Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 13, 2012



Don't be scared off by the sub-title: this is a very readable, entertaining look at horror films of all types [and many horror films have sexual sub-texts, which Hogan examines]; basically this is a book on horror movies, plain and simple. Hogan has chapters on vampires, werewolves, the Frankenstein monster [father vs. son conflicts], teen horror flicks of the fifties, Alfred Hitchcock, [going from the sublime to the ridiculous] Ed Wood ; Roger Corman, Barbara Steele [of Black Sunday and many others]; and Herschell Gordon Lewis and other goremeisters of his ilk. Okay, there are a few things that give one pause, such as: "I dare any woman to turn off the lights and try to resist the delicious sexual terror that must come when [Bela] Lugosi pauses on the stair and pronounces: "I am ... Dracula." Frankly, most [straight] women today wouldn't find Lugosi such a sex symbol anymore, but one can assume Hogan is having fun with the reader. On rare occasions you get the impression Hogan is writing from memory instead of a fresh viewing: he makes the harmless, not that gory [if admittedly gruesome] Attack of the Crab Monsters sound like a gore fest. Hogan expresses fear that the 70's and 80's gore films could desensitize an audience [on this he may well have been right, considering stuff like Piranha 3D], and objects to the "new wave sexual silliness" seen in a lot of movies. The book is admirably pro-female [the genre has often objectified women] and generally open-minded, although at times you sense a repressed reactionary lingering under the surface. Still, Dark Romance is an excellent, well-written book that aficionados will enjoy. NOTE: This review is of the original hardcover edition, not any revised reprints.

Verdict: Enthusiastic and informative survey of the horror genre with its own sexy slant. ***1/2.


David Hogan said...

Hi, William,

Thanks for your good and perceptive comments regarding my 1986 book, DARK ROMANCE: SEXUALITY IN THE HORROR FILM. I occasionally think about updating it, until I remember that the horror films I enjoy and admire span the years 1920 to about 1970. I really don't care to submit myself to the frankly unpleasant horror pictures that have dominated the last thirty years (gems like BLAIR WITCH and THE CONJURING, etc. aside).

I was living in Southern California when I wrote DARK ROMANCE. I did the first draft in longhand on yellow legal pads, over the better part of a year--while standing in the shallow end of my swimming pool. That was fun.

See amazon listings for my two most recent books, THREE STOOGES FAQ and FILM NOIR FAQ. Despite the titles, these are not FAQ books, but narrative books very much like DARK ROMANCE. ("FAQ" is used by the publisher as an identifier of a series.)

ANyway, thanks again.



William said...

Thank you, David, for writing such an entertaining book as "Dark Romance" and for your comments here. I will definitely look for the two new tomes you mention; they sound like something I'd enjoy reading. As well I'll check out "The Conjuring," which I haven't caught up with yet. Keep up the good writing! Best, Bill