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Robert Bloch

Robert Bloch

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Robert Albert Bloch was a prolific American writer
Writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

, primarily of crime
Crime fiction
Crime fiction is the literary genre that fictionalizes crimes, their detection, criminals and their motives. It is usually distinguished from mainstream fiction and other genres such as science fiction or historical fiction, but boundaries can be, and indeed are, blurred...

, horror
Horror fiction
Horror fiction also Horror fantasy is a philosophy of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its readers, inducing feelings of horror and terror. It creates an eerie atmosphere. Horror can be either supernatural or non-supernatural...

 and science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

. He is best known as the writer of Psycho, the basis for the film of the same name
Psycho (1960 film)
Psycho is a 1960 American suspense/psychological horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. The film is based on the screenplay by Joseph Stefano, who adapted it from the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch...

 by Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

. He many times remarked that he had "the heart of a little boy", quipping "I keep it in a jar on my desk."

Bloch wrote hundreds of short stories and over 20 novels, usually crime fiction, science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 and, perhaps most influentially, horror fiction
Horror fiction
Horror fiction also Horror fantasy is a philosophy of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its readers, inducing feelings of horror and terror. It creates an eerie atmosphere. Horror can be either supernatural or non-supernatural...

 (Psycho). He was one of the youngest members of the Lovecraft Circle. H. P. Lovecraft
H. P. Lovecraft
Howard Phillips Lovecraft --often credited as H.P. Lovecraft — was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction....

 was Bloch's mentor and one of the first to seriously encourage his talent. However, while Bloch started his career by emulating Lovecraft and his brand of cosmic horror, he later specialised in crime and horror stories dealing with the inner workings of the human mind.

Bloch was a contributor to pulp magazine
Pulp magazine
Pulp magazines , also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long...

s such as Weird Tales
Weird Tales
Weird Tales is an American fantasy and horror fiction pulp magazine first published in March 1923. It ceased its original run in September 1954, after 279 issues, but has since been revived. The magazine was set up in Chicago by J. C. Henneberger, an ex-journalist with a taste for the macabre....

 in his early career, and was also a prolific screenwriter
Screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

 and a major contributor to science fiction fanzine
Science fiction fanzine
A science fiction fanzine is an amateur or semi-professional magazine published by members of science fiction fandom, from the 1930s to the present day...

s and fandom
Fandom
Fandom is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest...

 in general.

He won the Hugo Award
Hugo Award
The Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was officially named the Science Fiction Achievement Awards...

 (for his story "That Hell-Bound Train
That Hell-Bound Train
"That Hell-Bound Train" is a fantasy short story by Robert Bloch from 1958 that won the Hugo Award in 1959. It was originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in September 1958.-Plot summary:...

"), the Bram Stoker Award
Bram Stoker Award
The Bram Stoker Award is a recognition presented by the Horror Writers Association for "superior achievement" in horror writing. The awards have been presented annually since 1987, and the winners are selected by ballot of the Active members of the HWA...

, and the World Fantasy Award
World Fantasy Award
The World Fantasy Awards are annual, international awards given to authors and artists who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of fantasy...

. He served a term as president of the Mystery Writers of America
Mystery Writers of America
Mystery Writers of America is an organization for mystery writers, based in New York.The organization was founded in 1945 by Clayton Rawson, Anthony Boucher, Lawrence Treat, and Brett Halliday....

 (1970) and was a member of that organisation and of Science Fiction Writers of America, the Writers' Guild, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures...

 and the Count Dracula
Count Dracula
Count Dracula is a fictional character, the titular antagonist of Bram Stoker's 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula and archetypal vampire. Some aspects of his character have been inspired by the 15th century Romanian general and Wallachian Prince Vlad III the Impaler...

 Society. In 2008, The Library of America selected Bloch’s story “The Shambles of Ed Gein” for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American true crime
True crime
True crime is a non-fiction literary and film genre in which the author examines an actual crime and details the actions of real people.The crimes most commonly include murder, but true crime works have also touched on other legal cases. Depending on the writer, true crime can adhere strictly to...

.

His favourites among his own novels were The Kidnapper, The Star Stalker, Psycho, Night-World and Strange Eons.

Background


Bloch was born in Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, the son of Raphael "Ray" Bloch (1884–1952), a bank cashier, and his wife Stella Loeb (1880–1944), a social worker, both of German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

-Jewish descent. Bloch's family moved to Maywood
Maywood, Illinois
Maywood is a village in Proviso Township, Cook County, Illinois, United States. It was founded on April 6, 1869 and organized October 22, 1881. The population was 26,987 at the 2000 census.-Overview:...

, a Chicago suburb, when he was five. He attended the Methodist Church there despite his parents' Jewish heritage. At eight or nine years of age, living in Maywood, he attended a screening of Lon Chaney, Sr.
Lon Chaney, Sr.
Lon Chaney , nicknamed "The Man of a Thousand Faces," was an American actor during the age of silent films. He was one of the most versatile and powerful actors of early cinema...

's Phantom of the Opera late at night on his own. The scene of Chaney removing his mask terrified the young Bloch and sparked his interest in horror.

In 1929 Ray Bloch lost his bank job, and the family moved to Milwaukee, where Stella worked at the Milwaukee Jewish Settlement
Lizzie Black Kander
Lizzie Black Kander was the founder of a settlement house in Milwaukee, where she originated The Settlement Cookbook.She was born in Wisconsin to German Jewish immigrants. In 1896 she founded the Keep Clean Mission at B'ne Jeshurun Temple in Milwaukee to help educate young Jewish girls to...

 settlement house. Robert attended Washington, then Lincoln High School
Lincoln High School (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Lincoln High School was a public high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the corner of Cass and Knapp Streets. It was a part of the Milwaukee Public Schools system....

, where he met lifelong friend Harold Gauer. Gauer was editor of The Quill, Lincoln's literary magazine
Literary magazine
A literary magazine is a periodical devoted to literature in a broad sense. Literary magazines usually publish short stories, poetry and essays along with literary criticism, book reviews, biographical profiles of authors, interviews and letters...

, and accepted Bloch's first published short story, a horror story titled "The Thing" (the "thing" of the title was Death
Death (personification)
The concept of death as a sentient entity has existed in many societies since the beginning of history. In English, Death is often given the name Grim Reaper and, from the 15th century onwards, came to be shown as a skeletal figure carrying a large scythe and clothed in a black cloak with a hood...

). Both Bloch and Gauer graduated from Lincoln in 1932 during the height of the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

. Bloch was involved in the drama department at Lincoln and wrote and performed in school vaudeville skits.

Influence of H.P. Lovecraft on early writing career


During the 1930s, Bloch was an avid reader of the pulp magazine Weird Tales. H. P. Lovecraft
H. P. Lovecraft
Howard Phillips Lovecraft --often credited as H.P. Lovecraft — was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction....

, a frequent contributor to that magazine, became one of his favorite writers. As a teenager, Bloch wrote fan letter to Lovecraft (1933), who gave him advice on his own fiction-writing efforts. Bloch's first publication was with the short story "Lilies" in the semi-professional magazine Marvel Tales (Winter 1934). Bloch began correspondence with August Derleth
August Derleth
August William Derleth was an American writer and anthologist. Though best remembered as the first publisher of the writings of H. P...

, Clark Ashton Smith
Clark Ashton Smith
Clark Ashton Smith was a self-educated American poet, sculptor, painter and author of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories. He achieved early local recognition, largely through the enthusiasm of George Sterling, for traditional verse in the vein of Swinburne...

 and others of the 'Lovecraft Circle'. Bloch's first professional sales, at the age of 17 (July 1934), were to Weird Tales with the short stories "The Feast in the Abbey" and "The Secret in the Tomb". "Feast..." appeared first, in the January 1935 issues which actually went on sale November 1, 1934.

Bloch's early stories were strongly influenced by Lovecraft. Indeed, a number of his stories were set in, and extended, the world of Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos
Cthulhu Mythos
The Cthulhu Mythos is a shared fictional universe, based on the work of American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft.The term was first coined by August Derleth, a contemporary correspondent of Lovecraft, who used the name of the creature Cthulhu - a central figure in Lovecraft literature and the focus...

. It was Bloch who invented, for example, the oft-cited Mythos texts De Vermis Mysteriis
De Vermis Mysteriis
De Vermis Mysteriis, or Mysteries of the Worm, is a fictional grimoire created by Robert Bloch and incorporated by H. P. Lovecraft into the lore of the Cthulhu Mythos.-Creation:...

 and Cultes des Goules.

The young Bloch appears, thinly disguised, as the character "Robert Blake
Robert Harrison Blake
Robert Harrison Blake is a fictional character in the Cthulhu Mythos. The character is the creation of H. P. Lovecraft and appears in his short story "The Haunter of the Dark" .-Summary:...

" in Lovecraft's story "The Haunter of the Dark
The Haunter of the Dark
"The Haunter of the Dark" is a horror story in the Cthulhu Mythos genre. It was written by H. P. Lovecraft in November 1935, and published in the December 1936 edition of Weird Tales...

" (1936), which is dedicated to Bloch. (Bloch was the only individual to whom Lovecraft ever dedicated a story). In this story, Lovecraft kills off the Bloch character, repaying a courtesy Bloch earlier paid Lovecraft with his 1935 tale "The Shambler from the Stars", in which the Lovecraft-inspired figure dies; the story goes so far as to use Bloch's then-current street address in Milwaukee. (Bloch even had a signed certificate from Lovecraft [and some of his creations] giving Bloch permission to kill Lovecraft off in a story.) Bloch later wrote a third tale, "The Shadow From the Steeple", picking up where "The Haunter of the Dark
The Haunter of the Dark
"The Haunter of the Dark" is a horror story in the Cthulhu Mythos genre. It was written by H. P. Lovecraft in November 1935, and published in the December 1936 edition of Weird Tales...

" finished (Weird Tales Sept 1950). After Lovecraft's death in 1937, Bloch continued writing for Weird Tales, where he became one of its most popular authors. He also began contributing to other pulps, such as the science fiction magazine Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories was an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction...

.

After Lovecraft's death in 1937, which affected Bloch deeply, Bloch broadened the scope of his fiction. His horror themes included voodoo ("Mother of Serpents"), the conte cruel ("The Mandarin's Canaries'), demonic possession
Demonic possession
Demonic possession is held by many belief systems to be the control of an individual by a malevolent supernatural being. Descriptions of demonic possessions often include erased memories or personalities, convulsions, “fits” and fainting as if one were dying...

 ("Fiddler's Fee"), and black magic
Black magic
Black magic is the type of magic that draws on assumed malevolent powers or is used with the intention to kill, steal, injure, cause misfortune or destruction, or for personal gain without regard to harmful consequences. As a term, "black magic" is normally used by those that do not approve of its...

