Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Diabolique Interview

James Gracey at Diabolique Magazine interviewed me about thirties horror and gruesomeness. You can read the interview here.

Monday, 27 February 2017


The Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards

I am honored to be nominated for BOOK OF THE YEAR at the 15th Annual Rondo Hatton Awards, a recognition of achievement in classic horror scholarship for my book THE TURN TO GRUESOMNESS IN AMERICAN HORROR FILMS, 1931-1936. It's my second Rondo nomination (the first was for SUBVERSIVE HORROR CINEMA). Congratulations to everyone nominated this year. 

The Rondo is open to voting from the public.


Friday, 20 January 2017

GRUESOMENESS on Preliminary Ballot for 2017 Bram Stoker Awards

I was thrilled to get word today that my book, THE TURN TO GRUESOMENESS IN AMERICAN HORROR FILMS, 1931-1936 has been included in the preliminary ballot for the 2016 BRAM STOKER AWARDS in the category SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN NON-FICTION.

This is not a nomination, I should point out, but it's still a great honour!!!

Friday, 30 December 2016

"This may well be the book on 'classic horror' to beat this year" - VIDEO WATCHDOG

Tim Lucas/ Video Watchdog has included my book, THE TURN TO GRUESOMENESS IN AMERICAN HORROR FILMS, 1931 in his list of OUTSTANDING FILM BOOKS OF 2016!

You can read Tim's review here.

Hear me talk about the book over at Halloweekly

Friday, 23 December 2016


Halloweekly Podcast invited me on to their show to talk about my book, THE TURN TO GRUESOMENESS IN AMERICAN HORROR FILMS, 1931-1936.

Click here or on the link below to listen to the show

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Miskatonic - London: Synthetic Flesh/Rotten Blood: The Turn to Gruesomeness in American Horror Films, 1931-1936


Thu. Mar. 16, 2017 -  7:00 pm - 10:00 pm  

The Horse Hospital

Taking a fresh look at the genre from 1931 through 1936, this class examines ‘happy ending’ horror in relation to industry practices and censorship. Early works like Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) and The Raven (1935) may be more akin to the modern Grand Guignol of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and Hostel (2005) than many critics believe. Tracing the development of classic horror to the deployment — and subsequent censorship — of on-screen ‘gruesomeness’, Jon Towlson will illustrate the discussion with memos, letters and censorship reports from the studio archives and other research conducted for his new book, The Turn to Gruesomeness in American Horror Films, 1931-1936.

Info and tickets

Thursday, 10 November 2016


Newly published by McFarland, this collection of 54 biographical essays examines many overlooked and underrated figures who have played a role in the ever expanding world of horror and gothic entertainment. The contributors push the boundaries of how we define these terms, bringing into the discussion such diverse figures as singer-songwriter Tom Waits, occultist Dion Fortune, author Charles Beaumont, historian and bishop Gregory of Tours and video game designer Shinji Mikami. Foreword by Sir Christopher Frayling.

My own contribution to the book is an essay on the mighty Jeff Lieberman, director of Squirm!



"From the team that brought you the mighty 70s Monster Memories, here’s another giant film book for genre fans and collectors alike. Covering more than 200 neglected, un-appreciated or forgotten horror and fantasy films from the silents to the 1970s, the book has everything from The Alligator People to Willard, from Tombs of the Blind Dead to The Black Zoo and from Grizzly to Frankenstein 1970. A true labour of love by editors Eric McNaughton & Darrell Buxton and their team of contributors (including myself) this large format paperback has 448 pages, is full colour throughout and packed with stills, posters and lobby cards. Foreword by Joe Dante."

Order now from Hemlock Books.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

'Gruesomeness': Book launch at City Screen Picturehouse, York - Thursday 20 October, 7.30pm

To mark the Universal Monsters season, and our horror film course, States of Terror, which starts on 25 October, City Screen is delighted to host the launch of author and course tutor Jon Towlson's new book, The Turn to Gruesomeness in American Horror Films, 1931-1936. Join us for a glass of wine at 7.30pm in the Sky Lounge, when Jon will be signing copies of his book, followed at 8.50pm by a screening of Dracula (1931), introduced by Jon.

Date: Thursday 20 October, 7.30pm

Venue: City Screen Picturehouse, 13-17 Coney Street, York, YO1 9QL.

Further info here