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Things That Might Have Been
by Stephen Jones
 
2014
Les Edwards—One of the Gang
by Stephen Jones
 
2010
Edgar Allan Poe: Double Century, Double Bill
by Stephen Jones
 
2008
The Ackermonster and Me:
Forrest J Ackerman (1917–2008)
by Stephen Jones
My Friend, Chris Wicking
by Stephen Jones
Karl Edward Wagner Special Award Winner: Ray Harryhausen
by Stephen Jones
 
2007
Stephen Jones: Loving The Idiots
by Neil Gaiman
The Creative Spirit
by Christopher Fowler
 
2004
What Price Integrity?
by Stephen Jones
Three Weeks With the Undead
by Stephen Jones
 
2002
Growing Up in a World of Gods and Monsters
by Stephen Jones
 
2001
R. Chetywnd-Hayes: An Appreciation
by Stephen Jones
 
1996
A Fellowship of Fantasy: A Personal Reminiscence of The British Fantasy Society
by Stephen Jones
 
My Friend, Chris Wicking by Stephen Jones
Chrisopher Wicking
British film and television writer Christopher Wicking died of a heart attack at his home in Toulouse, France, on October 13. He was 65.

Hired to write the scripts or "polish" such classic 1960s and '70s cult movies as The Oblong Box (1969), Scream and Scream Again (1970), Cry of the Banshee (1970), Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971), Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971), Demons of the Mind (1972) and To the Devil... a Daughter (1976), his other screen credits from this period include Venom (1971) (aka The Legend of Spider Forest), Medusa (1973), Lady Chatterly's Lover (1981), Absolute Beginners (1986) and Dream Demon (1988). However, such potentially interesting Hammer Film projects as Nessie, Vampirella and Kali Devil Bride of Dracula went unrealized.

He also scripted three episodes of the TV series The Professionals (1979–1982), an episode of Jemima Shore Investigates (1983), and an adaptation of the Jack Higgins novel On Dangerous Ground (1996) for Showtime Networks. With Tise Vahimagi, Wicking co-wrote the groundbreaking 1978 study The American Vein—Directors and Directions in Television.

In more recent years he divided his time between screenwriting/script consultancy and, via his Dublin-based company Midnight Movies Ltd, developing various film and television projects. These included Powers, a children's X Files for the BBC; The Judge's House, a pilot episode based on the short story by Bram Stoker for the fantasy series Shiver; an adaptation of Peter Ackroyd's novel Hawksmoor; an original horror screenplay entitled Needles, and a number of projects co-developed with Kim Newman.

The Oblong Box (1969)
The Oblong Box (1969)
Scream and Scream Again (1970)
Scream and Scream Again (1970)
Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971)
Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971)

Cry of the Banshee (1970)
Cry of the Banshee (1970)
To the Devil... a Daughter (1976)
To the Devil... a Daughter (1976)

I first met Chris many years ago when Tise Vahimagi introduced us in a pub in London. Always an outwardly quiet and unassuming man, even back then he seemed amusingly baffled that anybody would know or even care as much about his career as I did.

After awhile, as these things happen, we lost touch. Eventually, I was re-introduced to him at one of Kim's annual summer parties and we rekindled our friendship. I think he was splitting his time between North London and Ireland then, and we would occasionally meet up in pubs, at lunches, or at Kim's flat when he was in town.

If you dug deep, Chris was full of fascinating and often hilarious stories about working for Hammer Films and, especially, American International's UK arm, in the late 1960s and '70s. Whenever we would meet, I would regularly try to tease another reluctant anecdote out of him, and I think he thought I was simply barking mad when I asked him over lunch one day to sign some movie stills and lobby cards from various titles he had worked on.

Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971)
Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971)
Nessie
Nessie
Demons of the Mind (1972)
Demons of the Mind (1972)
Kali Devil Bride of Dracula
Kali Devil Bride of Dracula

Kim and I managed to get him to talk a little about his career in the wonderful piece on Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward he contributed to our volume Horror: Another 100 Best Books, and in recent years the three of us were lucky enough to be part of Constantine Nasr's British "repertory company" of talking heads for the "extras" on various DVD boxed sets in America. Recorded in Kim's living room, we would often end up interviewing each other on these occasions, and it was my privilege and pleasure to question Chris about his work and opinions on at least one of these documentaries.

Whenever I saw him, I would invariably end up trying to convince him to write a memoir about his experiences in the British film and television industry. He would usually listen to me carefully, nod his head sagely, and then give me a pitying look, as if to say, "Who on earth would be interested?"

Chris was an immensely intelligent and talented writer and, despite his reticence when talking about his own work, he had a sharp and dry sense of humor that those of us who knew him appreciated.

His death from a heart attack was grossly premature and came as a great shock. I will miss his company. I will miss his erudition. I will miss his conversation. But most of all, I will miss his friendship.

A memorial will be held for him in Central London on January 10, 2009.

—Stephen Jones
October 27, 2008


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