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Monsters in the Movies

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  501 Ratings  ·  66 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 lea
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 19th 2011 by DK
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Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter BiskindHitchcock by François TruffautPictures at a Revolution by Mark  HarrisThe Great Movies by Roger EbertAdventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman
Books ABOUT Movies
55th out of 432 books — 169 voters
Clive Barker's A - Z of Horror by Stephen JonesCreature Features by John  StanleyCut! Horror Writers on Horror Film by Christopher GoldenShock Value by Jason ZinomanThe Encyclopedia Of Horror Movies by Tom Milne
Horror Movie Books
27th out of 142 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 19, 2013 Trudi rated it really liked it
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'
Benjamin Stahl
Sep 15, 2016 Benjamin Stahl rated it liked it
This is a decent book for what it is. I bought it for myself with birthday money several years ago, before I was into reading novels. I have never actually read it from cover to cover as it is more like a giant scrap book of all the most famous horror movie monsters. It's got Jaws and Alien and King Kong etc so it knows what it's talking about. (To be honest I am just trying to build my 'books read' count on Goodreads).
Oct 03, 2015 Matt rated it it was amazing
I will never "finish" reading this...
Apr 26, 2012 Alexis rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 24, 2016 SJ rated it liked it
This book is unique (at least to me) because
rather than compiling a list of top 100s or one genre, Landis pulls together a massive list of monsters from critically acclaimed films, B-movies, and film disasters. This is good for the reader to get a lot of exposure at once, and also helps create a sense of context for films in their larger [sub]genres.

The book is organized in several sections: vampires, werewolves, mad scientists, zombies, ghosts, mummies, myths/legends/fairy tales, dragons and d
Garrett Cash
Ever since I saw this book sitting on a display in Barnes & Noble I knew I had to read it. Come on, John Landis (An American Werewolf In London for one) writing a book about movie monsters? Sounded like a recipe for a fun and informative book to me, and I wasn't wrong. Now I've read it many years later and I'm glad I waited a while, because now I've seen the majority of the discussed films here. It was interesting to hear Landis's take (and others in interviews) on various horror movies. For ...more
Jun 17, 2012 Vanessa rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
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
Sezín Koehler
Apr 10, 2012 Sezín Koehler rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Horror fans
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
Chelsea Murrell
Feb 05, 2015 Chelsea Murrell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
I love this book. I love monster and horror films so this is perfect! Some of the pictures are absolutely beautiful, my favourite probably being Theda Bara in A Fool There Was. The interview sections are really interesting and give a good insight. obviosuly the book can't go into loads of detail about all the films otherwise it would be massive but it's still worth the read. Love it!
Apr 18, 2015 Scott rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A fantastic book about monsters in the movies. Landis does a great job with the history, the interviews, pictures, posters etc. on pretty much every monster you could ever think of. I really liked how he wrote about each category of monster (vampire, werewolf, alien etc.) as it gave him the chance to dive deep into each category.

A good way to spend a few hours.
Aug 25, 2012 Kody rated it really liked it
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
Sep 13, 2013 Harold rated it really liked it
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
Jul 19, 2016 Jacob rated it it was amazing
Love horror movies and film production? Get this book. Not only is it a vivid collection of some of the most awesome special effects throughout film history, it's written by John Freaking Landis. It has several interviews with effects creators and directors that are a film lover's dream. I highly recommend it.
Jun 15, 2014 Vix rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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....
Jan 30, 2016 BS rated it it was amazing
FUN...FUN...FUN. I got this from the library and stayed up for hours pouring over it. If you love monster movies and the stories behind them, then this book is a MUST. Vampires/Werewolves and everything you can or cannot imagine. *****
May 07, 2015 Traci rated it really liked it
FUN!!! Great book, lots of movies listed, very interesting interviews with some very famous guys in the industry. Coffeetable size, almost, so not exactly reading in bed material. Still worth checking out.
Jan 24, 2016 Maureen rated it really liked it
A super-fun reference book, ordered by monster type, and with Landis interviews with a host of movie greats - including the late Christopher Lee and Ray Harryhausen.
Oct 27, 2015 Kevin rated it really liked it
Not just the standard shots from the same old movies. This really covered a lot of lesser known movies that I've added to my to-watch list. Pretty cool book.
Susan Cardosi
Sep 08, 2012 Susan Cardosi rated it it was amazing
"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
Lee Anne
Oct 19, 2011 Lee Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: skimmed
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
Feb 09, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film
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
Jul 11, 2014 Don rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Gorgeous stills of all the greatest horror movies. I've added many movies to my Netflix que thanks to this book.
Katya de Becerra
Mar 20, 2016 Katya de Becerra rated it it was amazing
A great encyclopedia of monstrosity, wonderful interviews and plenty of visual monster candy!
Dec 30, 2014 whit rated it really liked it
This is a big beautiful coffee table book. There isn't a whole lot to read, but if you love monster movies, this is a must have.
Mar 22, 2014 Tori rated it it was amazing
This book was neat because it covered a little bit of everything!
Apr 23, 2012 Angie rated it really liked it
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
Ryan Daley
Oct 05, 2011 Ryan Daley rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 23, 2012 Jenn rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 14, 2011 Ron DeVinitz rated it really liked it
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.
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