Thursday, April 30, 2015

Chandu the Magician

Every Thursday I will be posting excerpts from the Horror Crossover Encyclopedia relating to one particular horror series from television or film.

Release Date: 2008 (Setting is 1928)
Series: Tales of the Shadowmen
Horror Crosses: Fascinax; Invisible Man (novel); Phantom of the Louvre; Dracula (novel); Chandu the Magician
Non-Horror Crosses: Sherlock Holmes; Harry Dickson; James Bond; John Carter; Sexton Blake; Fantomas; Doc Ardan; Fu Manchu; Dr. Mabuse; Callan; Nyctalope; Nine Unknown; Shadow
The Story: Harry Dickson is asked by M of Her Majesty’s Secret Service to take the case involving three murders and is soon assisted by Fascinax.

Notes: Fascinax is a French occult investigator. There is mention of Griffin’s bandages and glasses from the Invisible Man. Belphegor is mentioned, from the Phantom of the Louvre. Seward’s Sanitarium is mentioned from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Roxor is mentioned, who is an enemy of Chandu the Magician. Dickson operates from Baker Street, residence of Sherlock Holmes. Professor Flax is also mentioned, a former foe of Dickson and Holmes. M here is probably the one after Mycroft Holmes, brother of Sherlock, and the one before Sir Miles Messervy from James Bond’s era. There is a mention of a U.S. Cavalry sword, likely (considering the context, the author, and the anthology) that of John Carter of Mars. Sexton Blake’s enemy M. Zenith is mentioned, as if Fantomas. Dr. Natas is also mentioned. Dr. Natas is from Doc Ardan: City of Gold and Lepers, and in the English translation was identified as Fu Manchu. Dr. Mabuse is also mentioned. He is the star of several silent films. Also mentioned are Callan (from the British television series) and the Leonid Zattan, enemy of the Nyctalope. The Nine Unknown are also mentioned. Though an immortal group secretly running the world, they are not so supernatural or horrific to be considered of the horror genre. Finally, Benedict Stark is mentioned, enemy of the Shadow, a hero of pulp and radio, who seems supernatural but in fact isn’t.


Release Date: 1932 (Contemporary Setting)
Series: Chandu the Magician
The Story: Frank Chandler learns how to use supernatural abilities in India, and goes forth to fight evil, particularly in this case the Egyptian villain Roxor.

Notes: This is the film based on the radio series. The radio series ran from 1931 to 1950, with the initial storyline being almost exactly the same of this film, except for changes due to medium format. Note how close in time the stories were told. Later Chandu stories really don’t make it clear if they are referring to the film or radio versions, and since both are so similar, I don’t consider them separate series. And like with King Kong, we can take the initial radio storyline and the first film and assume they are the same exact events, simply told from different perspectives. This film’s sequel is the 1934 Return of Chandu. It has been “non-cross” referenced in Masters of Magic (2008) and Grave Danger (2009). It has also been spoofed in two 1932 shorts: The Crystal Gazebo and Sham Poo, the Magician.

Release Date: April 2008 (Setting is 1933)
Series: Diogenes Club
Horror Crosses: Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos; Dracula (novel); Carnacki Ghost Finder; Chandu the Magician; The Magician; Rosemary’s Baby; A Visit to Anselm Oakes; The Black Cat; Casting the Runes; The Picture of Dorian Gray; Varney the Vampyre; Pandora and the Flying Dutchman; The Department of Queer Complaints; Green Tea; Carmilla; The Vampyre; Dr. Silence; The Dream Detective; The Secrets of Dr. Taverner; Some Ghost Stories
Non-Horror Crosses: Sherlock Holmes; Fu Manchu; Fantomas; Arsene Lupin; Kim Newman’s works; Decline and Fall/Return of the Native; Dr. Nikola; Doctor Who; The Man Who Would Be King; Blandings Castle Saga; Henry Merrivale; Bulldog Drummond; The Green Archer; The Saint; Sexton Blake; Jeeves and Wooster; Hercule Poirot; Rebecca; Lord Peter Wimsey; Philo Vance; Miss Marple; The Hands of Mr. Ottermole; The Drones Club; The Duc de Richelieu; Harry Dickson
The Story: Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club becomes involved in a wizard war.
Notes: All the crosses above have characters or things that either appear or are referenced in this story. As usual, Kim Newman packs another story chock full of crossover goodness. By now, I don’t think I need to explain Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos or Dracula. Carnacki is the famed Ghost Finder. Chandu is the main character of a 1930s radio series and two film serials. Both the films and the radio series are considered different perspectives of the same series, so the Chandu of this tale is the character from both radio and film. The Magician is a 1908 novel by W. Somerset Maugham. It is a story loosely based on true life occultist Aleister Crowley. Rosemary’s Baby is a classic movie about a woman impregnated by the devil. A Visit to Anselm Oakes is another story featuring a character based on Crowley, this time written by Christopher Isherwood. The Black Cat is another classic horror film. Casting the Runes is a collection of ghost stories by Montague Rhodes James. The Picture of Dorian Gray is the classic tale of the man who was immortal, while his picture aged. Varney the Vampire aka the Feast of Blood is one of the earliest vampire tales. Pandora and the Flying Dutchman is a tale of of woman named Pandora (who isn’t the one with the box), who becomes involved in events involving the legendary ghost. The Department of Queer Complaints from Carter Dickson is a secret group that solves cases that are unusual and unexplained. Green Tea is a story by J. Sheridan le Fanu, the author of Carmilla. And speaking of which, Carmilla is of course one of the first vampire books to have survived to today. The Vampyre is the book which features Lord Ruthven, who not only likely wrote the Ruthvenian (the vampire bible) but may also have been Angelus aka Angel (real name Liam) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Dr. Silence is Algernon Blackwood’s occult detective. The Dream Detective is Sax Rohmer’s occult detective Morris Klaw. The Secrets of Dr. Taverner are the adventures of “the occult Sherlock Holmes”. And I wasn’t being funny with Some Ghost Stories. This is a reference to a collection of stories from Alfred McLelland Burrage. As for the non-horror crosses, there’s no way I’m going into all of those as well. Suffice to say, all of those series, like the horror crosses, are in the Horror Universe.