 ("Return to the Sabbat"). Bloch visited Henry Kuttner
Henry Kuttner
Henry Kuttner was an American author of science fiction, fantasy and horror.-Early life:Henry Kuttner was born in Los Angeles, California in 1915...

 in California in 1937. Bloch's first science fiction story, "The Secret of the Observatory", was published in Amazing Stories (August 1938).

Milwaukee Fictioneers and Depression period


In 1935 Bloch joined a writers' group, The Milwaukee Fictioneers, members of which included Stanley Weinbaum, Ralph Milne Farley and Raymond A. Palmer
Raymond A. Palmer
Raymond Arthur Palmer was the influential editor of Amazing Stories from 1938 through 1949, when he left publisher Ziff-Davis to publish and edit Fate Magazine, and eventually many other magazines and books through his own publishing houses, including Amherst Press and Palmer Publications...

. Another member of the group was Gustav Marx, who offered Bloch a job writing copy in his advertising firm, also allowing Bloch to write stories in his spare time in the office. Bloch was close friends with C.L. Moore and her husband Henry Kuttner
Henry Kuttner
Henry Kuttner was an American author of science fiction, fantasy and horror.-Early life:Henry Kuttner was born in Los Angeles, California in 1915...

, who visited him in Milwaukee.

During the years of the Depression, Bloch appeared regularly in dramatic productions, writing and performing in his own sketches. Around 1936 he sold some gags to radio comedians Stoopnagle and Budd
Stoopnagle and Budd
Stoopnagle and Budd were a popular radio comedy team of the 1930s, who are sometimes cited as forerunners of the Bob and Ray style of radio comedy...

, and to Roy Atwell
Roy Atwell
Jay Leroy Atwell was an American actor, comedian, and composer. He was educated at the Sargent School of Acting, and appeared in 34 films between 1914 and 1947. He is probably famous for his voice performance as Doc the Head Dwarf in Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs...

.

Campaign manager for Carl Zeidler


In 1939, Bloch was contacted by James Doolittle
Jimmy Doolittle
General James Harold "Jimmy" Doolittle, USAF was an American aviation pioneer. Doolittle served as a brigadier general, major general and lieutenant general in the United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War...

, who was managing the campaign for a little-known assistant attorney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin named Carl Zeidler
Carl Zeidler
Carl Frederick Zeidler was the mayor of the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from 1940 to 1942.Born in Milwaukee, he graduated from Marquette University in 1929 and receiving a J.D...

. He was asked to work on his speechwriting, advertising, and photo ops, in collaboration with Harold Gauer. They created elaborate campaign shows; in Bloch's 1993 autobiography, Once Around the Bloch, he gives an inside account of the campaign, and the innovations he and Gauer came up with — for instance, the original releasing-balloons-from-the-ceiling shtick. He comments bitterly on how, after Zeidler's victory, they were ignored and not even paid their promised salaries. He ends the story with a wryly philosophical point:

The 1940s and 1950s


In the 1940s, Bloch created the humorous series character Lefty Feep in a story for Fantastic Adventures
Fantastic Adventures
Fantastic Adventures was an American pulp science fiction magazine, published from 1939 to 1953 by Ziff-Davis. It was initially edited by Ray Palmer, who was also the editor of Amazing Stories, Ziff-Davis's other science fiction title. The first nine issues were in bedsheet format, but in June 1940...

. He also worked for a time in local vaudeville
Vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

 and tried to break into writing for nationally-known performers.

In 1944 he was asked to write 39 15-minute episodes of a radio horror show called Stay Tuned for Terror. Many of the programs were adaptations of his own pulp stories. None of the episodes, which were all broadcast, are extant.

A year later August Derleth
August Derleth
August William Derleth was an American writer and anthologist. Though best remembered as the first publisher of the writings of H. P...

's Arkham House
Arkham House
Arkham House is a publishing house specializing in weird fiction founded in Sauk City, Wisconsin in 1939 by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei to preserve in hardcover the best fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. The company's name is derived from Lovecraft's fictional New England city, Arkham. Arkham House...

, Lovecraft's publisher, published Bloch's first collection of short stories, The Opener of the Way. At the same time, his best-known early tale, "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper", received considerable attention through readings on radio and republication in anthologies. This story was the foundation on which Bloch built his reputation for a concern with inner horror rather than the external world of strange creatures.

Bloch gradually evolved away from Lovecraftian imitations towards a unique style of his own. One of the first distinctly "Blochian" stories was "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper", which was published in Weird Tales in 1943. The story was Bloch's take on the Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper
"Jack the Ripper" is the best-known name given to an unidentified serial killer who was active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The name originated in a letter, written by someone claiming to be the murderer, that was disseminated in the...

 legend, and was filled out with more genuine factual details of the case than many other fictional treatments. It cast the Ripper as an eternal being who must make human sacrifice
Human sacrifice
Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual . Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history...

s to extend his immortality
Immortality
Immortality is the ability to live forever. It is unknown whether human physical immortality is an achievable condition. Biological forms have inherent limitations which may or may not be able to be overcome through medical interventions or engineering...

. It was adapted for both radio (in Stay Tuned for Terror) and television (as an episode of Thriller in 1961 written by Barré Lyndon
Barré Lyndon
Barré Lyndon was a British playwright and screenwriter. The pseudonym was presumably taken from the title character of Thackeray's novel....

). Bloch followed up this story with a number of others in a similar vein dealing with half-historic, half-legendary figures such as the Man in the Iron Mask
Man in the Iron Mask
The Man in the Iron Mask is a name given to a prisoner arrested as Eustache Dauger in 1669 or 1670, and held in a number of jails, including the Bastille and the Fortress of Pignerol . He was held in the custody of the same jailer, Bénigne Dauvergne de Saint-Mars, for a period of 34 years...

 ("Iron Mask", 1944), the Marquis de Sade
Marquis de Sade
Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade was a French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher, and writer famous for his libertine sexuality and lifestyle...

 ("The Skull of the Marquis de Sade", 1945) and Lizzie Borden ("Lizzie Borden Took an Axe...", 1946).

Bloch's first novel was the thriller The Scarf (1947). (He later issued a revised edition in 1966). It tells the story of a writer, Daniel Morley, who uses real women as models for his characters. But as soon as he is done writing the story, he is compelled to murder them, and always the same way: with the maroon scarf he has had since childhood. The story begins in Minneapolis and follows him and his trail of dead bodies to Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, and finally Hollywood, where his hit novel is going to be turned into a movie, and where his self-control may have reached its limit.

Bloch published three novels in 1954 – Spiderweb, The Kidnapper and The Will to Kill as he endeavoured to support his family. That same year he was a weekly guest panellist on the TV quiz show It's a Draw. Shooting Star (1958), a mainstream novel, was published in a double volume with a collection of Bloch's stories titled Terror in the Night. This Crowded Earth (1958) was science fiction.

With the demise of Weird Tales, Bloch continued to have his fiction published in Amazing, Fantastic and Fantastic Universe. His output of thrillers increased and he began to appear regularly in The Saint, Ellery Queen
Ellery Queen
Ellery Queen is both a fictional character and a pseudonym used by two American cousins from Brooklyn, New York: Daniel Nathan, alias Frederic Dannay and Manford Lepofsky, alias Manfred Bennington Lee , to write, edit, and anthologize detective fiction.The fictional Ellery Queen created by...

 and similar mystery magazines.

Jack the Ripper in later work


Bloch continued to revisit the Jack the Ripper theme. His contribution to Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison
Harlan Jay Ellison is an American writer. His principal genre is speculative fiction.His published works include over 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, teleplays, essays, a wide range of criticism covering literature, film, television, and print media...

's 1967 science fiction anthology Dangerous Visions
Dangerous Visions
Dangerous Visions is a science fiction short story anthology edited by Harlan Ellison, published in 1967.A path-breaking collection, Dangerous Visions helped define the New Wave science fiction movement, particularly in its depiction of sex in science fiction...

 was a story, "A Toy for Juliette
A Toy for Juliette
"A Toy for Juliette" is a short story by Robert Bloch from Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions, about Jack the Ripper, being pulled into a dystopic future by a sadistic femme fatale and her mysterious grandfather. There, she attempts to seduce him, only for Jack to find a knife underneath a pillow...

", which evoked both Jack the Ripper and the Marquis de Sade
Marquis de Sade
Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade was a French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher, and writer famous for his libertine sexuality and lifestyle...

 in a time-travel story. The same anthology had Ellison's sequel to it titled "The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World
The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World
"The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World", is a short story from Harlan Ellison's 1967 anthology, Dangerous Visions, in which he presents a collection of several different views of science fiction and fantasy, through 34 authors...

". His earlier idea of the Ripper as an immortal being resurfaced in Bloch's contribution to the original Star Trek
Star Trek
Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry. The core of Star Trek is its six television series: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise...

 series episode "Wolf in the Fold". His 1984 novel Night of the Ripper is set during the reign of Queen Victoria and follows the investigation of Inspector Frederick Abberline
Frederick Abberline
Frederick George Abberline was a Chief Inspector for the London Metropolitan Police and was a prominent police figure in the investigation into the Jack the Ripper murders of 1888.-Early life:...

 in attempting to apprehend the Ripper, and includes some famous Victorians such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle within the storyline.

Psycho


Bloch won the prestigious SF Hugo award in 1959, the same year that Psycho was published. Bloch had written an earlier short story involving split personalities, "The Real Bad Friend", which appeared in the February, 1957 Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, that foreshadowed the 1959 novel Psycho. However, Psycho also has thematic links to the story "Lucy Comes to Stay".

Norman Bates
Norman Bates
Norman Bates is a fictional character created by writer Robert Bloch as the central character in his novel Psycho, and portrayed by Anthony Perkins as the main antagonist of the 1960 film of the same name directed by Alfred Hitchcock...

, the main character in Psycho, was loosely based on two people. First was the real-life serial killer
Serial killer
A serial killer, as typically defined, is an individual who has murdered three or more people over a period of more than a month, with down time between the murders, and whose motivation for killing is usually based on psychological gratification...

 Ed Gein
Ed Gein
Edward Theodore "Ed" Gein - July 26, 1984) was an American murderer and body snatcher. His crimes, committed around his hometown of Plainfield, Wisconsin, gathered widespread notoriety after authorities discovered Gein had exhumed corpses from local graveyards and fashioned trophies and keepsakes...

, about whom Bloch later wrote a fictionalised account, "The Shambles of Ed Gein". (The story can be found in Crimes and Punishments: The Lost Bloch, Volume 3). Second, it has been indicated by several people, including Noel Carter (wife of Lin Carter
Lin Carter
Linwood Vrooman Carter was an American author of science fiction and fantasy, as well as an editor and critic. He usually wrote as Lin Carter; known pseudonyms include H. P. Lowcraft and Grail Undwin.-Life:Carter was born in St. Petersburg, Florida...

) and Chris Steinbrunner
Chris Steinbrunner
Peter Christian Steinbrunner was an Edgar Award-winning American author, broadcaster and historian specializing in detective film and fiction....

