Classics of the Horror Film
By William K. Everson
Published by Citadel Press, 1974. 246 pages.
Recently, I posted our review of Denis Gifford’s Pictorial History of Horror Movies, stating it was one of the real first of its kind. This book here was another one, and is again, one that is remembered by older fans as being a book from their childhood that opened their eyes to so many movie monsters.
Everson was another film scholar and collector that set out to save and preserve thousands of films from the ’20s and 30’s from being destroyed. He would go to great lengths to not only find rare films, but more importantly, made it a point to have screenings of them, giving others the opportunity to see them, even when some of these screenings would get him in trouble with the studios, arguing the ownership of the prints. But Everson’s whole point was to let audiences see these movies and to keep them from being forgotten.
In Classics, he mainly covers the horror films of the ’30s and ’40s, but occasionally moves into current films of the time this work was published in 1974. His opinions of “newer” films, especially color ones, may not sit well with modern fans, but Everson’s knowledge of the classics is unsurpassed, and that is where the real charm of this book lies. He goes through the classics, like Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolf Man, then covers topics such as haunted houses, madmen and the like. There’s plenty of information about these films and the people that worked on them, making this book an essential volume.
This book was originally published in hardcover format, then is softcover with the same cover art. Then in 1995, it was re-published in another softcover edition, but with a different cover.
In 1986, he wrote a follow up to this title, simply called More Classics of the Horror Film, also published by Citadel Press.