With the holiday season approaching, we are always seeking out just the right gift for that special person in our lives. Now this may come as a bit of a surprise, but I’m a pretty big proponent of books. Yeah, I know….shocker, huh? But honestly, why buy something like a movie for this person (when chances are they might already have it!?!?!) that is just going to sit on a shelf until they get around to watching it. Okay…same could be said for a book…especially in my house. But honestly, a book will stay longer with them, by teaching them something they didn’t know before, which will allow a few different things to happen. For instances, if you get them a biography, they will learn about this particular person, be it a director or actor, which will help them appreciate and understand their work each and every time they watch one of their movies. If it is a simple film guide, it could open up a bunch of titles to them that they might not have known about yet. Or even if it is a book about the genre in general, it could open up some understanding as a whole, which always helps you appreciate it even more, getting you to think about these films possibly a little different than you had before.
So here’s a few titles that I feel are not only great gifts for your horror-loving friends and loved ones, but will help that person become an even better and more educated horror fan. Now, how is that not a great gift idea?
Indie publisher Midnight Marquee has been around for a very long time, and has produced countless great titles during that time, many of which I have in my personal collection. But this year they released two titles, both by author Troy Howarth, that I think would be great gift ideas.
If this person is a fan of Italian giallos, then Howarth’s So Deadly, So Perverse: Vol. 1 is the perfect book for them. While this is only the first of three volumes, it gives an incredible history of the giallo, then a film guide to this twisted and strange sub-genre, covering quite a number of titles that have even the die-hard fan either seeking out unseen films or re-watching some old favorites.
The second Howarth title is the recently published Splintered Visions: The Films of Lucio Fulci. Now, I have only just started digging into this one, I still will come out and say it is a must have, especially if you’re a fan of Fulci’s work. With the help of Mike Baronas, Howarth was not only able to cover Fulci’s films, but also talk to many people that worked directly with him, giving us a better insight to this often misunderstood director. I would strongly suggest ordering the full color version edition, even though it is a bit more expensive, it is well worth the extra money.
Both of these titles can be purchased directly from Midnight Marquee, the giallo title at a cheaper price than if you order it online from places like Amazon. I don’t think the color version of the Fulci book is even available through Amazon. Finding titles on Midnight Marquee’s site sometimes can be challenging, HERE is the direct link for the giallo book. You should be able to find the Fulci title on their main page, HERE.
Now if this person you’re shopping for is a fan of zombie films, which seems to be just about most people these days, why not pick them up a book to help them understand and learn the history of this genre. Yes, believe it or not, but zombie films have been around a lot longer than The Walking Dead. I know…another shocker. But here are two titles that I think will do great in educating these undead fans.
Jamie Russell’s newly updated version of his 2005 book, The Book of the Dead, gives us even more information than in his original edition, which I had said was a great book. So this newer version makes it even more of a must-have! Russell starts at the very beginning, showing us where this sub-genre started, and how it has progressed over the years. They will learn so much about zombie films, from White Zombie, to the Val Lewton classic I Walked with a Zombie, to the game-changing Romero film, Night of the Living Dead, to the Italian zombie films, where they took the over-the-top gore even farther than you thought possible. Seriously…a must have for zombie fans.
But if you’re looking for more of a coffee-table type of book, then Ozzy Inguanzo’s Zombies on Film might just do the trick. This hefty size book is wonderfully illustrated with the history of zombie films, starting right at the beginning. Much like Russell’s book, it does give us the same range of history, but not as detailed, but more illustrated. Plus, this book is a beautifully laid out hardcover edition. Great to have laying around the house to show visitors just how seriously you are about these movies!
Both of these editions are still available online at very reasonable prices.
The late Gunnar Hansen, most known for his role as Leatherface in Tobe Hooper’s 1974 cult film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, did something last year that I never thought possible. He wrote this biography, Chain Saw Confidential, about his memories of working on this notorious film and filled me with information and interest about a film that I thought I had “heard it all before”. Hansen is not only a talented actor, but even more so a writer. He recalls in great details the behind-the-scenes stuff that was going on during this time, making you shudder at some of the stuff that was being done, to shaking your head in amazement that this film ever got released, let alone even finished getting made.
There are so many stories here, that as horror fans we remember well from seeing the film so many times over the years, that Hansen brings us right back to certain scenes and sequences, that will blow your mind even more on some of these details. And not just from Hansen either, since he spent a lot of time talking with the other cast and crew over the years, and gives their input as well. One of our favorite books we read this year.
But now if this person you gift searching for is more of a fan of classic sci-fi/horror films, than I would recommend picking up a copy of Mark Thomas McGee’s book You Won’t Believe Your Eyes. This is sort of a film review guide, but done with a much more fun and personal, and damn entertaining look back at a wide range of classic movies that came out in the 1950s. McGee grew up in that era so we get to hear him reminisce about seeing quite a few of these titles upon their original release, hearing about it from the little kid still inside McGee. Not only will this book make you want to visit or re-visit these features, but help you appreciate them more for what they are, and not some cheap, guy-in-a-suit alien invader, but a trip back in time to a much different era of films and film making.
This was published by BearManor Media and is still available through their site at a very reasonable price. While this was published back in 2013, I first came across it this year, and will definitely make my Best Of List for 2015. Just click HERE to get more information on this title.
Here’s another idea for you if you’re friend is a fan of the older films, though this one is going to be a bit more pricey, but worth the investment. British publisher Peveril Publishing has started a multi-volume book series called Fantastic Films of the Decades that truly are works of art. They have released the first volume, which covers the films of the 1920s, and volume 2, which is on the 1930s, should be coming out shortly. Their plan is to do one or two volumes on each decade (2 volumes each on the 50s, 60s, & 70s). If the rest of the series looks as good as the first volume, it will be an incredible series. Each one is beautifully laid out, with a great mixture of amazing photos, tons of detail and information about the films, and so much more.
Okay, now the bad part. Since each of these volumes are a limited press run, only 500 each, and they are coming from the UK, the total cost for each volume is a bit high, close to $60 each. But if you figured that you only need to pick up the first volume to get them addicted to the series, then it will be up to them to buy the rest! Yes, a devious plan, but a good one!
There are still some left of the first volume and they are still taking pre-orders for the second volume. So don’t wait too long before they are sold out. You can get all the information from Peveril’s website HERE.
So go ahead. Plan a little more in advance to order your copy of one of these titles. Maybe spend a wee bit more than you were planning. But know that you will not only be getting a big smile on the face of your horror fan friend, but you’ll be making them smarter! Now how’s that for a holiday gift?