, as well as allegedly by Bloch himself, that Norman Bates was partly based on Calvin Beck, publisher of Castle of Frankenstein
Castle of Frankenstein
Castle of Frankenstein was an American horror, science fiction and fantasy film magazine, distributed by Kable News and published in New Jersey from 1962 to 1975 by Calvin Thomas Beck's Gothic Castle Publishing Company. The first three issues were edited by Larry Ivie and Ken Beale. From 1963 and...

.

Though Bloch had little involvement with the film version of his novel
Psycho (1960 film)
Psycho is a 1960 American suspense/psychological horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. The film is based on the screenplay by Joseph Stefano, who adapted it from the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch...

, which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

 from an adapted screenplay by Joseph Stefano
Joseph Stefano
Joseph Stefano was an American screenwriter, known to genre fans for writing the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and for being the producer and co-writer of the Outer Limits TV series.-Early years:As a teenager, Stefano was so keen to become an actor that he dropped out of high school two...

, he was to become most famous as its author.

The novel is one of the first examples at full length of Bloch's use of modern urban horror relying on the horrors of interior psychology rather than the supernatural. "By the mid-1940s, I had pretty well mined the vein of ordinary supernatural themes until it had become varicose," Bloch explained to Douglas Winter in an interview. "I realized, as a result of what went on during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and of reading the more widely disseminated work in psychology, that the real horror is not in the shadows, but in that twisted little world inside our own skulls." While Bloch was not the first horror writer to utilise a psychological approach (that honour belongs to to J. Sheridan Le Fanu), Bloch's psychological approach in modern times was comparatively unique.

Bloch's agent, Harry Altshuler, received a "blind bid" for the novel - the buyer's name wasn't mentioned - of $7,500 for screen rights to the book. The bid eventually went to $9,500, which Bloch accepted. Bloch had never sold a book to Hollywood before. His contract with Simon and Schuster included no bonus for a film sale. The publisher took 15 percent according to contract, while the agent took his 10%; Bloch wound up with about $6,750 before taxes. Despite the enormous profits generated by Hitchcock's film, Bloch received no further direct compensation.

Only Hitchcock's film was based on Bloch's novel. The later films in the Psycho series bear no relation to either of Bloch's sequel novels. Indeed, Bloch's proposed script for the film Psycho II was rejected by the studio (as were many other submissions), and it was this that he subsequently adapted for his own sequel novel. Bates dies in Bloch's second Psycho novel, and has been dead for several years in Bloch's third novel entitled Psycho House.

The 1960s: Hollywood and screenwriting


Following his move to Hollywood, around 1960, Bloch had multiple assignments from various television companies. However, he was not allowed to write for five months when the Writers Guild
Writers Guild of America
The Writers Guild of America is a generic term referring to the joint efforts of two different US labor unions:* The Writers Guild of America, East , representing TV and film writers East of the Mississippi....

 had a strike. After the strike was over, he became a much used scriptwriter in television and film projects in the mystery, suspense, and horror genre. His first assignments were for the Macdonald Carey
Macdonald Carey
Edward Macdonald Carey was an American actor, best known for his role as the patriarch Dr. Tom Horton on NBC's soap opera Days of our Lives...

 vehicle, Lock-Up
Lock-Up (TV series)
Lock-Up is an American legal drama series that premiered in syndication in September 1959 and concluded in June 1961. The half-hour episodes had little time for character development or subplots and presented a compact story without embellishment....

, (penning five episodes) as well as one for Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith is a 1948 western film starring Alan Ladd as a railroad detective assigned to stop a gang of train robbers.It is based on a novel by Frank H. Spearman and a previous 1926 film adaptation starring H.B...

, and an original screenplay for the 1962 film The Couch
The Couch
"The Couch" is the 91st episode of NBC sitcom Seinfeld. This was the 5th episode for the 6th season. It aired on October 27, 1994.-Plot:Kramer plans to start a "pizza business where you make your own pie" with Poppie . Jerry and Elaine's discussion of the abortion issue causes trouble at Poppie's...

. Further TV work included an episode of Bus Stop
Bus Stop (TV series)
Bus Stop is a 26-episode drama which aired on ABC from October 1, 1961, until March 25, 1962, starring Marilyn Maxwell as Grace Sherwood, the owner of a bus station and diner in the fictitious town of Sunrise in the Colorado Rockies...

, 10 episodes of Thriller
Thriller (US TV series)
Thriller is an anthology television series that aired during the 1960–61 and 1961–62 seasons on NBC. The show featured host Boris Karloff introducing a mix of macabre horror tales and suspense thrillers....

 (1960-62 some based on his stories), and 10 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series hosted by Alfred Hitchcock. The series featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. By the premiere of the show on October 2, 1955, Hitchcock had been directing films for over three decades...

 (1960–62). In 1962, he wrote the screenplay for The Cabinet of Caligari
The Cabinet of Caligari
The Cabinet of Caligari is a film by Roger Kay, starring Glynis Johns, Dan O'Herlihy, and Richard Davalos, and released by 20th Century Fox....

 (1962), an unhappy experience (see Films section below).

In 1962, Bloch penned the story and teleplay "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" for Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series hosted by Alfred Hitchcock. The series featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. By the premiere of the show on October 2, 1955, Hitchcock had been directing films for over three decades...

. The episode was shelved when the NBC Television Network and sponsor Revlon
Revlon
Revlon is an American cosmetics, skin care, fragrance, and personal care company founded in 1932.-History:Revlon was founded in the midst of the Great Depression, 1932, by Charles Revson and his brother Joseph, along with a chemist, Charles Lachman, who contributed the "L" in the Revlon name...

 called its ending "too gruesome" (by 1960s standards) for airing. Bloch was pleased later when the episode was included in the program's syndication package to affiliate stations where not one complaint was registered. Today, due to public domain
Public domain
Works are in the public domain if the intellectual property rights have expired, if the intellectual property rights are forfeited, or if they are not covered by intellectual property rights at all...

 status, the episode is readily available in home media formats from numerous distributors and is even available on free video on demand
Video on demand
Video on Demand or Audio and Video On Demand are systems which allow users to select and watch/listen to video or audio content on demand...

. For details of Bloch's scripts for Hitchcock shows see

His TV work did not slow Bloch's fictional output. In the early 1960s he published several novels, including The Dead Beat (1960), and Firebug (1961) (for which Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison
Harlan Jay Ellison is an American writer. His principal genre is speculative fiction.His published works include over 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, teleplays, essays, a wide range of criticism covering literature, film, television, and print media...

, then an editor at Regency Books, contributed the first 1200 words). In 1962 his novels The Couch (1962) (the basis for the screenplay of his first movie, filmed the same year) and Terror (originally titled Kill for Kali) were published.

Bloch wrote original screenplays for two movies produced and directed by William Castle
William Castle
William Castle was an American film director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. Castle was known for directing films with many gimmicks which were ambitiously promoted, despite being reasonably low budget B-movies....

, Strait-Jacket
Strait-Jacket
Strait-Jacket is a 1964 American thriller film starring Joan Crawford and Diane Baker in a macabre mother and daughter tale about a series of axe-murders. Released by Columbia Pictures, the film was directed and produced by William Castle, and co-produced by Dona Holloway...

 (1964) and The Night Walker
The Night Walker (film)
The Night Walker is a black-and-white psychological suspense thriller by genre specialist William Castle, with a screenplay by Robert Bloch, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Taylor, Hayden Rorke, Judi Meredith, and Lloyd Bochner as "The Dream." The film was one of the last black and white...

 (1964), along with The Skull (1965). The latter film was based on his short story "The Skull of the Marquis de Sade".

Marriages and family


On October 2, 1940, Bloch married Marion Ruth Holcombe; it was reportedly a marriage of convenience designed to keep Bloch out of the army. During their marriage, she suffered (initially undiagnosed) tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 of the bone, which affected her ability to walk.

After working for 11 years for the Gustav Marx Advertising Agency in Milwaukee, Bloch left in 1953 and moved to Weyauwega
Weyauwega
Weyauwega can refer to:* Weyauwega city in Waupaca County, Wisconsin, United States* Weyauwega town in Waupaca County, Wisconsin, United States...

, Marion's home town, so she could be close to friends and family. Although she was eventually cured of tuberculosis, she and Bloch divorced in 1963. Bloch's daughter Sally (born 1943) elected to stay with him. On January 18, 1964, Bloch met recently widowed Eleanor (Elly) Alexander (née Zalisko) (who had lost her first husband, writer/producer John Alexander, to a heart attack three months earlier) and made her his second wife in a civil ceremony on October 16 of that year. Eleanor was a fashion model and cosmetician. They honeymooned in Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

, and in 1965 visited London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, then British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

. They remained happily married until Bloch's death. Eleanor Bloch died March 7, 2007 at the Betel Home in Selkirk
Selkirk
The Royal Burgh of Selkirk is a town in the Borders of Scotland. It lies on the Ettrick Water, a tributary of the River Tweed. At the time of the 2001 census, Selkirk's population was 5,839. The people of the town are known as Souters, meaning cobblers.Selkirk was formerly the county town of...

.

The 1960s and screenwriting continued


In 1964 Bloch wrote two movies for William Castle
William Castle
William Castle was an American film director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. Castle was known for directing films with many gimmicks which were ambitiously promoted, despite being reasonably low budget B-movies....

 - Straight-Jacket and The Night Walker.

Bloch's further TV writing in this period included The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (7 episodes, 1962–1965), I Spy
I Spy
I Spy is an American television secret-agent adventure series. It ran for three seasons on NBC from 1965 to 1968 and teamed Robert Culp as international tennis player Kelly Robinson with Bill Cosby as his trainer, Alexander Scott...

 (1 episode, 1966), Run for Your Life (1 episode, 1966), and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.
The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.
The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. is an American spy-fi TV series that aired on NBC for one season from September 16, 1966 to April 11, 1967. The series was a spin-off from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and used the same theme music composed by Jerry Goldsmith, which was rearranged into a slightly different,...

 (1 episode, 1967). He notably penned three original scripts for the original series of Star Trek
Star Trek: The Original Series
Star Trek is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry, produced by Desilu Productions . Star Trek was telecast on NBC from September 8, 1966, through June 3, 1969...

 (1966–67): "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", "Wolf in the Fold" (a Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper
"Jack the Ripper" is the best-known name given to an unidentified serial killer who was active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The name originated in a letter, written by someone claiming to be the murderer, that was disseminated in the...

 variant), and "Catspaw".

His novels of this period include Ladies Day/This Crowded Earth (1968)(sf), The Star Stalker (1968)and The Todd Dossier (1969)(the book publication of which bears the byline "Collier Young").

In 1968 Bloch returned to London to do two episodes for the Hammer Films series Journey to the Unknown for Twentieth Century Fox. One of the episodes. "The Indian Spirit Guide", was included in the TV movie Journey to Midnight (1968).

