Trick or Treat! Smell my feet! Give me something good to eat!
Ahhhhh, the month of October! Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, the one where the monsters get to come out and play, the night where, just maybe, the bogey man might get you (or maybe your candy!) As a long time fan of the horror genre (I also co-host the horror book club The Nightmare Factory) I’ve put together a display of books that deal with, describe in myriad ways, engage with, and explain away all the classic horror monsters we have grown up with. So come on up to our second floor to check out these nightmarish books!
Shock Value by Jason Zinoman
Based on unprecedented access to the genre’s major players, New York Times film critic Zinoman delivers the first definitive account of horror’s golden age–the 1970s, when such directors as Wes Craven, Roman Polanski, John Carpenter, and Brian De Palma redefined the genre.
Hideous Progeny by Angela M. Smith
Twisted bodies, deformed faces, aberrant behavior, and abnormal desires characterized the hideous creatures of classic Hollywood horror, which thrilled audiences with their sheer grotesqueness. Most critics have interpreted these traits as symptoms of sexual repression or as metaphors for other kinds of marginalized identities, yet Angela M. Smith conducts a richer investigation into the period’s social and cultural preoccupations. She finds instead a fascination with eugenics and physical and cognitive debility in the narrative and spectacle of classic 1930s horror, heightened by the viewer’s desire for visions of vulnerability and transformation.
Reading such films as “Dracula” (1931), “Frankenstein” (1931), “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (1931), “Freaks” (1932), and “Mad Love” (1935) against early-twentieth-century disability discourse and propaganda on racial and biological purity, Smith showcases classic horror’s dependence on the narratives of eugenics and physiognomics. She also notes the genre’s conflicted and often contradictory visualizations. Smith ultimately locates an indictment of biological determinism in filmmakers’ visceral treatments, which take the impossibility of racial improvement and bodily perfection to sensationalistic heights. Playing up the artifice and conventions of disabled monsters, filmmakers exploited the fears and yearnings of their audience, accentuating both the perversity of the medical and scientific gaze and the debilitating experience of watching horror. Classic horror films therefore encourage empathy with the disabled monster, offering captive viewers an unsettling encounter with their own impairment. Smith’s work profoundly advances cinema and disability studies, in addition to general histories concerning the construction of social and political attitudes toward the Other.
Monsters in the Movies by John Landis
From B-movie bogeymen and outer space oddities to big-budget terrors, Monsters in the Movies by legendary filmmaker John Landis showcases the greatest monsters ever to creep, fly, slither, stalk, or rampage across the Silver Screen!
Landis provides his own fascinating and entertaining insights into the world of movie-making, while conducting in-depth “conversations” with leading monster makers, including David Cronenberg, Christopher Lee, John Carpenter, and Sam Raimi— to discuss some of the most petrifying monsters ever seen. He also surveys the historical origins of the archetypal monsters, such as vampires, zombies, and werewolves, and takes you behind the scenes to discover the secrets of those special-effects wizards who created such legendary frighteners as King Kong, Dracula, and Halloween’s Michael Myers. With more than 1000 stunning movie stills and posters, this book is sure to keep even the most intense fright-seekers at the edge of their seats for hours!
Filming the Undead by Rod Durick
With the advent of cheaper and better digital video cameras, the world of movie-making is now within everyone’s grasp. Filming the Undead is the complete guide to making a zombie movie that pushes the boundaries of your imagination and taste, while showing you how to work within your budget. The book’s topics cover the entire filmmaking process, from coming up with an initial outline to marketing your movie. Step-by-step instructions show how to create your own special effects and makeup, including spurting blood and full-facial prosthetics. Tips and case studies throughout the book are based on the author’s own experiences of making thrilling, low-budget zombie movies.
Universal Studio Monsters by Michael Mallory
From the 1920s through the 1950s, Universal Studios was Hollywood’s number one studio for horror pictures, haunting movie theaters worldwide with Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, among others. Universal Studios Monsters: A Legacy of Horror explores all of these enduring characters, chronicling both the mythology behind the films and offering behind-the-scenes insights into how the films were created. Universal Studios Monsters is the most complete record of the horror films of this legendary studio, with biographies of major personalities who were responsible for the most notable monster melodramas in film history. The stories of these films and their creators are told through interviews with surviving actors and studio employees. A lavish photographic record, including many behind-the-scenes shots, completes the story of how these classics were made. This is a volume no fan of imaginative cinema will want to be without.
Night of the Living Dead by Joe Kane
The Phantom of the Movies offers the fascinating true story behind the making of George Romero’s 1968 groundbreaking film “Night of the Living Dead,” along with the film’s original screenplay.
