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

Thursday, December 8, 2016


THE SLASHER MOVIE BOOK. J. A. Kerswell. Chicago Review Press; 2010.

This thick, heavily illustrated trade paperback looks at the slasher film genre: Friday the 13th, Freddy Krueger, Halloween, Jamie Lee Curtis, and so on. There are chapters on pre-Psycho horror movies; Italian giallo films; German-made multiple murder films based on novels by Edgar Wallace; British and American Gothic films; "The Golden Age of the Slasher" from 1978 to 1984; and slasher films from other countries in the eighties, nineties, and afterward. In addition to notes on the usual suspects, I came across quite a few movies I had never seen or heard of before. I didn't agree with everything in the book, of course. For instance, Kerswell writes of Psycho: "Equating transvestism with mental illness seems to date the film,"but the sequence with the psychiatrist at the end goes to pains to make it clear that Norman Bates was not a true transvestite. But The Slasher Movie Book is more concerned with the later slasher outcrop than anything else, and does as good a job as anyone of knowledgeably surveying the scene. The book is chock-full of movie stills and posters.

Verdict: If you dig this sub-genre, the book is engaging and interesting, if a little gross,  to look at. ***.

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