Following the 1965 movie The Skull which was based on a Bloch story but scripted by Milton Subotsky
Milton Subotsky
Milton Subotsky was an American TV and film writer/producer. In 1964, in England, he formed Amicus Productions with Max J Rosenberg.Together they produced a number of low budget science fiction and horror films....

, between 1966 and 1972 Bloch wrote no less than five feature movies for Amicus Productions
Amicus Productions
Amicus Productions is a British film production company, based at Shepperton Studios, England. It was founded by American producer and screenwriter Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg.-Horror:...

 - The Psychopath, The Deadly Bees, Torture Garden, The House That Dripped Blood
The House That Dripped Blood
The House That Dripped Blood is a 1970 British horror anthology film directed by Peter Duffell and distributed by Amicus Productions. It stars Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Nyree Dawn Porter, Denholm Elliott, and Jon Pertwee...

 and Asylum, the last two films featured stories written by Bloch that were printed first in anthologies he wrote in the 1940s and early 1950s.

In 1969 he was invited to the Film festival in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

, along with other science fiction writers from the US, Britain and Europe.

The 1970s and 1980s


During the 1970s Bloch wrote two TV movies for director Curtis Harrington
Curtis Harrington
Curtis Harrington was an American film and television director whose work included experimental films, horror films, and episodic television.-Biography:...

 - The Cat Creature and The Dead Don't Die. Bloch meanwhile (interspersed between his screenplays for Amicus Productions), penned single episodes for Night Gallery
Night Gallery
Night Gallery is an American anthology series that aired on NBC from 1970 to 1973, featuring stories of horror and the macabre. Rod Serling, who had gained fame from an earlier series, The Twilight Zone, served both as the on-air host of Night Gallery and as a major contributor of scripts, although...

 (1971), Ghost Story (1972), The Manhunter
The Manhunter
The Manhunter is an American crime drama that was part of CBS' lineup for the 1974 - 1975 television season. The series was produced by Quinn Martin and starred Ken Howard as Dave Barret, a 1930s-era private investigator from Idaho...

 (1974), and Gemini Man
Gemini Man
Gemini Man is an American action/adventure drama series that aired on NBC in 1976. This is the third of four weekly television series based on the H. G. Wells science fiction novel, The Invisible Man.-Synopsis:...

 (1976).

In 1975 Bloch was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the First World Fantasy Convention held in Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

. The award was a bust of H.P. Lovecraft. An audio recording was made of Robert Bloch during that 1975 convention, accessible at the following link. http://www.archive.org/details/FirstWorldFantasyConvention1975

Bloch continued to published short story collections throughout this period. His Complete Stories (so-called) appeared in three volumes just prior to his death, although many previously uncollected tales have appeared in volumes published since 1997 (see below).

His numerous novels of this two decade period range from science fiction (Sneak Preview (1971)) through horror novels such as the Lovecraftian Strange Eons (1978) and Night of the Ripper), his two sequels to the original Psycho (Psycho II and Psycho House), and late novels such as the thriller Lori (1989) and The Jekyll Legacy (with Andre Norton
Andre Norton
Andre Alice Norton, née Alice Mary Norton was an American science fiction and fantasy author under the noms de plume Andre Norton, Andrew North and Allen Weston...

 (1991), a sequel to Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer. His best-known books include Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde....

's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Omnibus editions of hard-to-acquire early novels appeared as Unholy Trinity (1986) and Screams (1989).

Bloch's screenplay-writing career continued active through the 1980s, with teleplays for Tales of the Unexpected (one episode, 1980), Darkroom (two episodes,1981), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1 episode, 1986), Tales from the Darkside
Tales from the Darkside
Tales from the Darkside is an anthology horror TV series produced by George A. Romero; it originally aired from 1983 to 1988. Similar to Amazing Stories, The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, The Outer Limits, and Tales From The Crypt, each episode was an individual short story that ended with a plot...

 (three episodes, 1984–87) and Monsters (three episodes, 1988–1989). No further screen work appeared in the last five years before his death, although an adaptation of his "collaboration" with Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...

, "The Lighthouse", was filmed as an episode of The Hunger in 1998.

In February 1991 he was given the Honour of Master of Ceremonies at the first World Horror Convention
World Horror Convention
The World Horror Convention is an annual professional gathering of the World Horror Society and other interested parties.-Site selection:Historically, all World Horror Conventions have been held in the United States or Canada, usually alternating between east and west sides of the country...

 held in Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

.

Death


In 1994, Bloch died of cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 at the age of 77. in Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

 after a writing career lasting 60 years, including more than 30 years in television and film. He was cremated
Cremation
Cremation is the process of reducing bodies to basic chemical compounds such as gasses and bone fragments. This is accomplished through high-temperature burning, vaporization and oxidation....

 and interred in the Room of Prayer columbarium
Columbarium
A columbarium is a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns . The term comes from the Latin columba and originally referred to compartmentalized housing for doves and pigeons .The Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas is a particularly fine ancient Roman example, rich in...

 at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
The Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery is a cemetery in the Westwood Village area of Los Angeles, California. It is located at 1218 Glendon Avenue in Westwood....

 in Los Angeles. His wife Elly is also interred there.

Writings on Bloch


An early reference work by Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n writer Graeme Flanagan, Robert Bloch: A Bio-Bibliography (1979) includes interviews with Bloch and memoirs by fellow writers such as Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison
Harlan Jay Ellison is an American writer. His principal genre is speculative fiction.His published works include over 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, teleplays, essays, a wide range of criticism covering literature, film, television, and print media...

, Richard Matheson
Richard Matheson
Richard Burton Matheson is an American author and screenwriter, primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. He is perhaps best known as the author of What Dreams May Come, Bid Time Return, A Stir of Echoes, The Incredible Shrinking Man, and I Am Legend, all of which have been...

, Mary Elizabeth Counselman
Mary Elizabeth Counselman
Mary Elizabeth Counselman was an American writer of short stories and poetry.- Biography :Mary Elizabeth Counselman was born on November 19, 1911 in Birmingham, AL and began writing poetry as a child. She later moved to Gainesville, Georgia where her father was a faculty member at the Riverside...

 and Fritz Leiber
Fritz Leiber
Fritz Reuter Leiber, Jr. was an American writer of fantasy, horror and science fiction. He was also a poet, actor in theatre and films, playwright, expert chess player and a champion fencer. Possibly his greatest chess accomplishment was winning clear first in the 1958 Santa Monica Open.. With...

.

An essay by Lee Prosser about Robert Bloch was published in The Roswell Literary Review at Roswell, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
Roswell is a city in and the county seat of Chaves County in the southeastern quarter of the state of New Mexico, United States. The population was 48,366 at the 2010 census. It is a center for irrigation farming, dairying, ranching, manufacturing, distribution, and petroleum production. It is also...

, 1996.

The Existential Robert Bloch, an interview by Lee Prosser with Bloch in March 1983, was published at Michael G. Pfefferkorn's The Bat is My Brother website.

"A Conversation With Lee Prosser," an in-depth interview with Lee Prosser about Bloch by Michael G. Pfefferkorn on May 31, 2002 was published at Michael G. Pfefferkorn's The Unofficial Robert Bloch Website.

Randall D. Larson published and edited an early tribute to Bloch, The Robert Bloch Fanzine (Fandom Unlimited, 1972). He later authored three reference books about Robert Bloch: The Robert Bloch Reader's Guide (1986, a literary analysis of Bloch's entire output through 1986), The Complete Robert Bloch (1986, an illustrated bibliography of Bloch's writing), and The Robert Bloch Companion (1986, collected interviews). In addition, an issue of Paperback Parade magazine (No. 39, August 1994) contains two articles by Larson on collecting Bloch - "Paperblochs: Robert Bloch in Paperback" and "Robert Bloch in Paperback".

Crypt of Cthulhu magazine No 40 (Vol. 5 No. 6 St. John's Eve, 1986). was a special Robert Bloch issue. It included some story reprints by Bloch, essays on his work and bibliography of his books by R. Dixon Smith.

In the anthology My Favorite Horror Story (DAW, 2000), edited by Mike Baker and Martin H. Greenberg, influential horror writers in the field picked their favourite stories. Out of 15 tales, Bloch is the only author represented by two stories. Stephen King
Stephen King
Stephen Edwin King is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy fiction. His books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books...

 chose "Sweets to the Sweet" and Joe R. Lansdale
Joe R. Lansdale
Joe R. Lansdale is an American author and martial-arts expert. He has written novels and stories in many genres, including Western, horror, science fiction, mystery, and suspense...

 chose "The Animal Fair".

There is an essay on Bloch's work, with particular reference to the novels Psycho (novel) and The Scarf, in S. T. Joshi
S. T. Joshi
Sunand Tryambak Joshi — known as S. T. Joshi — is an award-winning Indian American literary critic, novelist, and a leading figure in the study of Howard Phillips Lovecraft and other authors of weird and fantastic fiction...

's book The Modern Weird Tale (2001). Joshi examines Bloch's literary relationship with Lovecraft in a further essay in The Evolution of the Weird Tale (2004).

A more recent essay collection focusing on a range of Bloch's work is Robert Bloch: the Man Who Collected Psychos, edited by Benjamin J. Szumskyj
Benjamin J. Szumskyj
Benjamin J. Szumskyj is an Australian who formerly was an editor, author and critic of weird fiction, horror and fantasy literature.-Literary Work:Between 2003 and 2008 he edited several books on authors such as Robert E...

 (McFarland, 2009).

Comic adaptations


A number of Bloch's works have been adapted in graphic form for comics. These include:
  • "The Beasts of Barsac" (aka "The Living Dead") in Vampire Tales
  • "The Past Master" in Christopher Lee
    Christopher Lee
    Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ is an English actor and musician. Lee initially portrayed villains and became famous for his role as Count Dracula in a string of Hammer Horror films...

    's Treasury of Terror. NY: Pyramid, 1967.
  • "The Shambler from the Stars"
  • a. in Journey Into Mystery 3 (Marvel Comics, Feb 1973). Script by Ron Goulart
    Ron Goulart
    Ron Goulart is an American popular culture historian and mystery, fantasy and science fiction author.The prolific Goulart wrote many novelizations and other routine work under various pseudonyms: Kenneth Robeson , Con Steffanson , Chad Calhoun, R.T...

    , art by Jim Starlin and Tom Palmer.
  • b. in Masters of Terror 1 (Marvel large size b&w, July 1975).
  • "The Man Who Cried Wolf" (as "The Man Who Cried Werewolf!") in Monsters Unleashed 1 (Marvel Comics, large size b&w, 1973). Script by Gerry Conway, art by Pablo Marcos.
  • "The Shadow from the Steeple" in Journey Into Mystery 5 (Marvel Comics, June 1973)
  • "The Fear Planet" (as "And the Blood Ran Green") in Starstream 4 (Whitman, 1976). Script by Arnold Drake, art by Nevio Zaccara.
  • Hell on Earth. Standalone graphic adaptation by Keith Giffen and Robert Loren Fleming, based on Bloch's story from Weird Tales
    Weird Tales
    Weird Tales is an American fantasy and horror fiction pulp magazine first published in March 1923. It ceased its original run in September 1954, after 279 issues, but has since been revived. The magazine was set up in Chicago by J. C. Henneberger, an ex-journalist with a taste for the macabre....

