From the UK comes “Horror Films,” a compact paperback aiming to give an overview of fright flicks from the world over. (Who knew there was such a scene in “Australasia”? There’s a whole chapter devoted to it.)
Unlike the many books on entertainment shelves covering movies of malice, Kamera Books’ offering is not a reference, but more of an academic essay, minus the footnotes. Freelance critics Odell and Le Blanc approach their subject seriously, showing the genre respect and therefore, earning mine.
Separated by countries and continents, their guidebook includes most of the usual suspects (“Jaws,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”), but also makes some interesting and brave choices, such as “The Toxic Avenger,” which is a flat-out comedy; Japan’s “Godzilla,” which is science fiction; and the killer-pig vehicle “Razorback,” which is merely unwatchable. On the flip side, the duo also champions worthy, under-the-radar gems such as Larry Cohen’s “Q: The Winged Serpent,” Sam Raimi’s cult smash “Evil Dead 2″ and Dario Argento’s genuinely disturbing “Suspiria.”
As a value-added bonus, the book includes a DVD containing three horror flicks you’ve never heard of: “Virus,” “Savage” and “Chicken Soup.” All are worth a look, crafted with skill. —Rod Lott