Saturday, April 28, 2012

Review: Taschen's 'Horror Cinema'

This year marks the 32nd anniversary of Taschen, one of the finest producers of lavish photography books in a sadly gasping publishing world. Horror cinema, of course, is deathless. The recent republication of Taschen’s tribute to that genre is a testament to both Horror’s determination to continue creeping us out and Taschen’s resolve to continue rolling out high quality photo books. Jonathan Penner and Steven Jay Schneider’s text is an intelligent enough primer on the sundry slashers, cannibals, giants, zombies, spooks, devils, and vampires that have populated some 100 years of scary movies. Nothing we old diehards haven’t studied before, but amusing and insightful enough to warrant review, and the opening passage is as beautiful and lucid an explanation of the difference between terror and horror as you’ll ever read.

Of course, that commentary is peas and carrots next to the big, bloody steaks that are the photographs comprising the bulk of Horror Cinema. Generally speaking, photo collections of this sort should be judged on the obscurity of the pictures contained. Horror Cinema doesn’t disappoint on this count, offering some of the most luridly detailed looks at Leatherface, The Alien Queen, and The Grand High Witch available. More importantly, it sports some valuable production sketches from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Phantom of the Opera, King Kong, and Alien and a gullet-stuffing glut of behind-the-scenes stills. Horror Cinema is worth the (very reasonable) cover price for these peeks at the makings of Freaks, The Birds, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Island of Lost Souls, Eyes without a Face, The Mummy, Bride of Frankenstein, Gremlins, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jaws, and way too many others to mention.

Get Horror Cinema from Amazon.com here:


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