     (1942). DC Comics
    DC Comics
    DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner...

    , 1985.
  • "A Toy for Juliette" in Deepest Dimensions 1 (1993).
  • Lori Standalone graphic adaptation by Ben Templesmith. (IDW, 2009).
  • "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper"
  • a. in Journey Into Mystery 2 (Marvel Comics, Dec 1972). Script by Ron Goulart
    Ron Goulart
    Ron Goulart is an American popular culture historian and mystery, fantasy and science fiction author.The prolific Goulart wrote many novelizations and other routine work under various pseudonyms: Kenneth Robeson , Con Steffanson , Chad Calhoun, R.T...

    , art by Gil Kane and Ralph Reese.
  • b. in Masters of Terror 1 (Marvel large size b&w, July 1975)
  • c. as three-issue mini-series (IDW, 2010) and also collected as trade paperback (IDW, 2011). Scripted by Joe R. Lansdale
    Joe R. Lansdale
    Joe R. Lansdale is an American author and martial-arts expert. He has written novels and stories in many genres, including Western, horror, science fiction, mystery, and suspense...

    .
  • "Final Performance" in Doomed 1 (IDW, 2010). Adapted by Kristian Donaldson and Chris Ryall. Also included in Completely Doomed graphic anthology (IDW, 2011).
  • "Warm Farewell" in Doomed 2 (IDW, 2010)
  • "Fat Chance" in Doomed 3 (IDW, 2010).(Also includes a remembrance of Bloch by Jack Ketchum
    Jack Ketchum
    Jack Ketchum is the pseudonym for American author Dallas Mayr . He is the recipient of four Bram Stoker Awards and three further nominations. Many of his novels have been adapted to film, including The Girl Next Door and Red...

    .)
  • "Ego Trip" in Doomed 4 (IDW, 2010).
  • "That Hellbound Train". 3-issue mini-series. (IDW, 2011). Scripted by Joe R. Lansdale


The comic Aardwolf (No 2, Feb 1995) is a special tribute issue to Bloch. It contains brief tributes to Bloch from Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison
Harlan Jay Ellison is an American writer. His principal genre is speculative fiction.His published works include over 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, teleplays, essays, a wide range of criticism covering literature, film, television, and print media...

, Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury
Ray Douglas Bradbury is an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man , Bradbury is one of the most celebrated among 20th...

, Richard Matheson
Richard Matheson
Richard Burton Matheson is an American author and screenwriter, primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. He is perhaps best known as the author of What Dreams May Come, Bid Time Return, A Stir of Echoes, The Incredible Shrinking Man, and I Am Legend, all of which have been...

, Julius Schwartz
Julius Schwartz
Julius "Julie" Schwartz was a comic book and pulp magazine editor, and a science fiction agent and prominent fan. He was born in the Bronx, New York...

 and Peter Straub
Peter Straub
Peter Francis Straub is an American author and poet, most famous for his work in the horror genre. His horror fiction has received numerous literary honors such as the Bram Stoker Award, World Fantasy Award, and International Horror Guild Award, placing him among the most-honored horror authors in...

 incorporated within a piece called "Robert Bloch: A Retrospective" compiled by Clifford Lawrence. The first part of the text of Bloch's story 'The Past Master" is also reprinted in this issue.

Audio adaptations


A number of Bloch's works have been adapted for audio productions. For details on Stay Tuned for Terror, see 1940s section above.

Other adaptations include:
  • "Almost Human". May 1950 NBC radio broadcast from Dimension X and 1955 NBC radio broadcast from show X Minus One. Available for download from: http://cthulhuwho1.com/2010/10/09/a-robert-bloch-story-almost-human-on-x-minus-one-11-august-1955/. Audio of this story also included on Isaac Asimov
    Isaac Asimov
    Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

     and Martin H. Greenberg
    Martin H. Greenberg
    Martin Harry Greenberg was an American speculative fiction anthologist and writer.-Biography:Dr. Martin H. Greenberg was born March 1, 1941, to Max and Mae Greenberg in South Miami Beach, Florida...

     (eds) Friends, Robots, Countrymen. Dercum Audio, 1997. ISBN 1-55656-256-X.
  • Gravely, Robert Bloch. Alternate World Recordings, 1976. LP. Bloch himself reads "That Hellbound Train" and "Enoch".
  • Blood! The Life and Times of Jack the Ripper. Alternate World recordings, 1977. LP (2 record set). Bloch himself reads "Yours Truly Jack the Ripper" and "A Toy for Juliette". Harlan Ellison
    Harlan Ellison
    Harlan Jay Ellison is an American writer. His principal genre is speculative fiction.His published works include over 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, teleplays, essays, a wide range of criticism covering literature, film, television, and print media...

     reads his "The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World"
  • Psycho House (Psycho III). Sunset Productions/Audio gems, June 1992. ISBN 156431037X. Read by Mike Steele. 2 cassettes. Abridged?
  • Thrillogy. Read by Roger Zelazny
    Roger Zelazny
    Roger Joseph Zelazny was an American writer of fantasy and science fiction short stories and novels, best known for his The Chronicles of Amber series...

    . Sunset Productions, 1993. Includes the three Bloch stories "That Hellbound Train", "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper", and "The Movie People. (1 cassette, running time 90 mins). ISBN 1-800-829-5723
  • Psycho. Read by Kevin McCarthy
    Kevin McCarthy
    -Politicians:*Kevin McCarthy , United States Representative from California's 22nd congressional district*Kevin McCarthy , member of the Iowa House of Representatives...

    . Listen for Pleasure, 1986. ISBN 0-88646-165-0 (2 cassettes, abridged, running time 2 hours). Reissued Feb 1999 ISBN 0886464927.
  • Psycho II: The Nightmare Continues. Sunset Productions, Aug 1992. ISBN 1564310191.
  • "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper" on The Greatest Mysteries of All Time. Newstar Media, 1994. ISBN 0787120928. 1 cassette. Packaged with "Hight Darktown" by James Ellroy
    James Ellroy
    Lee Earle "James" Ellroy is an American crime fiction writer and essayist. Ellroy has become known for a so-called "telegraphic" prose style in his most recent work, wherein he frequently omits connecting words and uses only short, staccato sentences, and in particular for the novels The Black...

    . Read by Arte Johnson and Robert Forster. Running time ?
  • The Living Dead. Stellar Audio Vol 5: Horror edition (Brilliance Audio), Aug 1996. Packaged with You'll Catch Your Death by P.N. Elrod. ISBN 1567409709. 1 cassette. Running time 90 mins.
  • Psycho. Read by William Hootkins
    William Hootkins
    William Michael Hootkins was an American character actor, most famous for supporting roles in Hollywood blockbusters such as Star Wars, Batman and Raiders of the Lost Ark.-Early life:...

    . Magmasters Sound Studios/ABC Audio, 1997. (2 cassettes, running time 3 hours). ISBN 1840070021.
  • "The Movie People" on Hollywood Fantasies - Ten Surreal Visions of Tinsel Town. Dove Audio/Audio Literature, 1997. 4 cassettes. Running time 6 hours. Unabridged. ISBN 0787109460
  • "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper". On The Greatest Horror Stories of the 20th Century edited by Martin Greenberg. Dove Audio, 1998. Read by various readers. 4 cassettes. Running time 6 hours. ISBN 0787117234
  • Psycho. BBC Radio Collection, June 2000. Read by William Hope. ? cassettes. Abridged. ISBN 0563477105.
  • "A Good Knight's Work". Adapted by George Zarr, performed by a full cast. Seeing Ear Theatre, 2001. Running time 44 mins.
  • Psycho. Blackstone Audio, Feb 2009. Read by Paul Michael Garcia. ISBN 9781433257056 (4 cassette set), 9781433257094 (1 mp3-cd), 9781433257063 (5 cd set). Unabridged. Running times 5.6 hours. Playaway preloaded digital audio ed with earbuds, Sept 2009 ISBN 1433257130
  • This Crowded Earth. Librivox, March 2009. Read by Gregg Margarite. (3 CD set, running time 3 hours, 30 mins). Available for download from Librivox: http://librivox.org/this-crowded-earth-by-robert-bloch/
  • Psycho. (In German). Read by Matthias Brandt. (5 Cd set). Der Audio Verlag, 2011. ISBN 978-3-89813-975-5


Various recordings of Bloch speaking at fantasy and sf conventions are also extant. Many of these are available for download from Will Hart's CthulhuWho site: http://cthulhuwho1.com/2010/09/18/robert-bloch-speaks-of-lovecraft-and-more-from-the-grave/

Novels

  • In the Land of Sky-Blue Ointment (with Harold Gauer) (c. 1938) (unpublished, though characters and episodes from this book appear in later Bloch short stories, such as "The Travelling Salesman" and "The Strange Island of Dr Nork". The character Lefty Feep also appears for the first time in this work.

. Bloch's estate has blocked publication). Plot summary at: http://mgpfeff.home.sprynet.com/gauer_sky-blue.html
  • Nobody Else Laughed (with Harold Gauer) (1939) (unpublished)
  • The Scarf (1947, rev. 1966)
  • Spiderweb (1954)
  • The Kidnapper (1954)
  • The Will to Kill (1954)
  • Shooting Star (1958) (note: published in a double volume with the ss collection Terror in the Night) No ISBN - identified only as Ace Double D-265
  • This Crowded Earth (1958) (original magazine appearance; published as book in double format with Ladies Day 1968 - see below)
  • Psycho (1959). UK: Robert Hale, April 1960. (adapted into the 1960 film, Psycho
    Psycho (1960 film)
    Psycho is a 1960 American suspense/psychological horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. The film is based on the screenplay by Joseph Stefano, who adapted it from the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch...

    , directed by Alfred Hitchcock
    Alfred Hitchcock
    Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

    ; later remade
    Psycho (1998 film)
    Psycho is a 1998 American horror film produced and directed by Gus Van Sant for Universal Pictures, a remake of the 1960 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock...

     in 1998 by Gus Van Sant
    Gus Van Sant
    Gus Green Van Sant, Jr. is an American director, screenwriter, painter, photographer, musician, and author. He is a two time nominee of the Academy Award for Best Director for his 1997 film Good Will Hunting and his 2008 film Milk, both of which were also nominated for Best Picture, and won the...

