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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101 Scariest Movies Ever Made

101 Scariest Movies Ever Made

I really have a love/hate relationship with these kind of books. It’s a book on horror films, so of course I’m going to add it to the library. But when a book comes out with a title like this, it is always open for debate, since everyone’s opinions are going to be different, even if just a little bit. Maybe you can’t believe that they would have included a certain title in their Top Ten? Or maybe that they even left out a film that you think should have been included.

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New Making of Cujo Book!

Cujo BookNothing pleases me more than when I hear of a new book coming on a horror movie. Not only does it make me happy that here are still books being published, but also that it is about the genre I love so much. Definitely a win-win! Now it has been years since I’ve seen the film version of Cujo, and even longer since I’d read the book. But I do remember enjoying both for different reasons. I know it’s been a film that I’ve been meaning to re-visit for a while. I’m sure after reading this book, that desire will be even greater.

Lee Gambin, author of Massacred by Mother Nature, has a new book out called Nope, Nothing Wrong Here: The Making of Cujo, that focuses just one of those killer animal movies, the 1983 film based on the King book which was published in two years earlier. A simple story about a battle between a mother and her young child against a massive and rabid Saint Bernard. I know of a couple people that this movie simply terrified them and made them always a bit twitchy around dogs, of any size. Gambin’s book tackles the whole movie from beginning to end, and all aspects of the production. It covers the early days when the production was running into problems, the original director Peter Medak getting canned, and so much more. With more than thirty different interviews with the people involved, Gambin gives us a ton of information about this famous furry terror. We’ll get to hear from actors Dee Wallace, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Danny Pintauro, director Lewis Teague, composer Charles Bernstein, stuntman Gary Morgan, and plenty of more.

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Hollywood’s Pre-Code Horrors!

hollywood-pre-code-horrorsWhile we are just finishing up Jon Towlson’s book The Turn to Gruesomeness in American Horror Films 1931 to 1936, it looks like we’ll be continuing our little history lesson with this new book by Raymond Valinoti Jr., entitled Hollywood’s Pre-Code Horrors 1931-1934, published by BearManor Media.

Valinoti Jr. has a Master’s in Library Science and is a freelance researcher, so I can only imagine this guy has done his homework on this subject, which is a damn fascinating one. With all the BS we hear about the goings-on with Hollywood and getting pictures released, it amazes me what they went through back in the ’30s, and was still able to get away with murder! Well, at least on the big screen!

Back before the MPAA, movie studios tended to get away with a lot more than they did have the late ’30s when they started to be held to a higher (and moral) standard. During the depression, the studios really pushed the limit, trying like hell to get people into the theaters with films like Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) and The Black Cat (1934).

This title is available in both softcover ($19.95) and hardcover ($30) editions and can be ordered from either Amazon or directly from BearManor Media. It’s the same price, so do a favor for the small business guy and order from BearManor Media. Just click HERE. They put out some great books, many of which I have in my own library.

Book Review: Growing Up with Manos

Growing up with ManosGrowing Up with Manos: The Hands of Fate
By Jackey Neyman Jones with Laura Mazzuca Toops
Published by BearManor Media, 2016. 138 pages

Any serious fan of horror, cult and exploitation films, not to mention Mystery Science Theater 3000, knows of the film Manos: The Hands of Fate. Known to the world as the worst movie ever made, even beating out anything that Ed Wood Jr. ever created is a tough race to win, but it has. A film made by a bunch of locals in the small town of El Paso, Texas, all with dreams of stardom in their eyes, created a film that still lives on to this day, something that has gone farther than any of the ones involved ever thought possible. Maybe not in the way they all hoped, but none the less it has.

Jackey Neyman Jones appeared in the film as little Debbie, but also had a greater connection besides her little part. Her father not only appears in the film as the infamous The Master, but also did the makeup, was the set designer, and quite a bit more. Her mother also worked on the movie, making quite a few of the costumes in the film. There were promises of payment and percentages, but we all know those how those go, even the movie making state of California. But instead of payment, what Tom Neyman and his daughter got was immortality because of their connection and appearances in Manos. Sometimes it makes you wonder what is better.

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