My very first horror convention was in April of 1988, out in California. Up until then, I had never met anybody famous, especially any idols I had from the horror genre. But at the show, one of the first ones I met was George Romero. I had come walking out of the dealer room on my way to the auditorium for the Q&A’s, and there he stood, surrounded by fans like a scene from one of his zombie flicks. Except, instead of trying to eat him, they just wanted to get an autograph or just say hello and thanks. I didn’t take me long to join the growing mass of fans either. I had him sign my copy of Tom Savini’s Grande Illusions, which was my very first autograph as well. I still have that book to this day and is one of my most memorable.
Making and Remaking Horror in the 1970s and 2000s By David Roche Published by University Press of Mississippi, 2014. 335 pages.
Sometimes I really regret asking for a book to review. Especially when I had just finished reviewing one epic size book of Psycho-Babble, and then along comes this relatively new book by David Roche. He is a professor at the Université Toulouse Le Mirail with some publishing credentials under his belt. In other words, he’s no slouch. In fact, Roche is a very smart man and can do some amazing fact finding research, which he puts to use in this book. The concept of the book is to try and figure out the differences between the original ’70s versions of Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Dawn of the Dead, Hills Have Eyes, and Halloween, and their remakes that were all made in the 2000s, or what makes them better or worse and for what reasons.
That initial concept is what intrigued me at the start. But once I dove into it, I quickly realized what I had gotten myself into once again. This is not written for the casual fan, but for a very academic crowd. In fact, I had a dictionary opened most of the time when I was reading it to make sure I was getting the point he was stating. Gotta say though…even that didn’t help a lot of times. These University style books love to go way out of their way to explain something about a movie that really doesn’t need it or even have an explanation other than what is at face value. Here, Roche does a lot of quoting from other works of this sort, as well as giving his own insight, which I frankly think all of which is putting way too thought on this stuff. Let me give you a couple of examples.