    )
  • The Dead Beat (1960). No ISBN. An 'Inner Sanctum' Mystery. Library of Congress Card No 60-6100.
  • Firebug (1961)
  • The Couch (1962). Novelisation by Bloch of his screenplay for the previously filmed movie (see Movies section below).
  • Terror (Belmont Books, 1962) No ISBN; Belmont L92-537 (Working title: Amok).
  • Ladies Day / This Crowded Earth (1968) ISBN 0-507-50759-125
  • The Star Stalker (Pyramid Books, 1968). Pyramid T-1869.
  • The Todd Dossier (1969, Delacorte US; Macmillan UK - no ISBN.)(as by Collier Young
    Collier Young
    Film producer and writer Collier Young worked on many films in the 1950s before becoming a television producer for such shows as NBC's Ironside and CBS's The Wild, Wild West as well as the supernatural series One Step Beyond .Young was married to actress and director Ida Lupino from 1948 to 1951,...

    ). Note: The byline on this book is not a Bloch pseudonym; Collier Young
    Collier Young
    Film producer and writer Collier Young worked on many films in the 1950s before becoming a television producer for such shows as NBC's Ironside and CBS's The Wild, Wild West as well as the supernatural series One Step Beyond .Young was married to actress and director Ida Lupino from 1948 to 1951,...

     was a film producer who had secured a book deal with Bloch for his planned film called THE TODD DOSSIER. Bloch wrote the novel based on a story by Joan Didion
    Joan Didion
    Joan Didion is an American author best known for her novels and her literary journalism. Her novels and essays explore the disintegration of American morals and cultural chaos, where the overriding theme is individual and social fragmentation...

     and John Gregory Dunne
    John Gregory Dunne
    John Gregory Dunne was an American novelist, screenwriter and literary critic.-Life:He was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and was a younger brother of author Dominick Dunne. He suffered from a severe stutter and took up writing to express himself. Eventually he learned to speak normally by...

    . The film was never made; Bloch, who had contracted for a paperback release, was shocked to learn that the producer had placed his own name on the book as author when it was published in hardcover editions.
  • Sneak Preview (Paperback Library, 1971) ISBN 0-446-64660-075
  • It's All in Your Mind (Curtis Books, 1971). Reprinted from its Imaginative Tales 1955 magazine appearance, where it was titled 'The Big Binge". "The Big Binge" can also be found in The Lost Bloch, Volume One (see below).
  • Night World (Simon & Schuster, 1972). UK: Robert Hale, 1974. ISBN 0-7091-3805-9
  • American Gothic
    American Gothic (novel)
    American Gothic is a psychological horror novel by Robert Bloch.-Synopsis:Inspired by the case of real life serial killer H. H. Holmes, the story follows maniacal surgeon G. Gordon Gregg, who preys on young beautiful women and, luring them into his labyrinthine castle, kills them in the most...

     (Simon & Schuster, 1974)ISBN 0-671-21691-0. Note: This novel was inspired by the true life story of mass murderer H.H. Holmes. Bloch also wrote a 40,000 word essay based on his research for the novel, "Dr Holmes' Murder Castle" (first published in Reader's Digest Tales of the Uncanny, 1977; since reprinted in Crimes and Punishments: The Lost Bloch, Vol 3", 2002).
  • Strange Eons (Whispers Press, 1978) (a Cthulhu Mythos
    Cthulhu Mythos
    The Cthulhu Mythos is a shared fictional universe, based on the work of American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft.The term was first coined by August Derleth, a contemporary correspondent of Lovecraft, who used the name of the creature Cthulhu - a central figure in Lovecraft literature and the focus...

     novel). ISBN 0-918372-30-5 (trade ed); 0-918372-29-1 (signed/boxed ed.)
  • There Is a Serpent in Eden (1979). Reissued as The Cunning (Zebra Books, 1979). ISBN 0-89083-825-9
  • Psycho II
    Psycho II (novel)
    Psycho II is a 1982 novel that Robert Bloch wrote as a sequel to his 1959 novel Psycho. The novel was completed before the screenplay was written for the unrelated 1983 film Psycho II. According to Bloch, Universal Pictures loathed the novel, which was intended to critique Hollywood splatter films...

     (Whispers Press, 1982). 0-91832-09-7 (trade ed); 0-918372-08-9 (signed/boxed ed, 750 copies). (Unrelated to the film of the same name)
  • Twilight Zone: The Movie
    Twilight Zone: The Movie
    Twilight Zone: The Movie is a 1983 science fiction horror film produced by Steven Spielberg and John Landis as a theatrical version of The Twilight Zone, a 1959 and '60s TV series created by Rod Serling. Those starring in the film are: Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks, Vic Morrow, Scatman Crothers,...

    . (Warner Books, 1983). Novelisation of the Warner Bros movie, based on stories by John Landis
    John Landis
    John David Landis is an American film director, screenwriter, actor, and producer. He is known for his comedies, his horror films, and his music videos with singer Michael Jackson.-Early life and career:...

    , George Clayton Johnson
    George Clayton Johnson
    George Clayton Johnson is an American science fiction writer most famous for co-writing the novel Logan's Run with William F. Nolan...

    , Richard Matheson
    Richard Matheson
    Richard Burton Matheson is an American author and screenwriter, primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. He is perhaps best known as the author of What Dreams May Come, Bid Time Return, A Stir of Echoes, The Incredible Shrinking Man, and I Am Legend, all of which have been...

    , Josh Rogan, and Jerome Bixby
    Jerome Bixby
    Drexel Jerome Lewis Bixby was an American short story writer, editor and scriptwriter, best known for his work in science fiction. He also wrote many westerns and used the pseudonyms D. B. Lewis, Harry Neal, Albert Russell, J. Russell, M. St...

    . ISBN 0-446-30840-4
  • Night of the Ripper
    Night of the Ripper
    Night of the Ripper is a novel written by American writer Robert Bloch, the author of Psycho. The story is set during the reign of Queen Victoria and follows the investigation of Inspector Abberline in attempting to apprehend Jack the Ripper and includes some famous Victorians such as Sir Arthur...

     (Doubleday,1984).ISBN 0-385-19422-6. Novel about Jack the Ripper
    Jack the Ripper
    "Jack the Ripper" is the best-known name given to an unidentified serial killer who was active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The name originated in a letter, written by someone claiming to be the murderer, that was disseminated in the...

    .
  • Unholy Trinity (collects The Scarf, The Couch and The Dead Beat(Scream/Press Press, 1986). ISBN 0-910489-09-2 (Trade edition and 350 copy boxed ed signed by author and artist bear the same ISBN)
  • Lori (Tor, 1989) ISBN 0-312-93176-X.
  • Screams: Three Novels of Suspense (collects The Will to Kill, Firebug and The Star Stalker)(Underwood-Miller, 1989) ISBN 0-88733-079-7 (trade edition); 0-88733-080-0 (signed edition, 300 numbered copies).
  • Psycho House
    Psycho House
    Psycho House is a 1990 novel that Robert Bloch wrote as a sequel to his 1959 novel Psycho and 1982 novel Psycho II....

     (Tor, 1990) ISBN 0-312-93217-0.(Unrelated to the films Psycho II, Psycho III
    Psycho III
    Psycho III is a 1986 sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. The film stars Anthony Perkins , Diana Scarwid, Jeff Fahey and Roberta Maxwell. The screenplay is written by Charles Edward Pogue...

     or Psycho IV: The Beginning
    Psycho IV: The Beginning
    Psycho IV: The Beginning is a 1990 made-for-cable-television horror film that serves as both the third sequel and a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho, as it includes both events after Psycho III while focusing on flashbacks of events that took place prior to the original film...

    )
  • The Jekyll Legacy (Tor, 1991) ISBN 0-312-85037-9.
  • Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper (1991) (Pulphouse; a 100-copy hardbound signed edition of Bloch's famous short story) ISBN 1-56146-906-8
  • The Thing (1993) (Pretentious Press; a limited edition of 85 copies, only 9 bound in cloth, of the author's first appearance in print - a parody of H.P. Lovecraft which originally appeared in the April 1932 issue of The Quill, his Lincoln High School literary magazine)
  • Psycho - The 35th Anniversary Edition (Gauntlet Press, 1994). ISBN 0-9629659-9-5. Limited edition of 500 copies. The last work to be signed by Bloch before his death; includes a new intro by Richard Matheson
    Richard Matheson
    Richard Burton Matheson is an American author and screenwriter, primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. He is perhaps best known as the author of What Dreams May Come, Bid Time Return, A Stir of Echoes, The Incredible Shrinking Man, and I Am Legend, all of which have been...

     and a new Afterword by Ray Bradbury
    Ray Bradbury
    Ray Douglas Bradbury is an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man , Bradbury is one of the most celebrated among 20th...

    )

Short-story collections

  • The Thing (1932) actually a single short story (parodying the style of H.P. Lovecraft, the author's first, but initially published in book form by The Pretentious Press in (1993)
  • A Portfolio Of Some Rare And Exquisite Poetry By The Bard Of Bards (1937 or 1938) written under the pseudonym Sarcophagus W. Dribble. One page folded to make 4. Poetry.
  • The Opener of the Way
    The Opener of the Way
    The Opener of the Way is a collection of fantasy and horror short stories by author Robert Bloch. It was released in 1945 and was the author's first book...

     (Arkham House, 1945)
  • Sea Kissed (London: Utopian, 1945)
  • Terror in the Night (Ace Books, 1958) (note: published in a double volume with the novel Shooting Star) No ISBN - D-265 on spine.
  • Pleasant Dreams: Nightmares
    Pleasant Dreams: Nightmares
    Pleasant Dreams: Nightmares is a collection of fantasy and horror short stories by author Robert Bloch. It was released in 1960 and was the author's second book published by Arkham House. It was released in an edition of 2,060 copies....

     (Arkham House,1960)
  • Blood Runs Cold (1961). UK: Robert Hale, 1963. No ISBN.
  • Nightmares (1961)
  • More Nightmares (Belmont Books, 1961). No ISBN - Belmont #L92-530
  • Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper (Belmont Books, 1962) No ISBN - L 92-527 on spine.
  • Atoms and Evil (1962)
  • Horror 7 (Belmont Books, 1963). No ISBN. Belmont #90-275
  • Bogey Men (Pyramid Books, March 1963) No ISBN; Pyramid F-839. Includes the essay "Psycho-Logical Bloch" by Sam Moskowitz
    Sam Moskowitz
    Sam Moskowitz was an early fan and organizer of interest in science fiction and, later, a writer, critic, and historian of the field.-Biography:...

