your couch-potato torpor.
May I offer you the services of we Gremlins. You may hereafter refer to us as the New Capitalist Democratic Nice Folks.
Already our numbers are spreading out from the heart of America to aid you in this endeavor and although you may be viewing this physically for the first time now (except for those lucky citizens of Kingston Falls who received a foreshadow some years ago) our intellectual forces have been at work for some time, albeit embodied in human form.
According to my contacts with our crypto-CD's the Church of SubGenius it is generally not know, for instance, that the entirety of network television is programmed by proto-Capitalist Democrats.
However, the past is merely prologue, introduction, forward, with some long footnotes thrown in.
Our time is now!
So, my dear readers (oh, the few, the chosen literate who have been intelligent enough to purchase this volume) prepare for a New Age of the New Capitalist Demo —
Oh dear. Mr. Bischoff seems to have successfully axed his way out of the bathroom.
Methinks I need to fly and return this temporarily liberated keyboard to his suburb, urbane and witty prose —
Back I fly to the Clamp Cent...
I had completely forgotten that Gremlins 2 had a thinly-veiled Trump clone as its human villain.
posted by infinitewindow at 12:26 PM on September 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


Servo5678: I knew I was forgetting an article.
posted by BiggerJ at 7:16 PM on September 20, 2016


Oh, this is awesome. So much listening goodness.

I have the novelisation of the Goonies somewhere - it had a huge extra bit in the middle, something about floating along an underground river on a raft.
posted by kjs4 at 11:47 PM on September 21, 2016


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