Decades before Marvel Studios brought Werewolf by Night to the screen on Disney+, comic book creator Roy Thomas was dreaming up his own horror-centric special presentation.
Thomas, the former Marvel editor in chief and co-creator of Werewolf by Night and a number of others Marvel characters, recently unearthed a 1958 short film he made with his friends as a teenager in Jackson, Missouri. Thomas scripted Les Ghouls and acted in it alongside pals that included Gary Friedrich, who would go on to co-create the well-known character Ghost Rider with Thomas when they both were at Marvel.
More from The Hollywood Reporter
Thomas shared Les Ghouls with The Hollywood Reporter in honor of Marvel debuting a color version of 2022’s black and white Werewolf by Night last week. Les Ghouls was an homage to 1948’s Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, which was a favorite of him and his friends. Thomas’ friend John Short, who owned the camera, was primary director. Thomas, fittingly, plays the Werewolf.
Around 15 years ago, Thomas concacted Short to see if he still had the film, and they transfered it onto DVD.
“I hadn’t watched it in years, but two or three weeks ago I was sitting at my desk, and I accidentally kicked something under the desk, off to the side,” Thomas writes in an email. “Turned out it was a pile of DVDs and VHS tapes of old interviews, etc., and there atop the mix was a DVD that included Les Ghouls.”
In addition to succeeding Stan Lee as Marvel’s second editor in chief, and co-creating characters such as Vision, Thomas is a scholar of comic book history, a passion he showed a knack for as a teen. Thomas named his Les Ghouls characters Slim (Friedrich) and Slat (Ronnie Lowes) as a tribute to an old DC humor strip called “Fat and Slat,” while the mad doctor and his assistant in the film are called Dr. Sturdley and Melvin, an homage to famed MAD cartoonist and editor Harvey Kurtzman, who sometimes used the name Melvin Sturdley .
Les Ghouls lives on the POPXP! Network on YouTube, which specializes in live interviews of comic book industry pros.
Best of The Hollywood Reporter