    .
  • House of the Hatchet (Belmont Books, 1960). UK: Tandem Books, 1965. No ISBN - T19 on spine.
  • The Skull of the Marquis de Sade (1965). UK: Robert Hale, 1975.
  • Tales in a Jugular Vein (Pyramid Books, 1965) No ISBN - R-1130 on spine.
  • Chamber of Horrors (Award Books, 1966) No ISBN; Award Books A187X.
  • The Living Demons (Belmont Books, Sept 1967) No ISBN - Belmont B50-787.
  • Dragons and Nightmares: Four Short Novels (Mirage, 1968) No ISBN . Voyager series V-102.
  • Bloch and Bradbury: Whispers from Beyond (Peacock Press, 1969) No ISBN.
  • Fear Today, Gone Tomorrow (Award Books/Tandem Books, 1971) No ISBN Award/Tandem 426 & A811S on spine; AQ 1469 on front cover.
  • The King of Terrors: Tales of Madness and Death (The Mysterious Press, 1977) ISBN 0-89296-029-9 (trade ed); 0-89296-030-2 (limited ed).
  • The Best of Robert Bloch (Del Rey/Ballantine, 1977). ISBN 0-345-25757-X-195. Introduction by Lester Del Rey
    Lester del Rey
    Lester del Rey was an American science fiction author and editor. Del Rey was the author of many of the Winston Science Fiction juvenile SF series, and the editor at Del Rey Books, the fantasy and science fiction branch of Ballantine Books, along with his fourth wife Judy-Lynn del Rey.-Birth...

    .
  • Cold Chills (Doubleday, 1977). ISBN 0-385-12421-X.
  • Out of the Mouths of Graves (Mysterious Press, 1978) ISBN 0-89296-043-4 (trade ed); 0-89296-044-2 (limited ed).
  • The Laughter of a Ghoul/What Every Young Ghoul Should Know (Necronomicon Press, 1978)
  • Such Stuff as Screams Are Made Of (Ballantine Books, 1979) ISBN 0-345-27996-4.
  • Mysteries of the Worm (Zebra Books, 1981). ISBN 0-89083-815-1. Introduction "Demon-Dread Lore" by Lin Carter
    Lin Carter
    Linwood Vrooman Carter was an American author of science fiction and fantasy, as well as an editor and critic. He usually wrote as Lin Carter; known pseudonyms include H. P. Lowcraft and Grail Undwin.-Life:Carter was born in St. Petersburg, Florida...

  • Midnight Pleasures (Doubleday,1987) ISBN 0-385-19439-0.
  • Lost in Space and Time With Lefty Feep (Creatures at Large Press, 1987). ISBN 0-940064-03-0 (trade ed); 0-940064-01-4 (boxed/deluxe ed, 250 copies signed). Note: This book was designated "Volume One" but in fact no further volumes of the series were published.
  • Selected Stories of Robert Bloch (Underwood-Miller, 1987, 3 vols).

Note: The following three entries represent paperback reprints of the Underwood Miller Selected Stories set. Complete Stories is a misnomer as these three volumes do not contain anywhere near the complete oeuvre of Bloch's short fiction.
  • The Complete Stories of Robert Bloch: Volume 1: Final Reckonings (1987)
  • The Complete Stories of Robert Bloch: Volume 2: Bitter Ends (1987)
  • The Complete Stories of Robert Bloch: Volume 3: Last Rites (1987)
  • Fear and Trembling (1989)
  • Mysteries of the Worm (rev. 1993) from Chaosium
    Chaosium
    Chaosium is one of the longer lived publishers of role-playing games still in existence. Founded by Greg Stafford, its first game was actually a wargame, White Bear and Red Moon, which later mutated into Dragon Pass and its sequel, Nomad Gods...

     books
  • The Early Fears
    The Early Fears
    The Early Fears is a collection of fantasy and horror short stories by author Robert Bloch. It was released in 1994 by Fedogan & Bremer in an edition of 2,400 copies, of which 100 were signed by the author...

     (1994). Fedogan & Bremer. ISBN 1-878252-12-7 (trade ed); 1-878252-13-5 (limited ed).
  • Flowers from the Moon and Other Lunacies
    Flowers from the Moon and Other Lunacies
    Flowers from the Moon and Other Lunacies is a collection of horror and fantasy stories by author Robert Bloch. It was released in 1998 and was the author's third book published by Arkham House. It was published in an edition of 2,565 copies. The stories, selected by Robert M. Price, originally...

     (Arkham House, 1998) ISBN 0-97054-172-2. Introduction by Robert M. Price
    Robert M. Price
    Robert McNair Price is an American theologian and writer. He teaches philosophy and religion at the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary, is professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute, and the author of a number of books on theology and the historicity of Jesus, including...

    . Collects rarities from the Bloch canon, previously published in Weid Tales, Strange Stories and Rogue magazines; of its 20 stories, 15 are not readily obtainable outside the original pulps where they appeared.
  • The Lost Bloch: Volume 1: The Devil With You! (Subterranean Press, 1999) ISBN 1-892284-19-7. (Limited ed of 724 numbered copies signed by editor/introducer David J. Schow
    David J. Schow
    David J. Schow is an American author of horror novels, short stories, and screenplays. His credits include films such as The Crow and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. Most of Schow's work falls into the sub-genre splatterpunk, a term he is sometimes credited with coining...

     and Foreword writer Stefan Dziemaniowicz). Includes interview with Bloch, 'An Hour with Robert Bloch" conducted by David J. Schow. One of the stories included is "The Big Binge" (originally in Imaginative Tales in 1955 and reprinted as the short novel It's All in Your Mind in 1971, see above). The Lost Bloch supplements Flowers from the Moon in reprinting rare and unreprinted Bloch stories; however at early 2011 around 50 Bloch stories remain uncollected
  • The Lost Bloch: Volume 2: Hell on Earth (2000). ISBN 1-892284-63-4. (Limited ed of 1250 numbered copies signed by editior/introducer David J. Schow and Foreword writer Douglas E. Winter). Includes afterword by Schow and interview "Slightly More than Another Hour with Robert Bloch" by J. Michael Straczynski
    J. Michael Straczynski
    Joseph Michael Straczynski , known professionally as J. Michael Straczynski and informally as Joe Straczynski or JMS, is an American writer and television producer. He works in films, television series, novels, short stories, comic books, and radio dramas. He is a playwright, a former journalist,...

    .
  • The Lost Bloch: Volume 3: Crimes and Punishments (Subterranean Press, 2002) ISBN 1-931061-16-6. (Limited ed 750 numbered copies signed by editor/introducer David J. Schow). Includes introductory piece by Gahan Wilson
    Gahan Wilson
    Gahan Wilson is an American author, cartoonist and illustrator known for his cartoons depicting horror-fantasy situations...

    , interview "Three Hours and Then Some with Robert Bloch" by Douglas E. Winter and "My Husband, Robert Bloch" by Eleanor Bloch.
  • The Reader's Bloch: Volume 1: The Fear Planet and Other Unusual Destinations (Subterranean Press, 2005; limited ed, signed by editor, 750 numbered and 26 lettered copies). Edited by Stefan R. Dziemanowicz, who provides an introduction, "Future Imperfect". Collects more Bloch rarities; most of its 20 stories are science fiction, and are otherwise unobtainable outside their original magazine appearances.
  • The Reader's Bloch: Volume 2: Skeleton in the Closet and Other Stories (Subterranean Press, 2009; 750 numbered copies signed by the editor). Edited by Stefan R. Dziemanowicz. No intro. An unthemed collection of Bloch rarities, most of whose 16 stories are otherwise unobtainable outside their original magazine appearances.

Anthologies & collections edited by Bloch

  • The Best of Fredric Brown
    Fredric Brown
    Fredric Brown was an American science fiction and mystery writer. He was born in Cincinnati.He had two sons: James Ross Brown and Linn Lewis Brown ....

     (Nelson Doubleday, 1976). No ISBN. Book Club ed. 3180 on rear jacket flap.
  • Psycho-Paths. (Tor, 1991). ISBN 0-312-85048-4.
  • Monsters in Our Midst (Tor, 1993). ISBN 0-312-85049-2.
  • Robert Bloch's Psychos (1997). ISBN 1-56865-637-8. This anthology was being edited by Robert Bloch until his death in 1994. Martin H. Greenberg
    Martin H. Greenberg
    Martin Harry Greenberg was an American speculative fiction anthologist and writer.-Biography:Dr. Martin H. Greenberg was born March 1, 1941, to Max and Mae Greenberg in South Miami Beach, Florida...

     completed the editorial work posthumously.

Non-fiction

  • The Eighth Stage of Fandom (1962). Advent - no ISBN. Wildside Press reprint, 1992, with new intro by Wilson Tucker
    Wilson Tucker
    Arthur Wilson "Bob" Tucker was an American mystery, action adventure, and science fiction writer, who wrote professionally as Wilson Tucker....

     and new afterword by Harlan Ellison
    Harlan Ellison
    Harlan Jay Ellison is an American writer. His principal genre is speculative fiction.His published works include over 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, teleplays, essays, a wide range of criticism covering literature, film, television, and print media...

    , ISBN 1-880448-16-5
  • Out of My Head (1986) (essays). NESFA Press. ISBN 0-915368-30-7 (trade ed); 0-915368-87-0 (slipcased ed). Edition limited to 800 numbered copies, the first 200 being slipcased.
  • Once Around the Bloch: An Unauthorized Autobiography (Tor, 1993).
  • Robert Bloch: Appreciations of the Master (Tor, 1995). This volume is a tribute to Bloch collecting essays by many writers who knew or worked with him, together with reprints of several Bloch stories.

Awards

  • 1959. "That Hell-Bound Train" Hugo Award for Best Short Story
    Hugo Award for Best Short Story
    The Hugo Awards are given every year by the World Science Fiction Society for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was once officially...

  • 1959: E. Everett Evans
    E. Everett Evans
    Edward Everett Evans was an American science fiction author and fan.His works included the novels Man of Many Minds , The Planet Mappers , Alien Minds , and the posthumously-published collaboration with E. E. "Doc" Smith Masters of Space ; and the collection Food for Demons...

     Memorial Award for Fantasy and Science Fiction Work
  • 1960: Ann Radcliffe
    Ann Radcliffe
    Anne Radcliffe was an English author, and considered the pioneer of the gothic novel . Her style is romantic in its vivid descriptions of landscapes, and long travel scenes, yet the Gothic element is obvious through her use of the supernatural...

     Award for Literature (Count Dracula Society) The Count Dracula Society was founded by Dr Donald A. Reed, who also founded the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.
  • 1960: Edgar Allan Poe Award (Special Scroll) (for Psycho) Mystery Writers of America
    Mystery Writers of America
    Mystery Writers of America is an organization for mystery writers, based in New York.The organization was founded in 1945 by Clayton Rawson, Anthony Boucher, Lawrence Treat, and Brett Halliday....

  • 1960: Screenwriter's Annual Award nominated by Screenwriter's Guild (for Psycho)
  • 1964: Inkpot Award
    Inkpot Award
    The Inkpot Award, bestowed annually since 1974 by Comic-Con International, is given to some of the professionals in comic book, comic strip, animation, science fiction, and related pop-culture fields, who are guests of that organization's yearly multigenre fan convention, commonly known as...

     for Science Fiction
  • 1965: Third Trieste Film Festival Award (for The Skull)
  • 1966: Ann Radcliffe Award for Television (Count Dracula Society)
  • 1973: First prize, La 2de Convention Du Cinema Fantastique De Paris (for Asylum)
  • 1974: Award for Service to the Field of Science Fantasy Los Angeles Science Fiction Society
  • 1975. World Fantasy Award
    World Fantasy Award
    The World Fantasy Awards are annual, international awards given to authors and artists who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of fantasy...

