While a great faceoff for a Midnite Movie feature, the above represents two titles from the Lilly Library’s sizeable and eclectic science fiction and horror film script collection. The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), scripted by Richard Matheson from his 1956 novel, The Shrinking Man, is an acknowledged sci fi classic while The Exorcist (1973) is still considered by many to be the scariest motion picture ever made. Unlike the majority of the scripts in the collection which feature dialogue, The Incredible Shrinking Man is a “picturization,” the entire film story boarded in over 600 drawings (see Figs. 1 and 2). Like many scripts in the collection, The Exorcist is a revision and contains dialogue not included in the final version of the film (see Fig. 3). The scripts representing these genres run the gamut from classic films like The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Forbidden Planet (1956), Planet of the Apes (1968), to lesser known B movies like The Vampire’s Ghost (1945), Monster from the Ocean Floor (1954), The Brain Eaters (1958), and Blood Orgy of the She-Devils (1972). Hammer Films, the British studio which redefined horror in the late 1950s, is represented by The Quatermass Experiment (1955), The Mummy (1959), The Phantom of the Opera (1962), Quatermass and the Pit (1967), and Lust for a Vampire (1971). Scripts for the films of legendary independent producer/director Roger Corman include The Viking Women and the Sea Serpent (1957), and two films from his well-regarded Edgar Allan Poe cycle, The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) and The Masque of the Red Death (1964). Fans of serials should consult Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940) and two Republic Studio chapter plays, Flying Disc Man from Mars (1950) and Canadian Mounties vs. Atomic Invaders (1953). To browse the collection (many are not listed in IUCAT), ask the Lilly’s Reading Room attendant for the Shelf List call number PN6120 .S42 for a complete alphabetical list of scripts with detailed descriptions. Copying of any kind is prohibited without prior permission of the studio and/or the script’s author.
David K. Frasier, Reference Librarian, Lilly Library
Fig. 1. Artist sketch of the spider fight sequence in The Incredible Shrinking Man (Universal-International Pictures, 1957).
Fig. 2. Closely corresponding scene from the film with actor Grant Williams.
Fig. 3. Sample page from The Exorcist script (PN6120 .S42 E97) written by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel featuring dialogue not used in the original 1973 Warner Bros. release.