We all know that there are title upon title on movie reference books that cover the same topic. Whether it is on slasher films, the zombie sub-genre, or any number of those Freudian psycho-babble entries, there are more than enough to keep this fan of horror reference books busy and broke! But I recently came across three titles that are either out or coming out that cover a unique and interesting theme that immediately grabbed my interests. Even more so, at first thought, I didn’t think there would be enough movies under each of these subjects to merit a whole book. But once again, it just shows you can always learn more!
Masks in Horror Cinema: Eyes Without Faces is by Alexander Heller-Nicholas, and has been published by University of Wales Press. This one is a bit pricy, at $51.37 on Amazon, and is 288 pages long. According to the description, “This book explores its transformative potential historically across myriad cultures, particularly in relation to its ritual and myth-making capacities, and its intersection with power, ideology and identity.”
With this striking cover, using poster art from Georges Franju’s Les yeux sans visage (aka Eyes Without a Face, 1960), this doesn’t look to be a book covering a certain number of specific movie titles, but is broken up into different categories, such as Skin Masks, Blanks Masks, Animal Masks, and such. There are separate chapters on pre-1970 films and post-1970. I have to say, it does sound kind of interesting.
Wax Museum Movies: A Comprehensive Filmography by George Higham and will be published by McFarland. The price listed is $45, but so far no date has been set but it is due out this year. Reading about the information on this one really threw me. It states that this title covers 127 films! I never would have guessed that there would be that many films that delt with wax muesums. Granted, maybe some of them are only mentioned or have very little to do with one, but that is still an impressive number. And kudos to Higham for doing all that research!
According to the description on the website, “This chronological analysis includes essential behind the scenes information in addition to authoritative research comparing the creation of “real” wax figures to the “reel” ones seen onscreen. Publicly accessible or hidden away in a maniac’s lair, wax museums have provided the perfect settings for films of all genres to thrillingly play out on the big screen since the dawn of cinema.”
I mean, with a shot of Vincent Price from House of Wax (1953) on the cover, it is kind of hard not to get my attention.
Terrifying Texts: Essays on Books of Good and Evil in Horror Cinema is available now, also published by McFarland, with a retail price of $45 (though Amazon has it listed at $38.11). Edited by Cynthia Miller and A. Bowdon Van Riper, covering films from Faust to The Babadook, this 268 page book is “collection of new essays examines nearly a century of genre horror in which on-screen texts drive and shape their narratives, sometimes unnoticed. The contributors explore American films like The Evil Dead (1981), The Prophecy (1995) and It Follows (2014), as well as such international films as Eric Valette’s Malefique (2002), Paco Cabeza’s The Appeared (2007) and Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond (1981).”
If I wasn’t interested enough, once they mentioned Fulci’s The Beyond, they had my money! This is yet another subject that as horror fans we all know these movies but never really thought enough that there would be so many that would have the same kind of connection. I really love it when someone comes up with such an original idea for a book subject! Kudos to all of these authors! I know I have added three more titles to my Want Reading List!