Monsters in the Movies: 100 Years of Cinematic Nightmares
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Monsters in the Movies: 100 Years of Cinematic Nightmares

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  294 ratings  ·  51 reviews
From B-movie bogeymen and outer space oddities to big-budget terrors, "Monsters in the Movies" by legendary filmmaker John Landis showcases the greatest monsters ever to creep, fly, slither, stalk, or rampage across the Silver Screen!

Landis provides his own fascinating and entertaining insights into the world of moviemaking, while conducting in-depth "conversations" with l...more
Hardcover, 319 pages
Published September 19th 2011 by DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley)
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Trudi
Jan 19, 2013 Trudi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: film buffs, horror junkies

How could I resist a behemoth, colorful coffee table book about cinematic monsters put together by the legendary John Landis? I couldn't of course, it would have been impossible, which is why I'm writing this review.

I have a bit of fangirl squee going on for Mr. Landis, who wrote and directed one of my favorite movies of all time -- An American Werewolf in London. He's also famous for Animal House and The Blues Brothers (and a plethora of cheesy stinkers that I won't mention here). Landis hasn'...more
Vanessa
What is says on the tin: a retrospective of movie monsters of all kinds written by the legendary John Landis. It's beautifully organized and designed (a chapter for every monster type imaginable: zombies, ghosts, radioactive, etc.) and Landis is a knowledgeable and witty guide but he's capable of being far more insightful than he is here-horror movies themselves may not always be particularly smart but what they say about the culture that produces them can be profound. What's presented here are...more
Alexis
Apr 26, 2012 Alexis rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I had no idea who John Landis was before I read this book. He was a director who directed "American Werewolf in London" and "Blues Brothers". He was also involved with Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and "Black or White."

I first read about this book in the Globe and Mail and knew I had to see it. I have a love of old school monster movies, the macabre and special effects.

"Monsters in the Movies" is a huge coffee table book broken into sections like "Vampires", "werewolves", "giant creatures", "wit...more
Sue
Jun 21, 2014 Sue added it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! John Landis interviews some of his favorite writers/producers/directors, who were involved in the classic horror movies that span decades. Great pictures, too. There are a lot of similar books out there, but Landis knows his stuff. "Twilight Zone: The Movie" is his, among a long list of other movie classics he's been involved with. He also grew up a horror movie buff (like yours truly) so his fondness for the genre comes through in the book.
Sezin Koehler
This book is kick ass! John Landis is one of my favorite directors and his commentary is just like him, geeky, goofy, and funny. I have a huge new list of horror films and books that I need to watch/read based on his recommendations. I loved seeing favorites like Edward Scissorhands (including the original Burton drawing that inspired my own Edward tattoo), Medusa from Clash of the Titans, Fright Night, The Descent, and a whole host of others beautifully laid out in this massive pages.

The only...more
Kody
I've always adored ghoul and monster films so I really loved this book. It is a sort of compendium of cinema stills with small paragraphs describing the film, or the monster shown, which showcases all kinds ghoulies from throughout the ages. At the start of a chapter there are a couple of pages that describe a category of monster, as well as explore the cultural impact it has had over time. Also, after each chapter is an interview with a big wig that belongs to the industry! Very neat, I say. La...more
Harold
An entertaining rundown of the genre's most important films (big budget, low budget, mainstream and obscure), all delivered with Landis's trademark humor. As for organization, each chapter addresses a particular creature type/sub-genre (werewolves, mummies, Monsters from Space, Nature's Revenge, etc.). The numerous photos and mini-reviews are great, but JL's interviews with other major horror directors (Carpenter, Cronenberg, Joe Dante, et al) were the selling point for me.
There ARE a few factu...more
Vix
from the front to back cover this book is packed with fantastic pictures and information about a range of monsters....
John Landis has outdone himself with this brilliant book...
a must have for all horror fans and even those that just enjoy the movies....
Susan Cardosi
"the word 'monster' comes from the Latin monstrum. 'Monstrous' means a perversion of the natural order, usually biological...associated with something that is wrong or sinister"
This is my favorite coffee table book of the year, a joy to read and for a horror fan provides more of a yearbook of memories for the moments in film that impacted my perception and nightmares. Also, there is a list of films I am still yet to experience...
With lists, interviews, original movie poster artwork, and horrifi...more
Lee Anne
Director John Landis ("Animal House";"An American Werewolf in London," which is one of my all-time favorite movies in any genre) put together this nifty (borrowing the adjective Landis employs here to describe "C.H.U.D.") compendium of horror films. Done up in the inimitable DK style, this book is divided into clever categories such as Nature's Revenge, Scary Children, and Space Monsters, and stuffed with pictures captioned by Landis, who often candidly critiques the movies depicted. I borrowed...more
Mark
John Landis might seem an odd ‘guide’ for a book about horror films (he’s not known particularly as a horror director, though his “American Werewolf In London” is a classic), but reading his exuberant captions and essays, it’s clear the right choice was made. Breaking the genre down by type - ghosts, monsters (man-made and otherwise), the devil, etc - he heads each section off with a short essay highlighting key films and a potted history and then fills the rest of the space with wonderfully rep...more
Alicia Scully
Landis provides a visual aid to the horror genre and the different types of monsters from the movies. There's a general overview for each type of monster (vampires, ghosts, etc.) and then shots from the film are given with a small description. At the end of each section, there is an interview with an important contributor. Visually, this book is brilliant and I greatly enjoyed flipping through it. However, there isn't much of a discussion about the films or about the monsters. This book can serv...more
Don
Gorgeous stills of all the greatest horror movies. I've added many movies to my Netflix que thanks to this book.
Tori
This book was neat because it covered a little bit of everything!
Angie
There are a couple of small goofs in here -- some of the captions talk about characters not actually in the photos referenced, etc. -- but overall a very fun and interesting book charting the many categories of movie creatures. Everything from zombies to serial killers, vampires to ghosts; and Landis does a good job of covering both the quality (The Exorcist, Slither, I Walked With A Zombie) and the ridiculous (Megashark vs. Giant Octopus, The Mole People).

