Book Review: An Illustrated History of the Horror Film

historyhorrorfilm-pbAn Illustrated History of the Horror Film
By Carlos Clarens
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1967.    256 pages.

Strange that while horror films were around since the beginning of film, books on this genre did start until quite a few decades later, with this one by Carlos Clarens being one of, if not the first, authors to tackle these kind of films.

Clarens wrote for magazines like Film Quarterly and Films in Review before he wrote this book. Clarens takes us from the birth of the cinema, with Méliès, Edison and the Lumiére Brothers, and ends with the early days of Hammer Films. Clarens knew his film history and mentions countless films throughout this book that even the biggest horror fan might not have heard or. It’s a great one to start a “Need to see” list.

That being said, this may not be a good book to start with for fans that are looking for the more modern day, Freddy and Jason type films. But if you’re looking for how it all started, and to learn more about the classics, then this is your book. Since it was written in the 60’s the heyday of Universal and the original monster boom was only a few decades in the past. So a lot of detail is giving to those films, which is the book’s strong point.

This title was originally published in hardcover format in 1967, which is pretty tough to come back these days. But it was published in a small paperback version the following year by Capricorn books.

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