    , Life Achievement
  • 1978: Fritz Lieber Fantasy Award
  • 1979: Reims Festival Award
  • 1984. Hugo Special Award for 50 years as a science fiction professional

See also 42nd World Science Fiction Convention
42nd World Science Fiction Convention
The 42nd World Science Fiction Convention , also known as L.A.con II, was held 30 August – 3 September 1984 at the Anaheim Hilton and the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, USA.The chairmen were Craig Miller and Milt Stevens....

  • 1984: Lifetime Career Award, Atlanta Fantasy Fair
  • 1985: Twilight Zone Dimension Award
  • 1989. Bram Stoker Award, Life Achievement
  • 1993. Once Around the Bloch: An Unauthorized Autobiography Bram Stoker, Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
  • Special award at the first NecronomiCon. (After his death, this award was renamed in his honor).
  • 1994. The Early Fears Bram Stoker, Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
  • 1994. "The Scent of Vinegar" Bram Stoker, Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

Movies


The following is a list of films based on Bloch's work. For some of these he wrote the original screenplay; for others, he supplied the story or a novel (as in the case of Psycho) on which the screenplay was based.
  • Psycho (film) (1960) Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
    Alfred Hitchcock
    Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

  • The Couch (1962). Screenplay by Bloch, based on a story by Blake Edwards
    Blake Edwards
    Blake Edwards was an American film director, screenwriter and producer.Edwards' career began in the 1940s as an actor, but he soon turned to writing radio scripts at Columbia Pictures...

     and director Owen Crump. Bloch later novelised his own screenplay. Stars Grant Williams
    Grant Williams
    Grant Williams was an American film actor and operatic tenor. He is best remembered for his portrayal of Scott Carey in the seminal science fiction film The Incredible Shrinking Man , which has since become a cult classic.-Early life:Born John Joseph Williams in New York City to a Scottish father...

    .
  • The Cabinet of Caligari
    The Cabinet of Caligari
    The Cabinet of Caligari is a film by Roger Kay, starring Glynis Johns, Dan O'Herlihy, and Richard Davalos, and released by 20th Century Fox....

     (1962). Dir: Roger Kay. The story of how director Roger Kay tried to rob Bloch of the writing credit for the film and of how Bloch won out is told in Bloch's autobiography.
  • Strait-Jacket
    Strait-Jacket
    Strait-Jacket is a 1964 American thriller film starring Joan Crawford and Diane Baker in a macabre mother and daughter tale about a series of axe-murders. Released by Columbia Pictures, the film was directed and produced by William Castle, and co-produced by Dona Holloway...

     (1964). Original screenplay by Bloch. The first of his two screenplays for director William Castle
    William Castle
    William Castle was an American film director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. Castle was known for directing films with many gimmicks which were ambitiously promoted, despite being reasonably low budget B-movies....

    .
  • The Night Walker
    The Night Walker (film)
    The Night Walker is a black-and-white psychological suspense thriller by genre specialist William Castle, with a screenplay by Robert Bloch, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Taylor, Hayden Rorke, Judi Meredith, and Lloyd Bochner as "The Dream." The film was one of the last black and white...

     (1964). Original screenplay by Bloch. The second of two screenplays for director William Castle
    William Castle
    William Castle was an American film director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. Castle was known for directing films with many gimmicks which were ambitiously promoted, despite being reasonably low budget B-movies....

    . The screenplay was later novelised by Sidney Stuart, with an introduction by Bloch. (The Night Walker, Award Books, Dec 1964. No ISBN; Award KA124F)
  • The Skull
    The Skull
    The Skull is a 1965 British horror film directed by Freddie Francis for Amicus Productions. It starred the frequently paired horror actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, alongside Patrick Wymark, Jill Bennett, Nigel Green, Patrick Magee and Peter Woodthorpe.It was one of a number of British...

     (1965). The first of Bloch's six movies made for Amicus Productions
    Amicus Productions
    Amicus Productions is a British film production company, based at Shepperton Studios, England. It was founded by American producer and screenwriter Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg.-Horror:...

    . Based on Bloch's story but scripted by Milton Subotsky
    Milton Subotsky
    Milton Subotsky was an American TV and film writer/producer. In 1964, in England, he formed Amicus Productions with Max J Rosenberg.Together they produced a number of low budget science fiction and horror films....

    . Dir: Freddie Francis
    Freddie Francis
    Frederick William Francis BSC was an English cinematographer and film director.He achieved his greatest successes as a cinematographer, including winning two Academy Awards, for Sons and Lovers and Glory...

    .
  • The Psychopath
    The Psychopath
    The Psychopath is a 1966 film directed by Freddie Francis and written by Robert Bloch. It stars Patrick Wymark and Margaret Johnston.It deals with a police inspector who investigates a string of murders where the victims have dolls attached to their bodies. The trail soon leads to one Mrs...

     (1966). 2nd of Bloch's Amicus movies. Original screenplay by Bloch. Dir: Freddie Francis
    Freddie Francis
    Frederick William Francis BSC was an English cinematographer and film director.He achieved his greatest successes as a cinematographer, including winning two Academy Awards, for Sons and Lovers and Glory...

    .
  • Torture Garden
    Torture Garden (film)
    Torture Garden is a 1967 British horror film made by Amicus Productions. It was directed by Freddie Francis and scripted by Robert Bloch. It stars Burgess Meredith, Jack Palance, Michael Ripper, Beverly Adams, Peter Cushing, Maurice Denham, Ursula Howells, Michael Bryant and Barbara Ewing...

     (1967). 3rd of Bloch's Amicus movies. Screenplay by Bloch based on four of his stories, including The Man Who Collected Poe (about Edgar Allan Poe
    Edgar Allan Poe
    Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...

    ). Dir: Freddie Francis
    Freddie Francis
    Frederick William Francis BSC was an English cinematographer and film director.He achieved his greatest successes as a cinematographer, including winning two Academy Awards, for Sons and Lovers and Glory...

  • The Deadly Bees
    The Deadly Bees
    The Deadly Bees is a 1966 British horror–thriller film based on H.F. Heard's 1941 novel A Taste for Honey. It was directed by Freddie Francis, and stars Suzanna Leigh, Guy Doleman, and Frank Finlay. It was released theatrically in the United States in 1967...

     (1967). 4th of Bloch's Amicus movies. Screenplay by Bloch based on Gerald Heard
    Gerald Heard
    Henry Fitzgerald Heard commonly called Gerald Heard was an historian, science writer, educator, and philosopher. He wrote many articles and over 35 books....

    's A Taste of Honey Dir: Freddie Francis
    Freddie Francis
    Frederick William Francis BSC was an English cinematographer and film director.He achieved his greatest successes as a cinematographer, including winning two Academy Awards, for Sons and Lovers and Glory...

    .
  • The House That Dripped Blood
    The House That Dripped Blood
    The House That Dripped Blood is a 1970 British horror anthology film directed by Peter Duffell and distributed by Amicus Productions. It stars Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Nyree Dawn Porter, Denholm Elliott, and Jon Pertwee...

     (1970). 5th of Bloch's Amicus movies. Screenplay by Bloch based on four of his stories (except that Russ Jones adapted Waxworks, uncredited). Dir: Peter Duffel.
  • Asylum (1972 film)
    Asylum (1972 film)
    Asylum is a 1972 British horror film made by Amicus Productions. The film was directed by Roy Ward Baker, produced by Milton Subotsky, and scripted by Robert Bloch .It is a horror portmanteau film, one of several produced by Amicus during the 1960s to...

     (aka House of Crazies). 6th and final of Bloch's Amicus movies. Screenplay by Bloch based on four of his stories. The screenplay was novelised by William Johnston, (Asylum, Bantam Books, Dec 1972. No ISBN; Bantam 9195). Dir: Roy Ward Baker
    Roy Ward Baker
    Roy Ward Baker , born Roy Horace Baker, was an English film director, credited as Roy Baker for much of his career. His best known film is A Night to Remember which won a Golden Globe for Best English-Language Foreign Film in 1959...

    .
  • The Cat Creature (TV movie, 1973). Original screenplay by Bloch, based upon a story by himself, Douglas S. Cramer
    Douglas S. Cramer
    -Career:Cramer began his career in advertising, serving as a broadcast supervisor on Lever Brothers and General Foods programs at Ogilvy & Mather in New York City. In 1962, he became Director of Program Planning at ABC Television...

     and Wilfred Lloyd Baumes. Directed by Curtis Harrington
    Curtis Harrington
    Curtis Harrington was an American film and television director whose work included experimental films, horror films, and episodic television.-Biography:...

    .
  • The Dead Don't Die (NBC TV movie 1975). Screenplay by Bloch based on his story (Fantastic Adventures, July 1951). Directed by Curtis Harrington. Starring Ray Milland
    Ray Milland
    Ray Milland was a Welsh actor and director. His screen career ran from 1929 to 1985, and he is best remembered for his Academy Award–winning portrayal of an alcoholic writer in The Lost Weekend , a sophisticated leading man opposite a corrupt John Wayne in Reap the Wild Wind , the murder-plotting...

    , George Hamilton
    George Hamilton (actor)
    George Stevens Hamilton is an American film and television actor.-Early life:Hamilton was the youngest son of bandleader George "Spike" Hamilton and his first wife, Ann Stevens . He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and lived in Blytheville, Arkansas...

    , Joan Blondell
    Joan Blondell
    Rose Joan Blondell was an American actress who performed in movies and on television for five decades as Joan Blondell.After winning a beauty pageant, Blondell embarked upon a film career...

    .
  • The Return of Captain Nemo
    The Return of Captain Nemo
    The Return of Captain Nemo is a 1978 science fiction TV movie directed by Alex March and Paul Stader. It is loosely based on characters and settings from Jules Verne's novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea...

     aka The Amazing Captain Nemo (1978)[Bloch penned one episode, in collaboration with five other writers who worked on the script]. Bloch wrote the episode "Atlantis Dead Ahead".
  • Psycho (1998). Dir: Based on Robert Bloch's original novel and the Hitchcock film of same.

Unproduced screenplays


Bloch wrote a number of screenplays which remain unproduced. These include Merry-Go-Round (based on Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury
Ray Douglas Bradbury is an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man , Bradbury is one of the most celebrated among 20th...

's story "Black Ferris"); Night-World (from Bloch's novel, for MGM); and Day of the Comet (from the H.G. Wells story), and a television adaptation of "Out of the Aeons
Out of the Aeons
"Out of the Aeons" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald. It focuses around a Boston museum that has found an ancient mummy from a past-sunken island to be put on display.-Plot summary:...

". See also The Todd Dossier under the Bibliography section above.

External links