Wednesday, October 28, 2015

October Offerings: Horror Movie Reads

I love horror movies. I always have, even when I was probably  too young to be watching them. But when your older siblings are babysitting and offer to let you stay up past 9 PM if you'll watch Pet Sematary with them, you don't pass up the opportunity! (Even if you spend the next few years thinking that every awful thing from the movie is living in your closet.)

With horror films as popular as ever, it comes as no surprise that there are an endless amount of books about horror movies published in the last few decades, from movie guides to behind-the-scenes memoirs and everything in between.  I've complied a selection of some interesting horror movie books, categorized by subject. Happy reading!

Essentials, Must-Sees, and Watch-Before-You-Die

Horror 101: The A-List of Horror Films and Monster Movies by Aaron Christensen

Essential Horror Movies: Matinee Monsters to Cult Classics by Michael Mallory

101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die by Steven Jay Schneider

The Horror Show Guide: The Ultimate Frightfest of Movies by Michael Mayo

Horror by Decade or Genre

The Slasher Movie Book by J. A. Kerswell

Universal Studios Monsters: A Legacy of Horror by Michael Mallory

Monster Mash: The Creepy, Kooky Monster Craze In America by Mark Voger

Sixties Shockers: A critical Filmography of Horror Cinema, 1960-1969 by Mark Clark

J-Horror: The Definitive Guide to The Ring, The Grudge and Beyond by David Kalat

Ten Years of Terror: British Horror Films of the Seventies by Harvey Fenton and David Flint

The Hammer Story by Marcus Hearn and Alan Barnes

The Very Witching Time of Night: Dark Alleys of Classic Horror Cinema by Gregory William Mank

It Lives Again! Horror Movies in the New Millennium by Axelle Carolyn

The Making Of...
Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday The 13th by Peter M. Bracke

Chain Saw Confidential: How We Made the World's Most Notorious Horror Movie by Gunnar Hansen

Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness by Mark Salisbury

The Making of George A. Romero's Day of the Dead by Lee Karr

Jaws: Memories from Martha's Vinyard by Matt Taylor

Amicus Horrors: Tales from the Filmmaker's Crypt by Brian McFadden

Bits and Pieces

Danse Macabre by Stephen King

Monsters in the Movie by John Landis

Writing the Horror Movie by Marc Blake and Sara Bailey

The Horror of It All: One Moviegoer's Love Affair with Masked Maniacs, Frightened Virgins, and the Living Dead by Adam Rockoff

Hollywood Monster: A Walk Down Elm Street with the Man of Your Dreams by Robert Englund

The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror by David J. Skal

Monster Mash: The Creepy, Kooky Monster Craze In America by David J. Skal

Wes Craven: The Man and his Nightmares by John Wooley

Too Much Horror Business by Kirk Hammett

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

October Offerings: The Art of Mourning (Book Recommendations)

Widow's Weeds and Weeping Veils Revised Mourning Rituals in 19th Century America by Bernadette Loefell-Atkins

Widow's Weeds and Weeping Veils explores the culture of death and mourning that perveated almost every aspect of Victorian society. In the Victorian eera, mourning rituals and practices became more tangible and visible than in previous eras; from widow's weeds to various stages of social obligatory mourning periods--and everything in between--this book will take you on a tour through the complicated yet fascinating art of Victorian mourning.

In Death Lamented: The Tradition of Anglo-American Mourning Jewelry by Sarah Nehama

Mourning jewelry is not all that uncommon today (with necklaces containing creamted remains being the most common in the modern era) but at its heights in the 17th through 19th centuries, mourning jewelry was a cornerstone of the mourning process that utlized many different types of jewelry, artistic styles, and various social contexts. In Death Lamented explores how mourning jewelry developed from the 17th century through the 19th century and features photographs and historical commentary.

Fashionable Mourning Jewelry, Clothing, & Customs by Mary Brett

This Schiffer book is intended for collectors--it comes complete with price guides circa 2007 and a forward discussing the rising value of antique mourning pieces--but it is a treasure trove for anyone interested in mourning jewelry and other mourning pieces from the Victorian era. This full-color catalog features 300 pictures of everything from mourning jewelry, mourning portraits, mourning fashion, poetry and sympathy letters, antique death announcements, and more.

Friday, September 25, 2015

From Fiction to History: 'The Heretic's Daughter'

Fiction: The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

 Sarah Carrier, the young daughter of Martha Carrier, feels constantly at odds with her little world, where work and life are hard but not always that long. But the trials of childhood are nothing compared to the brutality and danger that sweeps into Salem, Massachusetts as the hysteria over witchcraft takes hold of the small village. Sarah's mother is one of the first to be accused and imprisoned on the charges of witchcraft, and Sarah can do little to help her mother--or avoid suspicion herself. Kathleen Kent is a 10th generation descendant of Martha Carrier, which makes this fictional take from Sarah's point of view even more poignant.

History: The Salem Witch Trials, a Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege by Marilynne K. Roach

'The Salem Witch Trials' is an incredibly thorough look at the Salem Witch Trials through a day by day chronicle of Salem Village in 1692 and 1693. Each entry includes information about any important happenings in the village that day, known weather conditions, as well as other pertinent information designed to give the reader an inside look at Salem, its inhabitants, and the trials that made the village infamous. Marilynne K. Roach's book places the events in Salem in their chronological context, allowing readers to have a clearer view of what happened--and, in many cases, a clearer look at why it may have happened.

History: A Storm of Witchcraft, The Salem Witch Trials and the American Experience by Emerson W. Baker

In A Storm of Witchcraft, Emerson Baker argues that the Salem Witch Trials were the result of a "perfect storm" rather than one particular factor, such as the popular theories regarding ergot poisoning or hysteria influencing the girls of Salem to accuse others of witchcraft. A Storm of Witchcraft takes a look at the events in Salem--and the American colonies as a whole during this time period, which saw a general rise in accusations of witchcraft--through a broader political and historical context. Baker also explores how the trials have inspired an enduring legacy, despite early attempts by the Puritan government to suppress the trial from the public mind.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

From Fiction to History: Book Recommendations ('In the Shadow of Blackbirds')

Fiction: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

When 16-year old Mary Shelley Black is sent to live with her aunt after her father is imprisoned for refusing to fight in the war, she finds once familiar streets and people forever changed. The war and the influenza epidemic have cast a black shroud over every aspect of life, and people increasingly turn to the supernatural in their bleakest moments.  Mary agrees to sit for a "spirit photograph" for an old friend who proclaims he can contact the dead, though the science-minded Mary doesn't take much stock in the otherworldly. But when the ghost of a soldier begins to visit her, Mary is forced to reconsider her personal views--and find a way to ease his restless spirit.

History: Faces of the Living Dead: The Belief in Spirit Photography by Martyn Jolly

In 'Faces of the Living Dead,' Martyn Jolly takes a look at the development and practice of spirit photography from its earliest forms in the 1870s through the 1930s, when the practice finally fell out of favor. In addition to exploring the 'whys' behind people's desire to belief in photographs of their loved one's spirits, Jolly goes into detail about how photographers used various tricks and techniques to create their unique images.

History: The Great Influenza, The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry

The influenza pandemic of 1918 killed three to five percent of the world's population in just over one year and affected just about every corner of the globe. The pandemic is considered to be one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history and is notable not just for the sheer number of deaths and infections, but for the fact that young, healthy adults were more likely to succumb to the disease than children or the elderly. The Great Influenza by John M. Barry is an extensive, comprehensive look at how the pandemic began, why it was able to spread so far and fast, and what we can learn from the '1918 flu' in preparation for future pandemics.