Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Latest Reviews

Tom of Finland by Rob Gonsalves

Happy Death Day by Jay Seaver

78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene by Jay Seaver

Death Note: Light Up the New World by Jay Seaver

Brawl in Cell Block 99 by Peter Sobczynski

Almost Coming, Almost Dying by Jay Seaver

Blade Runner 2049 by Rob Gonsalves

City of Rock by Jay Seaver

Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue, The by Jay Seaver

Mole Song: Hong Kong Capriccio, The by Jay Seaver

Love and Other Cults by Jay Seaver

Chasing the Dragon by Jay Seaver

Never Say Die (2017) by Jay Seaver

Inhumanwich! by Rob Gonsalves

Blade Runner 2049 by Peter Sobczynski

Laplace's Demon, The by Jay Seaver

Junk Head by Jay Seaver

American Made by Peter Sobczynski

Mother! by Rob Gonsalves

Money's Money by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Book Review - The Virgin Guide to Horror Films by James Marriott
by Matthew Bartley

You always know what you're getting with any edition of the Virgin film guides. Simply titled (no elaborate pun on an obscure work for Virgin, instead they're blandly called 'Horror films' or 'Comic Book Films' or 'Spielberg'), they're neatly titled into 20 films/chapters that the author feels best represents the genre/director. But while this may make the book easy to read, it also leaves a slight feeling of undernourishment.

Marriott then, takes a wide historical range of horror films from 'Nosferatu' through to 'Ringu' and makes two things very apparent: 1) he can write and 2) he loves horror.

For any budding film studies student, Marriott's writing is an excellent example of just how to study, read and write about a film. His exploration of the themes in films such as 'Invasion of the Bodysnatchers', 'Don't Look Now' and 'The Fly' are incisive but easy to understand. It doesn't have the academic tone of say, Darryl Jones' 'Horror: A Thematic History in Fiction and Film', instead reaching out in a much more accessible way. So while we can all recite the 'reds under the bed' reading of 'Invasion of the Bodysnatchers', Marriott finds more unusual ways of reading it and films like 'Nosferatu'

But Marriott's writing to some extent is hamstrung by the strcuture of the Virgin book series. No genre, let alone horror, can be comphrensively covered in 20 films and there are notable exceptions here. Where is 'The Blair Witch Project', for example, the horror film that gave the genre the boost it sorely needed? For that matter, where is 'The Shining'?

This wouldn't be a problem if all the chapters were written with the same passion that Marriott writes about 'The Haunting' with for example. But he confesses himself, that he's not particularly enthralled with 'The Exorcist'. So why not ignore it and write about a different film he's more passionate about? And an entry like 'Deep Red', seems to exist to make a cursory nod to Italian horror rather than because the author has a burning desire to include it in the first place.

So although Marriott's writing and analysis is excellent in places, he's blunted by the rigid structure imposed upon him. This makes the book not as essential or as exhaustive as it likes to think, but rather a casually impressive one, a book to dip into every so often rather than base your entire knowledge upon.


link directly to this feature at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/feature.php?feature=1543
originally posted: 07/06/05 10:07:05
last updated: 07/09/05 10:30:41
[printer] printer-friendly format


Discuss this feature in our forum

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast