Thursday, December 8, 2016
THE SLASHER MOVIE BOOK
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. ***.