Frankenstein’s Witch: Saint Lizzie, Pray For Us - A Porter Down Hollywood Mystery (hardback)
Nominated for the 2023 Rondo Award
1931. Universal Studios, Hollywood, is placing its hopes for Depression survival on Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s blasphemous saga of a man who made a Monster. During the shooting, a self-proclaimed witch, who performs a Black Mass in Malibu, sinuously infiltrates the company, seducing Colin Clive, the young, brilliant, alcoholic actor who plays Dr. Frankenstein.
The result: a shocking scandal and murder that Universal desperately hides to protect its epic horror film.
1967. Come the psychedelic “Summer of Love,” a witch is once again amok in Hollywood...with striking similarities to her 1931 predecessor. Someone burns the old Frankenstein set that still was standing on Universal’s back lot. An aged Boris Karloff, who’d played Frankenstein’s Monster, has received a death threat. A horrifying, ritualistic murder occurs. A veteran P.I. named Porter Down, who’d battled the 1931 witch, claims the atrocities are those of the original witch herself...who’s been dead for 36 years.
“I should know,” says the investigator. “I was the one who killed her.”
Wildly colorful historic fiction, Frankenstein’s Witch: St. Lizzie, Pray for Us is a macabre, time-traveling thriller, taking the reader back and forth to both Golden Age Hollywood of the early 1930s and the revolutionary drug world of the late 1960s. Spiking together film history, cultural revolution, and religious mania, it’s a haunting, sometimes heartbreaking story.
Gregory William Mank is an acclaimed film historian whose books include It’s Alive! The Classic Cinema of Frankenstein; Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff: A Haunting Collaboration; and the two-volume Women in Horror Films 1930s and 1940s. He’s written and narrated the audio commentaries for such films as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), The Black Cat (1934), Cat People (1942), and The Lodger (1944), written scores of magazine articles, and appeared on many documentaries, including the recent theatrical release Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster (2021). The winner of four Rondo awards, he lives in Delta, PA with his wife of 49-years, Barbara. Please visit his website: www.gregorymank.com.