A fun coffee table book for any horror...more
Ryan Daley
An enormous, glossy, glorious book. As Landis states in his foreword, "This is a book with a lot of photographs of monsters in the movies." Nuff said. There are also brief interviews with horror icons like Sam Raimi, David Cronenberg, and others, but lavish photos from the Kobal Collection make up the majority of this 320-page tome. Witty photo captions from Landis add additional context. It's like a peek directly into his horror-nerd brain. The dude's got an obvious jones for naked lesbian vamp...more
Jenn Tested
Monsters in the Movies showcases various monsters, villains, beasts and ghosts that have played major roles in movies throughout the years. John Landis provides descriptions, quotes, pictures and numerous movies as reference. Monsters in the Movies does not hold back on anyone either. Amongst the monsters are killer dolls, mad scientists, demonic possessions, zombies, and even scary old women and children. Reading Monsters in the Movies was incredibly entertaining and set me on a horror movie ma...more
Ron DeVinitz
The sort of book that's right up my alley. Reminds me of all the Starlog and Fangoria magazines I used to read as a kid, and Landis' comments are fairly enjoyable. Something to enjoy on almost every page, the majority of the pictures are well chosen and the interviews are a nice break between segments. Although I couldn't handle the chapter on killer bugs and insects, the book is a nice reminder that I really need to take some time and get familiar with the Hammer horror films.
Vanessa
In this book, you'll find loads of pictures of film posters and iconic scenes featuring the creatures of horror movies, from classics to those lesser-known. The themed categories can assist you in determining where your horror movie interests lie. ("Ghosts", "Scary Children" and "True Crime" were among my top ones.) You may discover some new movies while revisiting favorites and recalling some of the really awful ones that exist out there. A must-read for horror movie fans.
Stacy
It's a beautiful book and I enjoyed looking at the pictures. There are more movie monsters than I can name and they're all in this book. This book has it covered from A-Z with everything that has ever appeared in a movie in the last 100 years, including my favorite Freddy Kruger. There's some nudity that I wasn't expecting, so I'd be careful about letting young kids thumb through it. But, I leave it out on my table so that anyone who's over can page through it.
TrumanCoyote
Cool that an actual director would agree to do a project like this, and even cooler that he would obviously enjoy it so much. Thank God that he didn't get all stuffy and high-handed on us but resolutely remained a fellow fan throughout. Also I must say that I found myself agreeing with a lot of his opinions (very rare for me in a movie book!). Perhaps the most fun item in the whole thing was the "Monster Carry" page. :)
Alexander
A very strange book...one I am not counting as "read" for 2014 because it's mostly pictures...it's not an encyclopedia...I am honestly not really sure what it is...lots of great pictures...some interesting interviews...frankly, I bought it at TIFF in order to meet John Landis and get my copy signed...I think you'd need to be a major movie monster cinephile to really appreciate this book.
Aussiescribbler Aussiescribbler
Director John Landis has put together a beautiful coffee table book paying tribute to the monsters of filmdom. While there are a few factual errors in the text and captions, its the collection of stills and posters which make the book, and they are a feast for the eyes. Landis' comments are thoughtful and sometimes witty and book is sure to fan the flames of fright film fanaticism.
Kate
And you can tell that this was a labour of love. This is from a fan of horror films to other fans of horror films. Not even horror films in the traditional sense - he talks of monsters, human and otherwise, and that covers a surprisingly wide range of film. Aside from a wrong captions it is a great book for any horror hound to have.
Joe
I like monsters. I like them a lot. I liked reading an entire book about them.

Although, mostly it's gorgeous stills and descriptions and the author asks the same questions of practically every interviewee. And the interviews aren't terribly revealing.

Still, monsters! And they are very well catalogued monsters at that. Brava.
Chris



One of, if not, my favourite coffee table books. Full of beautiful stills throughout. The book is divided into categories from classics such as vampires to werewolves to the more obscure demon children and killer dolls, a book you'll defiantly keep referring back to again an again
Andrew
First time I actually read a coffee table book cover to cover. Being a horror aficionado, there wasn't a lot for me to learn here- but that didn't matter. The way Landis talks about it horror and monsters is what make the book fun to read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
Anastacia
Beautiful photographs of monsters in film. There are some interesting tidbits. I can't believe the Space Monsters didn't have Communion or Fire in the Sky. Hell, Fire in the Sky I saw in the theater and I still have nightmares of those aliens. ILM really outdid themselves.
Marlowe
This is for the eBook.

An entertaining series of little essays that won't add anything new for the horror fan, but interviews with such heavyweights as Carpenter, Harryhausen, Raimi, and Romero make this worth reading.
Marias
Todella kattava teos, joka esittelee monipuolisesti elokuvien hirviöitä. Joidenkin kohdalla olisi toivonut enemmän avausta niiden taustasta (varsinkin ihmishirviöt), mutta ymmärrettävää ettei kaikkea saatu mahdutettua.
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