Book Review: Horror in Space

Horror in SpaceHorror in Space
Published by McFarland, 2018. 248 pages.
Edited by Michele Brittany

The book’s subtitle is “Critical Essays on a Film Subgenre” and boy howdy, it sure is. If you’re looking for an easy read, one that might bring up some easy but not-too-deep thinking ideas about these movies that we love, then you might want to look for another book. When you have the words “Critical Essays” in the book’s title, that is a big hint at the kind of writing that you’ll find within those pages. The collection of authors that have been gathered here for this volume are all very intelligent scholars, from sociology teachers, doctoral candidates, to professors, so they know their stuff. So please don’t let my comments about their opinions and theories seem like I’m trying to say they are uneducated. That is not the point I’m trying to make.

Like a lot of these theory essay books, I’d make a guess that some of these are from a collage thesis or part of a future book. But I still stand by my own theory that sometimes a duck is just a duck. I know there are some films where the creators are weaving different subtext within the story, such as any version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But I feel a lot of these scholars take a subject matter and form into something that then fits a particular movie or sub-genre.

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Book Review: Screaming for Pleasure

Screaming for PleasureScreaming for Pleasure
Published by Coal Cracker Press, 2018. 290 pages.
By S.A. Bradley

Full disclosure here, folks. I’ve known Mr. Bradley for three years now, ever since he happened upon of few friends doing our usual after-hours get-together at conventions to talk about horror movies. At the Flashback Weekend in Chicago in 2015, a group of friends were gathered in the lobby like we usually do and talk shop. Usually it is about what we’ve seen lately, though we do venture off on other topics. All of a sudden, here comes this guy, wearing a kilt no less, and stops and asks if we’re talking about horror movies and can he join in? No problem! Now, I’ll admit right off the bat that I tend to throw some comments/questions out there to see just how much this newbie might know. Needless to say, I was blown away at not just how much Scott knew about the genre, such as the movies that he’s seen, but even more so the way he could intelligently explain his opinions and thoughts, enough to make the toughest of critics step back and think “Damn…he’s got something there!”. Now three years later, after already creating and amazing podcast, Hellbent for Horror, Scott has taken this same approach and created a must-read book for any and all horror fans.

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Book Review: The Dr. Phibes Companion

Dr Phibes CompanionThe Dr. Phibes Companion
Published by BearManor Media, 2018. 274 pages
By Justin Humphreys

One of the first movies I rented when I bought my very own VCR was one of my all time favorite films, The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), starring the amazing Vincent Price, and it still remains the same to this day. How could you not love this movie about this evil genius who sets out to get revenge of those who he believes caused the death of his wife, each one in a very creative way? It’s one of my favorite character’s that Price brought to life and is always a treat to watch. So when I first read about the news that there was going to a book dedicated to the Phibes films, I was more than a little excited.

With contributions by Mark Ferelli, Sam Irvin, and David Taylor, and a forward by Phibes co-screenwriter William Goldstein, author Humphreys has compiled so much information about the first Phibes movie, its sequel Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972), as well as the many proposed sequels that never got off the ground. Humphreys has done an amazing job compiling information about these titles from the original screenplays, letting us know the differences between them and the final product, finding and hiring the director, the art direction, casting, makeup, the score, and just about everything you could want to know about them! As a Phibes Phan, you’ll learn more here than you thought you could.

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Book Review: True Indie – Life and Death in Film Making

Coscarlli BiographyTrue Indie: Life and Death in Filmmaking
Published by St. Martin’s Press, 2018. 342 pages.
By Don Coscarelli

Having the chance to see Bubba Ho-Tep in the theater with the director Don Coscarelli in attendance is well worth me traveling into Chicago for it. Even more so if Coscarelli is there promoting his new autobiography as well! Hearing him talk about the book after the screening made me want to dive into it right away. In fact, I started reading this the next day. And two weeks later to the day, I finished it. If you want to get the gist of this review without having to read it all, just go by the book. It is one of the most entertaining biographies I’ve read in a long time. But if you want more details, read on.

I’ve always admired Coscarelli and his work, especially the Phantasm films, and have met the man more than a few times at different conventions over the years. Each and every time I have met him, he has been one of the most genuine and friendly person you could meet. In fact, as me and a friend we’re waiting outside the theater for the book signing, Coscarelli walks up to us and says “Hi, I’m Don. Are you hear for the singing and movie?” Such a class act.

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Book Review: The Cinematic Art of Fantastic India – Vol. 1 VCDs

Cinematic Art of Fantastic India Vol 1The Cinematic Art of Fantastic India – Volume 1: VCDs
Published by WK Books, 2018. 138 pages
By Tim Paxton

As a collector of movie posters, lobby cards, and other such types of memorabilia, I was always amazed when I could come across an image on a poster that was blatantly taken from another movie, sometimes not even having the closest thing to the movie it was being used to advertise this. The best example that I can think of is the Pakistani poster for Hammer’s Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, which used images from Fulci’s City of the Living Dead, including the famous drill-through-the-head scene. Well the Indian film market, especially for the covers of their VCDs. Which is exactly this book is about.

If you have any interests in poster are, especially foreign ones, then you will absolutely love this book. The covers and posters shown here, page after page, are filled with such wild images, some of which have characters or designs that you’ll immediately recognize from another, more familiar poster, or at least make you think you’ve seen it before. Granted, most of the movies here don’t have those creatures and whatnot actually in the film, but we’re talking about the posters and box art for the time being.

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Book Review: Terror in the Desert

Terror in the DesertTerror in the Desert
Published by McFarland, 2018. 312 pages
By Brad Sykes

In an age of internet reviews, when anybody with a computer can be a critic (me being one of them), sometimes we might read a negative review of a movie and brush it off without any inclination to visit it, or in some cases, re-visit it. And I think that is a big mistake on the part of all of us fans.

In his introduction in this book, author Sykes writes, “I honestly believe that most of the films profiled in these pages – flaws and all – have something to offer the viewer.” After reading that, it reminded me once again that even if a movie might only be a 2 or 2 1/2 stars out of 5, that doesn’t mean that it is a total waste of time, but that it still might have some merit and might just be worth watching. Might be a great special effect or stunt in there. Or just a great performance by one particular actor. We just never know. So I just wanted to throw that out there, giving a little credit to Sykes for reminding us fans something that we shouldn’t forget.

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Book Review: Human Beasts: The Films of Paul Naschy

Human BeastsHuman Beasts: The Films of Paul Naschy
Published by CreateSpace, 2018. 344 pages
By Troy Howarth

Followers of the Krypt might know of my slight fondness for the work of Spanish writer/director/actor and all around horror fan, Jacinto Molina, better known as Paul Naschy. Besides his own autobiography, Memoirs of a Wolfman or Muchas Gracias Senor Lobo that showcases all these amazing posters, lobby cars, and other material from his movies, there hasn’t been a book out, at least that I know of here in the states, that covers the massive filmography of Naschy. Until now.

Let me say right from the start that Howarth is not only a good friend of mine, but that I also have a very small part in this book, in the Naschy legacy section in the back. Also, that I’m a die-hard Naschy fan that is just thrilled to death that there is finally a book about him and his films. But I would ask you to believe that if I had issues with Troy’s writing, or this book in general, that I would be up front and honest about them here. I don’t mix words when it comes to reviewing, especially books, even more so when they are about a subject that I am very passionate about.

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