Too Much Horror Business by Kirk Hammett
Not only is Kirk Hammett the lead guitarist for Metallica, one of the most successful heavy metal bands of all time, but he’s also the curator of one of the world’s finest collections of monster-movie memorabilia, a collection few people have ever seen. In Too Much Horror Business, Kirk finally unveils his near-mythical treasure trove of rare posters, props, costumes, and toys from the early silent classics to more modern fare. From Bela Lugosi’s annotated Dracula script to the creepy Donnie Darko bunny suit to cool model kits from the 1960s, Hammett has amassed hundreds of items over the years, including priceless international collectibles as well as the quirkier toys of his youth. Alongside scores of full-color, original photographs in this highly designed volume, Kirk offers up thoughts about his appreciation for all things scary and fantastic, shedding light on not only the collection of a lifetime, but the man himself.
The Hammer Vault by Marcus Hearn
This remarkable journey through the Hammer Vault includes props, annotated script pages, unused poster artwork, production designs, rare promotional material and private correspondence. Hundreds of rare and previously unseen stills help to create a rich souvenir of Hammer’s legacy, from the X certificate classics of the 1950s to the studio’s latest productions. Written and compiled by the official Hammer Films historian Marcus Hearn, and featuring exclusive contributions from the actors and filmmakers associated with the company, this is the most lavish book ever published on the legendary House of Horror.
– Letters to and from some of the company’s stars
– Pages from Peter Cushing’s scrapbooks
– Pages from the scrapbook of managing director Michael Carreras
– Pre-production artwork, and poster artwork from films that were never made
– Production designs
– Rare and previously unpublished photos
The Slasher Movie Book by J. A. Kerdwell
The slasher movie is the most reviled but successful of horror’s subgenres. Taking its cue from Hitchcock, grind-house movies, and the gory Italian giallo thrillers of the 1970s, slasher movies brought a new high in cinematic violence and suspense to mainstream cinema. For six bloody years (1978–1984)—the “golden age” of slashers—cinema screens and video stores were stalked by homicidal maniacs with murder and mayhem on their minds.
The Slasher Movie Book details the subgenre’s surprising beginnings, revels in its g(l)ory days, and discusses its recent resurgence. Packed with reviews of the best (and worst) slasher movies and illustrated with an extensive collection of distinctive and often graphic color poster artwork from around the world, this book also looks at the political, cultural, and social influences on the slasher movie and its own effect on other film genres.
They Live by Jonathan Lethem
“Apparently, author Lethem was the only other person than me to take They Live as brilliant, stinging social commentary. He explains why in this great book.” — Sam Stowe, California Literary Review
“Who would have thought that one of the cleverest, most accessibly in-depth film books released this year would be a smart-ass novelist exploring a cheesy-cheeky ‘80s sci-fi flick wherein a former wrestler combats an alien occupation via magic sunglasses? . . . [Jonathan Lethem] is able to seriously dissect the movie’s message and often highbrow references, while also fully acknowledging its silliness.” —Hartford Advocate
“Novelist and occasional critic Jonathan Lethem pulls apart the threads of John Carpenter’s 1988 science fiction film of the same title, to entertaining and illuminating effect . . . Carpenter’s film emerges from Lethem’s inspection a more human and mysterious work, less coherent perhaps but fully immersed in the noisy, ceaseless traffic of cultural exchange.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A fun read, packed with references to other films, literature and artists . . . one of the few books one would enjoy reading while watching a movie.” —USA Today’s Pop Candy
The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion by Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard
From Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Drew Goddard, writer of the monster movie phenomenon Cloverfield, comes the horror film to end all horror films! The details of the plot are a closely guarded secret, though Joss himself has described it as “a straight-up, balls-out, really terrifying horror movie,” adding,”it is not just a slasher in the woods. It’s a little more complicated than that…” All will be revealed in the Official Visual Companion, featuring in-depth interviews, the full screenplay by Whedon and Goddard, stunning production art, and hundreds of color photos!
The Art of Hammer by Marcus Hearn
Over fifty years ago, with the release of The Curse of Frankenstein and Christopher Lee’s iconic performance in Dracula, Hammer ushered in a whole new era of blood and barely-restrained cleavage in glorious color, mixing sex and horror with a style and panache that made the small British company world famous. The Art of Hammer collects the very best and most iconic movie posters produced for the Hammer studio. This lavish hardcover brings together rare artwork from around the world. Featuring Hammer’s greatest films, including The Curse of Frankenstein, the Dracula series, and many more.