Just to get this out there right away, my Best / Worse lists always consists of films that I watched for the first time in 2017, not necessarily that they came out. Most of the films I watch are from DVD or Blu-Ray and I don’t make it to the theater too often to see them when they first come out. Or they might be an older film that I’m seeing for the first time. So no matter when it actually came out, it still is a new movie to me.
I got through 209 films this year, 77 of them were first-time viewings for me. That is a little lower than normal for us, but I’ve been spending a lot of time working on a side project that will hopefully see the light of day this year. Then I can get back to watching more movies!
So here are the top five that I watched in 2017 that made the most impact on me this year.
The Monster Movies of Universal Studios
By James L. Neibaur
Published by Rowman & Littlefield, 2017. 213 pages.
Anytime there is a book about the Universal monster movies, then count me in, since I’m always up for revisiting these classic films. Of course, the only problem is that since this subject has been written about just a few times before, it might be tough to come up with something new and different for readers to get information that have haven’t several times before. But overall, I think that Neibaur does a good job discussing these films.
After a very brief history of Universal Studios (which could be a book on it’s own), the it follows all the movies from there that feature their main set of monsters: Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. So any film that featured one of these monsters, or possibly their descendent, the title is covered. There is a total of 29 features covered here, starting with 1931’s Dracula and ending with The Creature Walks Among Us (1956), with each chapter covering each of the titles. The credits and cast are listed, before Neibaur gets into details of each film, such as the plot, information about the people involved, and some other trivia as well.
The Turn to Gruesomeness in American Horror Films, 1931 to 1936
By Jon Towlson
Published by McFarland, 2015. 240 pages
One of the wonderful things about reading up on the history of horror films is that there is always something new and interesting that can be learned once a subject is really put under the magnifying glass. Now this isn’t to say that if you look for something you’ll find it, even if it isn’t there, but Towlson has done a great deal of research to back up his thoughts and ideas in this recent book. It also shows that no matter how long you’ve been a fan, there is always more to learn.