The Haunted House on Film

Haunted House on filmJust throwing this out there, so other lovers of movies about spooky houses can add it to their list of upcoming books to buy, McFarland has announced this title to be released later this year. I don’t have a lot of information about it other than the title is The Haunted House on Film and is by Paul Meehan. I’ve been a huge fan of haunted house movies ever since those old black and white thrillers from the ’30s and ’40s (which always turned out to be some sort of Scooby Doo endings), but once I got to see The Haunting (1963) and The Legend of Hell House (1973), there was no turning back. So I’m thrilled that someone has put a book together compiling all of these great movies. Granted, the “Historial Analysis” has me worried a bit that it might be one of those academic, microscopic looks at the sub-genre, but one can hope, right?

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. But figured I would just start getting the word out there!

Book Review: “Twice the Thrills! Twice the Chills!”

Twice the Thrills“Twice the Thrills! Twice the Chills!”
Published by McFarland, 2019. 433 pages.
By Bryan Senn

The double feature was an interesting concept from the start. If you’re not aware of how it all started, then the beginning of the latest book from Senn will fill in all those historical details for you. In fact, I found that part of the book to be a very interesting history lesson, how the studios were reacting to what the TV market was doing to them. It shows that once again how things tend to change because of money, either due to an increase of it, or a decrease, and definitely in the film business. Continue reading

Twice the Thrills! Twice the Chills!

Twice the ThrillsThere is just something special about good old fashioned double features! Sure, they might have started to draw in audiences more, getting double the entertainment for your hard-earned dollar. And sure, usually the main feature was followed up by a cheaper B-picture, but none the less, they were a lot of fun. Now, author Bryan Senn takes a look at this special time in our movie history, when double features were something to look forward to.

Starring with Universal-Internationals release of Revenge of the Creature and Cult of the Cobra in 1955, Senn goes through the next 20 years covering all the officially sanctioned double-bills of horror and science fiction titles. All 147 of them! You’ll read all about the films with production details, historical notes, and critical commentary.

This 433 page book is now available through McFarland. It’s a bit pricy at $59.95, but Senn’s work is always entertaining and very informative. I am looking forward into diving into this! 

You can order your copy now by clicking HERE.

Book Review: Hammer Complete

Hammer CompleteHammer Complete: The Films, the Personal, the Company
Published by McFarland, 2018. 992 pages.
By Howard Maxford

Wow.

It’s really hard to be not excited when a book comes out on one of your favorite studios that is just a few pages shy of a 1000! Sure, some of you that ask, “do we really need another book on Hammer Films?” Well if it is as massive and thorough as this one, then that would be a definite yes! I have been waiting on this book to come out since McFarland announced it well over a year ago, but had no idea how colossal of a tome this would be. Maxford states in his introduction that it has taken over 15 years to complete this and it looks like it.

I’ve been reading and researching and learning about Hammer Studios and the people behind it for somewhere around three decades, but there is always still more to learn. That was proven once again as I started browsing through this before I read some little tidbits that I didn’t know about. Such as that Jimmy Hanley, who played the friendly bartender in The Lost Continent (1968), is actually the father of Jenny Hanley, who appeared in Scars of Dracula (1970)! Sure, it’s just a little bit of trivia, but that is a sign of a good reference book.

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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: 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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Know Your Nosferatu History?

Nosferatu StoryThe German silent film Nosferatu (1922) remains one of the most famous of horror films. Yes, it was an illegal adaptation of Stoker’s novel, and was supposed to be destroyed by a court order, but lucky for us fans, prints remained and now we can still see and enjoy this amazing piece of early horror cinema today. But what is really known about this film and the people behind it? Now, thanks to author Rolf Giesen, we will be able to learn the history behind this infamous picture.

According to McFarland’s website, The Nosferatu Story: The Seminal Horror Film, Its Predecessors and Its Enduring Legacy gives us “the complete story drawing on rare sources. The trail leads to a group of occultists and their plan for establishing a leading film company that would produce a momentous series of horror movies. Along the way, the author touches upon other classic German fantasy silent, including The Golem, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and Metropolis.

The book is set to be released by the fall of this year, and has a retail price of $45. For more information, head over to McFarland’s website HERE.