Book Review | Monsters in the Movies
Title: Monsters in the Movies
Author: John Landis
About the Book:
From the very first silent films to today’s blockbusters, the movies have continued to populate our nightmares with fantastic creatures of every shape and size. And no one understands nightmares better than legendary filmmaker John Landis. From B-movie bogeymen and outer space oddities to big-budget terrors, Monsters in the Movies by John Landis celebrates the greatest monsters ever to creep, fly, slither, stalk, or rampage across the Silver Screen.
Monsters in the Movies is a visual celebration of film history filled with an astonishing variety of illustrations, including a selection of images from the renowned Kobal Collection as well as movie posters, film stills and many never-before-published images. Each and every monster’s photograph is accompanied with fascinating and entertaining insights into its meaning and creation from Landis and a host of his friends and associates including Christopher Lee, Joe Dante, David Cronenberg, Sam Raimi, Guillermo Del Toro, Ray Harryhausen, Rick Baker and John Carpenter.
More than a photo history, Monsters in the Movies also surveys the historical origins of archetypal monsters and takes readers behind the scenes to discover the secrets of the special-effects wizards who created many classic cinematic creatures. Special photo essays cover popular genres such as Monsters Carrying Women and Staking Vampires, while contributions from John Landis’ friends and associates ensure that Monsters in the Movies is an extraordinary look at the greatest monsters to ever appear on film from Hollywood’s most accomplished and influential monster-makers themselves.
I grew up in the 80s and can remember my parents renting a VCR from our local store every weekend. It was a novelty back then and I thought it was the coolest thing to be able to rent movies. I remember my first horror film I watched at my friend’s house. It was called “The Intruder” and I thought it was the best thing ever. I know now it was a B movie, but I remember cuddling up with my blanket on the couch and being scared. I was hooked on horror films then! My parents said I could watch them when I was older, but I had my ways to get my scare fix….watching them at my friend’s house or asking my babysitter to tell me all about the latest Friday the 13th film. When I was finally allowed to watch scary movies, I would rent like 4 or 5 at a time and have movie marathon weekends with my cousins and friends.
To this day, I love a good horror flick. John and I own all the classics and have a movie room set up in the basement to house John’s VHS collection. The horror section has all my favourites: Hallowe’en, Evil Dead, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, April Fool’s Day and more!
When I was browsing through DK Canada’s Movie Manaics Boutique and saw the book, Monsters in the Movies, my heart started to race. I had to have that book!
This book covers 100 years of scary movies! I’m really only familiar with the ones from the 80s to today. After reading this book, my To-Watch list got a lot longer!
There’s chapters on vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, mummies…you name it. At the beginning of each chapter, the author gives an overview on each theme. You can flip ahead and read the ones that interest you or read it cover to cover. It’s full of pictures, descriptions of the movies and interesting tidbits. I did notice some nudity though, but that doesn’t bother me. Most horror movies have nudity in them anyways.
There’s interviews with a variety of directors including David Cronenberg and Sam Raimi. I also enjoyed seeing all the old movie posters.
It was neat seeing how much scary movies have changed over the years. Nowadays there’s more special effects and looking back at some of the monsters from my childhood they seem much more amateurish compared to what we have today.
It’s a coffee table book, but I’m not sure if I would keep it on the coffee table if you have kids around. They might be scared by some of the pictures! John never reads and he has started reading this book. In fact, he fought me to take it away from him so I could read it to write this review!
I think fans of horror films will appreciate this book. I know this particular horror fanatic loves it!