Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix

To say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover was probably never less relevant than with horror paperbacks from the 70s and 80s. This time period offered the most insane covers, enticing you to untold nightmares inside. In those days of pre-Internet, pre-blogs, and widespread reviews you’d find a book just by browsing the shelf. A cover that stood out would make all the difference. It seemed as though artists had free reign to sell the book in ways you would never see now. Did the text match the quality of the cover? Not always, but as Hendrix tells us, they accomplished the most important thing – they were not boring. After reading an extremely bizarre, long forgotten paperback, our author became addicted to the hunt, and we follow his journey of discovery through used book stores in search of more lost gems. Paperbacks from Hell offers the history […]

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Frightmares: A History of British Horror Cinema by Ian Cooper

As the author of Frightmares states in the introduction, British horror cinema has been much maligned. Horror is seen as even more of a third class genre than in the United States. There is the expectation that British cinema should be serious high drama. Throwing in the persecution of horror by the BBFC and their censorship of video nasties and you can see why horror has had such a difficult time. Coverage in the book begins in the 1930s with The Ghoul. As you would expect, there is considerable coverage of the Hammer horror era. This includes examination of titles such as The Satanic Rites of Dracula. The Video Nasty era was another section of particular interest to me. You will find lots of gems as the author moves through the decades. There were many titles I’d never heard of that I now want to catch up on. From the […]

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French Extremity Cover

Films of the New French Extremity by Alexandra West

In the early to mid-2000s French cinema reached the cutting edge of horror. The often brutal and shockingly violent films captivated audiences worldwide. Horror had been in a slump and this was a breath of fresh air. The pinnacle of these titles was High Tension and Martyrs. Alexandra West takes a look at the movement with Films of the New French Extremity: Visceral Horror and National Identity. Torture porn was the horror standard in the U.S. at the time, with the yearly Saw movies dominating the horror box office. A number of French movies took things to the next level in both originality and violence. The movies covered in the most detail include the ones previously mentioned as well as Irreversible, Inside, and Them. The author examines 22 films altogether. Our author introduces us to French cultural and cinema history to set the scene for this movement. There is a fair […]

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Dario Argento: The Man, the Myth & the Magic by Alan Jones

Dario Argento is undeniably a horror legend. His horror and giallo films have proven groundbreaking, bringing us such classics as Suspira, Tenebrae and Deep Red, to name but a few from an illustrious body of work. His bold visual imagery and use of color on the screen have rarely been matched. This book provides an in-depth examination of his career, both as a director and a producer, looking at each of his films in chronological order. It’s clear that Alan Jones, the journalist who put this together, is a dedicated fan of Argento and that comes through with his enthusiastic writing and thirst for detail and knowledge about the man and his work. After the background and discussion of each film, Jones follows up with a review, detailed production information, and shooting locations. Dario Argento: The Man, the Myths & the Magic is the third edition of this book, originally […]

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Satanic Panic edited by Kier-La Janisse and Paul Corupe

During the 1980s there was a great fear in western cultures, and no it wasn’t terrorism. It was Satan. The fear was of a satanic conspiracy, with satanists in high ranking positions throughout all walks of life. Mediums of popular culture were being used to recruit new followers and brainwash the young. Satanists could be your neighbor, your teacher, your co-worker, and while normal during the day, they would be wearing robes and making sacrifices with fellow worshipers at night. It’s a truly fascinating topic, and this new book from Fab Press goes to some length to try and explain how and why this happened. Growing up in the eighties, I remember seeing the newspaper headlines and the general paranoia of the mainstream press. Satanic Panic features essays and interviews by 20 writers on the subject to provide an in-depth examination and the untold stories. The first essay covers the […]

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Second Scream by Adrian Roe

Last year I covered Adrian Roe’s book First Scream to the Last which I greatly enjoyed. It took us through what is possibly horror cinema’s greatest decade, the 1980s. Now Adrian is back with his follow up Second Scream, which covers the 90s. The 90s are an era that saw a downturn in horror popularity, with a reputation for a similar downturn in inventiveness and quality. It’s an era that receives much less critical attention than the 1980s, so I thought this book was a great idea. The author presents to us the films that stood out from the 90s to show that there were some diamonds in the rough in what he calls, the decade that horror forgot. For the structure of the book, each chapter covers a different year of the decade, and within each year there are a number of films presented. Obviously some years were more […]

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Death By Umbrella by Christopher Lombardo and Jeff Kirschner

When I first heard of Death By Umbrella: The 100 Weirdest Horror Movie Weapons, I thought, “What a great concept!” Much of the joy from horror movies, especially when watching with friends, comes from seeing ever more inventive and bizarre kills. We all probably have a particular favorite from the big franchises like Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. The sleeping bag scene in Friday the 13th Part 7 or the eye gauge in Zombi 2 might be mine. This book goes beyond those franchises covering classics and movies you may never have seen or even heard of. Our authors Christopher Lombardo and Jeff Kirschner set out to give us some of the best! When dealing with such a crazy topic it’s only fitting that Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman provides the foreword and it’s funny and fitting. The deaths discussed are divided into seven categories. We have death in the home, in […]

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