“Twice the Thrills! Twice the Chills!”
Published by McFarland, 2019. 433 pages.
By Bryan Senn
The double feature was an interesting concept from the start. If you’re not aware of how it all started, then the beginning of the latest book from Senn will fill in all those historical details for you. In fact, I found that part of the book to be a very interesting history lesson, how the studios were reacting to what the TV market was doing to them. It shows that once again how things tend to change because of money, either due to an increase of it, or a decrease, and definitely in the film business.
Keep in mind that the films covered here are the official double features, paired together by the studios or a distribution company, from 1955 to 1974. Some of them have a connection (meaning similar theme or same studio) while others… well, not so much! Each film is reviewed in detail, with plenty of those great ad mats and photos of the fronts of different theaters, showing how they are promoting the films (boy, do I miss that!). Once you get past the concept of this book, it falls into a regular review book, which had it not been by Senn, I’m not sure I would be that excited about it. But Senn always seems to find some great information, little tidbits and trivia that I didn’t know, which is always a plus. There is plenty of quotes from the people involved with the films reviewed to give even a bit more insight into the pictures. And there is such a wide variety of titles, everything from Hammer to down to the bottom barrel titles from Jerry Warren! Before each review, there is a little about the double-bill and then at the end we get the basic credits and release dates.
Be warned though that Senn is not afraid to call out a bad production when he sees it and there more than a few within these pages. Now, I happened to like quite a few of the titles that he criticizes, such as 1967’s The Frozen Dead, though I can’t argue with his critiques, I just happen to still be entertained by them. But that’s the great thing about movies, everyone is going see and be entertained by different things. The important part is to listen (or read, as the case may be here) to the other side, because you just might learn something. It doesn’t mean you have to change your opinion.
Some might be put off slightly at the price of this book, retailing at $59.95, but when you consider your average movie magazine is going to run you from $10 to $20, I would have to say this is worth much more than a few of those issues. The size is 8 1/2 x 11 with small print, so there is plenty of information packed in these 422 pages.
You can order it directly from McFarland’s website HERE.