Book Review: Gods of Grindhouse

Gods of GrindhouseGods of Grindhouse
BearManor Media, 2013. 169 pages.
Edited by Andrew J. Rausch

I know everyone out there knows the name of Roger Corman. But what about Ted V. Mikels? Or Ray Dennis Steckler, Jack Hill, or Bill Rebane? These gentlemen, plus a few more, are the names covered in this very important book. The guys are from the filmmaking industry that I feel are much more important than the likes of Michael Bay. Why? Simple. There movies are something you will remember and will stand the test of time. Each generation will discover and be entertained by them. Without the talented craftsmen discussed in this volume, there would be no Quentin Tarentino. So while their movies may be the jest of places like MST3K, that doesn’t take away from what their films are about, as well as the people that struggled to get them made and distributed.

I know I preach over and over on this site about how important it is to know your history when it comes to the genres, but I wouldn’t keep saying it if I really didn’t believe it. So many younger filmmakers, such as the previous mentioned Tarantino, grew up watching the films from these guys, being inspired to make their own mark with their films. So yes, it is VERY important to know these guys and their work. And this book is a great way to start.

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Book Review: Monster Squad

Monster Squad BookMonster Squad: Celebrating the Artists Behind Cinema’s Most memorable Creatures
Published by BearManor Media, 2017. 430 pages.
By Heather A. Wixson

In the early ’80s, makeup artists that worked on horror movies were becoming real celebrities, just as if they were the main stars of the films they worked on. Seeing names like Savini, Baker, or Bottin in the credits would get fans to go see a film on their participation alone. So many young fans out there were so inspired by these names, that they dabbled on their own with latex, spirit gum, and greasepaint, some more successful than others. Like a lot of us fans during that time, the movies affected us more than most people watching them. Some wanted to be part of the world that were creating this magic. That passion is what drove them to never stop trying, never stop learning, and just never stopping. That era when rubber monsters and outrageous creatures ruled the genre is over three decades ago, with quite a bit being replaced with CGI. But that hasn’t stopped some of these guys from continuing with their craft, still fueled by that same passion to create magic on the screen.

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New Book on Dr. Phibes!

Dr. Phibes CompanionWhen I first really got into horror films, one of my favorites was The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), starring the wonderful campy Vincent Price. Even though he was the villain, you always rooted for him! And even though he never actually “talked” in the film, he still commanded your attention each and every frame he was on screen. With a beautiful mixture of horror and humor, director Robert Fuest and Price created a highly memorable character that we got to experience in not only the first film, but its sequel, Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972).

Last year, one of my favorite books that I read was Interviews Too Shocking To Print by Justin Humphreys. So when I discovered that he was coming out with a Dr. Phibes companion book, I was just ecstatic. BearManor Media has announced that The Dr. Phibes Companion is now available for pre-order, both in hard and soft cover editions ($32 & $22), though they don’t have a publication date on the site just yet.

Humphreys had previously written about the first Phibes movie in “The Kind of Fiend Who Wins” and now takes that and expands on it, giving us the definitive history of our favorite devious doctor, as well as a new essay on the sequel, Dr. Phibes Rises Again. There is also a new forward by William Goldstein, one of the creators of this wonderful character. Adding in interviews with many of the people involved with the films, such as director Fuest, screenwriters Goldstein and James Whiton, art director Brian Eatwell, sound designer Peter Lennard, organist Nicholas Kynaston, composer John Gale, and many others. The book will also include never-before-seen production artwork by Fuest from his personal shooting script, as well as photos that have never been published. And one part that I’m really interested in reading, the thorough history of the sequels that never came to be.

I know this will definitely be added to my library once it comes out and can’t wait to dive into it. For more information, just head over to BearManor Media’s website HERE.

Discover Women in Horror!

1000 Women in HorrorNever too early to start to promote an upcoming book, right? Especially one that helps shine the light on not only the horror genre, but a specific part that often goes unnoticed, or at least not getting the attention it should. But thanks to author and scholar Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, maybe that can change.

Next year, BearManor Media will be publishing her new book, entitled 1000 Women in Horror. Heller-Nicholas has already penned five different books on cult horror and exploitation cinema, such as Found Footage Horror Films: Fear and the Appearance of Reality and Rape-Revenge Films: A Critical Study, as well ones on titles like Suspiria and Mrs. 45.

But this new title will cover over a century of women who have contributed to the genre, helping make it what it is today.  While this isn’t due until next year, it is one that I know I will be looking forward to adding it to the library!

Stay tuned on BearManor Media‘s website for details when they come available.

2017 Year in Review Part 3: BOOKS!

gromit-reading

With as many titles that I add to my library each and every year, if I don’t force myself some rules, I’ll never get through some of these. Back in 2015, I’ve set myself a goal to get through at least one book per month. That year I almost made it, getting through eleven. Then last year, I devoured fourteen titles! Then this year I did even one better and made it to fifteen titles. Trust me, I wish I had the time to double that number since when you have over a thousand titles in your library, and are constantly adding new ones, it is a never ending quest. But one I that I just love. Just like my Best Of movie lists, these are not titles that came out this last year, but ones that I finally got around to. Out of those fifteen, here are the top five that I would recommend the most:

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Book Review: Interviews Too Shocking to Print!

interviewstooshockingInterviews Too Shocking to Print!
Published by BearManor Media, 2014. 332 pages.
By Justin Humphreys

Right off the bat, let me say that if you’re expecting a but of unedited and sorid tales of Hollywood that couldn’t be printed before, you will be disappointed. The title of the book refers to the old fashion ballyhoo that B-movies used to use in hopes to draw a crowd. That being said, I think this book should draw the crowd because it is simply a must read for anybody interested in the horror and sci-fi genre and the people behind them.

I have quite a few “interview” books in my library and at least half of them cover the usual suspects in the movie industry. Not saying that is a bad thing, but we tend to read the same stories, as well as the people being covered are ones that we are usually very familiar with. But what Humphreys does with this book is put the spotlight on more than a few names that have made huge strides in the industry, but are names that you don’t typically hear being brought up, which is a damn shame. Thankfully, with this book, hopefully that can change.

Humphreys started interviewing some of these talents at the early age of 15 years of age, so right away it shows his diehard passion for these kind of films. Throughout his career, he befriended a lot of these people in the industry and is now trying to give them the credit they most assuredly deserves. And even if quite a few of them that are covered here have already passed away, learning about them and their work is the best way to keep them alive. And Humphreys has done a wonderful job doing just that.

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Monster Squad Celebrates Monster Makers

Monster Squad Book

Some of the unsung heroes of horror films and monster movies are the guys that are actually creating the creatures! Back in the ’80s, the special effects and makeup artists were just as famous as the actors and directors, but that seems to have faded away. Sure, there are still names like Savini and Baker, but there are still so many talented people, working long and hard hours, to help bring these cinematic terrors to life. Now thanks to Heather A. Wixson, we can hear from several of the guys & gals in the trenches.

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