Image result for THE RETURN OF CHANDU (FILM)

Release Date: October 1, 1934 (Contemporary setting)
Series: Chandu the Magician
The Story: Chandu’s girlfriend is kidnapped by an Egyptian cult.
Notes: This is a 12 part serial based on the radio show that was airing at the same time. This is a sequel to 1932’s Chandu the Magician. Though Bela Lugosi played Chandu’s foe Roxor in the first film, in this one Lugosi has taken over the role of Chandu. This serial was later repackaged as two films, The Return of Chandu and Chandu on the Magic Island. This film is later “non-cross” referenced in 1994’s Ed Wood.

Release Date: 1988 (Setting is 1941)
Series: The Prowler
Horror Crosses: White Zombie; Chandu the Magician; Dracula (novel -- sort of)
The Story: The Prowler is on a case that takes him to Haiti.
Notes: The Prowler is a modern day creation set in the pulp era. In this tale, he once again faces his recurring foe, Murder Legendre, who is originally from the film White Zombie. This story also creates the revelation that Murder Legendre and Chandu the Magician are brothers. Chandu was the main character of a radio show and two film serials. In the second of the films, Chandu was played by Bela Lugosi, who also played Murder Legendre in White Zombie. A Reverend Van Helsing also appears, who must be related to the other Van Helsings who fight vampires, monsters, and other evils.

Release Date: 2005 (Setting is 1941)
Series: Lady Arcane
Horror Crosses: Chandu the Magician
Non-Horror Crosses: Doc Savage; Femme Noir
The Story: An adventure of “Lady Arcane”, the beautiful stage magician heroine.
Notes: Lady Arcane is an adventuress created by Ron Fortier. She is said to have been trained by Chandu the Magician, the hero of the classic radio series and film serials. Arcane’s father is an archaeologist whom during this story is said to be in Hidalgo with Doc Savage. Much of this story occurs in Port Nocturne, the locale of the webcomic Femme Noir, and the cast of that series appear. Though I don’t always like to include web material, for fear of having to try to pull in every fan fiction crossover out there, I don’t mind if the work has made its way from the web to the mainstream.

Release Date: December 1988 (Contemporary Setting)
Series: The Prowler
Horror Crosses: Chandu the Magician
Non-Horror Crosses: The Fighting Devil Dogs; The Rack Man; Sgt. Strike; Iron Ace; The Rattler
The Story: The Prowler and his apprentice must rescue the granddaughter of one of the Prowler’s friends.
Notes: The Prowler is an 80s comic character whose adventures were mostly set in the golden age. The Prowler’s friend was one of the Fighting Devil Dogs from the film serial of the same name. In conversation, the Rack Man, Sgt. Strike, Iron Ace, the Rattler, and Chandu are mentioned. Hillman Comics published the adventures of Rack Man, Sgt. Strike and Iron Ace. The Rattler appeared in All-Thrill Comics. Chandu was the star of two film serials based on a radio series.

And in case you missed them, last week I posted regarding WHITE ZOMBIE and the previous week's subject was NOSFERATU.

And you can purchase the Horror Crossover Encyclopedia on Amazon.