Monday, 31 October 2011

Horror Film Books

Taking my cue from Wes at Plutonium Shores I have put together a list of horror film books that I think are particularly good. Each title is linked to Amazon. Some are a little bit pricey! If you live in London or plan a visit I would highly recommend a trip to the British Film Institute Library where you can find most of these titles. Buy a day pass to their reading room - it's a treasure trove for film buffs and film scholars. I have spent many a happy day there researching Shocks to the System.

The Zombies that Ate Pittsburg: The films of George A. Romero - Paul R. Gagne (still the most comprehensive study of Romero's work - although it only goes up to Day of The Dead). Link

Wes Craven's Last House on the Left- David Szulkin (fascinating behind the scenes look at Craven's notorious film covering everything from the origins of its conception to its cultural impact) Link

English Gothic - Jonathan Rigby (excellent overview of the British horror film - including obscure wonders like Todd Slaughter) Link

Making Mischief: The cult films of Pete Walker - Steve Chibnall (Chibnall is the Walker expert - highly recommended) Link

Dark Carnival - David J Skal & Elias Savada (the only Tod Browning biography to have been written so far, to my knowledge, and brilliantly researched as you would expect from David Skal) Link

Shocking Representation - Adam Lowenstein (a fascinating critical study of the horror genre as allegory of historical trauma)  Link

The cinema of David Cronenberg - Ernest Mathijs (comprehensive critical study of Cronenberg's career from the early days of experimental shorts to Eastern Promises. Mathijs examines the production context of Cronenberg's films, their cultural context within Canadian cinema and their critical reception. Easily the best book on Cronenberg. Link

The cinema of George A. Romero - Tony Williams (Williams is the Romero expert - this is indespensible for Romero scholars) Link

George A. Romero Interviews - Tony Williams (a new book of interviews with Romero spanning his entire career - read my review here) Link

The Remarkable Michael Reeves - John B Murray (Excellent biography of the tragic British director) Link

Tod Browning (Hollywood Professional) - Stuart Rosenthal (an early critical study of Browning but still one of the best) Link

What the Censor Saw - John Trevelyan (fascinating memoir from the 1960s censor) Link

Horror in the Cinema - Ivan Butler (early survey of the genre but still very good - the section on Polanski's Repulsion is excellent) Link

Horror Movies - Carlos Clarens (another classic early survey) Link

Michael Reeves - Benjamin Halligan (excellent companion-piece to John Murray's biography. This one also offers an insightful critical appraisal of Reeves's films) Link

The Exorcist - Mark Kermode (Kermode is the expert on The Exorcist. What more can I say?) Link

Horror Films - James Marriot (very good and accessible survey of the genre from Virgin books) Link

James Whale - James Curtis (comprehensive and well-researched biography of the great British director) Link

Nightmare Movies - Kim Newman (newly revised and expanded - still one of the best and most accessible surveys) Link

Book of The Dead - Jamie Russell (the last word on zombie films from the brilliant FAB press) link

Horror Films of the 1970s/80s/90 (three volumes) - John Kenneth Muir (meticulously researched database including some of the more obscure releases from each decade) link

Beasts in the Cellar - John Hamilton (fascinating and detailed study of Tony Tenser's career as British horror producer in the 1960s and 1970s - another FAB press triumph) Link

Wounds of Nations - Linnie Blake (important study of horror films in relation to historical trauma and national identity. A dense, sometimes difficult read but a rewarding one) Link

Men, Women and Chainsaws - Carol J Clover (classic text on representation of gender in the horror film) Link

Dark Dreams - Charles Derry (another classic text - this one examines horror films by themic 'type') Link

Danse Macabre - Stephen King (proof of King's deep knowledge and understanding of the genre - entertaining too) Link

Night of The Living Dead Film-book - John Russo (Detailed behind the scenes account by the film's co-writer) Link

Poverty Row Horrors - Tom Weaver (excellent and unique look at horror films made by the poverty row studios - PRC, Republic, Monogram - in the 1940s) Link

Deformed Destructive Beings - George Ochoa (New book on the horror film by fellow blogger, George Ochoa) Link

Dario Argento - James Gracy (New book on Argento by fellow blogger and Fangoria writer James Gracy) Link


Wes M said...

Many thanks for this list Jon, quite a few there I must add to my collection. I must definitely pick up the Trevelyn memoir, after catching BBC4's BBFC documentry over the weekend. Great post - I'm gonna add a link to here from my book post.

Jon T said...

Thanks, Wes. I missed that BBC4 doc - must catch it on iplayer. Yes, I would definitely recommend the Trevelyan book. Shame Stephen Murphy didn't write one (did he?) for the 70s - Staw Dogs, Clockwork Orange, The Devils etc - that would be a good read.

George Ochoa said...

Appreciate the inclusion of DEFORMED AND DESTRUCTIVE BEINGS in such a fine list. Thanks--George Ochoa

Jon T said...

You're welcome, George. It's an interesting and original book.