Alexis's Reviews > Monsters in the Movies

Monsters in the Movies by John Landis
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Apr 24, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: 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", "witches etc." In each section, there are stills and reviews of movies, bits of dialogue, photos from the sets, and commentary about that particular monster. There are copies of movie posters and interviews with horror figures like Sam Raimi, Guillermo del Toro and monster makeup wizard, Rick Baker. I have a deep love of the macabre, even though I can't even watch some of the horror films mentioned in this book (I have never seen The Exorcist and will probably never watch it because I would never sleep again if I saw it. Same with The Shining, The Changeling or The Omen. I once saw an excerpt of "Child's Play" and was uneasy for days.)

Landis' commentary on the movies is pretty funny. He's a wealth of knowledge and writes commentary like, "This scared me when I was eight but don't watch it if you're over eight." He also describes the plots of some really bizarre movies. Or writes something like, "in this unpleasant and totally implausible film, a young Tom Cruise and his hair...." I actually laughed out loud a few times.

However, I do have a deep love of older horror films and the macabre and I learned a lot of movie history. For example, there were actors that specialized in playing gorillas and they would often travel around and have their gorilla suit for hire and then appear in movies as gorillas. Crazy!

Some of the pictures are downright gory. Looking at the page devoted to demonic doll characters used in movies gave me the willies :)

I'd recommend this book as a purchase for anyone who is a horror buff or obsessed with movie history. Even I came away with a list of movies that I'd like to watch.
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