A week from tomorrow night TCM will air the original Martin Scorcese docu bio of Val Lewton. This should be of interest to most genre writers and readers. But it should be especially interesting to those of us who like hardboiled and noir. Certain kinds of horror incorporate noir atmosphere and tropes. Most of Lewton's nine most famous horror movies demonstrate this clearly, most especially (for me anyway) The Seventh Victim and The Leopard Man.
I was reminded of all this today because of a post of Todd Mason's on Rara-Avis. Speaking of Fritz Leiber he says: "His very important early story "Smoke Ghost," (is) as noir as you could possibly want."
True. A number of Weird Tales writers were able to work in hardboiled because the turf was similar. The darkness that only some of us can see. The Leiber story is a masterpiece and one of the most memorable stories I've ever read. It dramatizes and explains the modern world more elegantly and terrifyingly than anything I've read. Not bad for five thousand words.
Give the Lewton bio a look. I tend to agree with David Thomson that when people say Lewton should have been given more expensive films to make they're missing the point. This type of material was his passion. He wasn't a song and dance man nor a Big Theme guy. He was what he was and what he was was a damned good B film maker.