So here we were, talking about the Cineverse, that secret alternate universe of B-movie worlds that can only be accessed with the aid of a special decoder ring and the words “See you in the funny papers!” Looking back at my original proposal, I remember I had the sample chapters, and I had the outline, which was how you sold books to a publisher back in ancient times. But what was I going to call the individual novels?
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I had watched a lot of movies in my youth and younger adult years. All sorts of movies, from foreign classics to bottom of the barrel B-movie programmers, basically everything from Bergman to the Bowery Boys. And I had a fondness for movies that had the kind of title their meager budgets could never live up to. THE GHOST OF DRAGSTRIP HOLLOW, say, or VIKING WOMEN VS. THE SEAS SERPENT (both actual films, btw). I tried to design the titles of the Cineverse books to have that same, slightly over-the-top flair. For the first two titles, I just tweaked movie titles I had heard before. The first book I called SLAVES OF THE VOLCANO GOD, which was me taking the name of an existing Eurothriller (SLAVES OF THE CANNIBAL GOD< which I believe starred Ursula Andress) and replacing one word to make it sound more like a Dorothy Lamour South Sea adventure. BRIDE OF THE SLIME MONSTER simply takes the title of one of the great terrible movies of all time, BRIDE OF THE MONSTER (perhaps Ed Woods' finest hour), and adding Slime to it, because what title is not improved by adding Slime? Think of it, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE SLIMY; ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE SLIME; RAIDERS OF THE LOST SLIME; VIVA SLIME VEGAS – the possibilities are endless.
But what about the third title? I knew the third book would contain a certain number of cartoon rabbits (including a really big guy named Thumper.) But how to bring those rabbits to life?
This was just around the time George Lucas was finishing off the original Star Wars trilogy. The third film was originally announced as REVENGE OF THE JEDI. The actual title when the film was released was the far more benign RETURN OF THE JEDI, which lacked the exploitation angle that I was so fond of. Hey, I thought, if Lucas was going to be too much of a Wimp to use "revenge" in his title, I'd use it instead.
Thus was born perhaps my best book title ever, REVENGE OF THE FLUFFY BUNNIES.
Walter Velez came up with another wonderful cover, completely representing actual scenes in the book (unlike some covers I might talk about.)
I’m once again reusing Walter’s original cover painting for my e-book. It still looks keen.