The Paranormal by Kenneth Partridge
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Mostly poor choice of selections for this collection. It’s a book marketed to university libraries as a “resource” but not worth it. Teachers would do far better finding their own readings online.
Paranormal Media by Annette Hill
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Some interesting ideas about participation in paranormal investigation groups and about watching ghost hunting shows on TV. But the lack of awareness about the pretend “scienceyness” of paranormal investigators hampers the use of these ideas.
The Essential Monster Movie Guide by Stephen Jones
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book is loaded with very strange selections. But it’s missing KEY monster movies. Missing The Exorcist, Poltergeist, and Ghostbusters but listing the other exorcism movies and the Ghost Busters cartoon series and TV shows like Happy Days, The Love Boat, and Hill Street Blues. Some of my favorite monster movies like Reptilicus, Night of the Demon, Jaws, Van Helsing, and Invisible Man (and Invisible Woman) are inexplicably left out. Refers to sequels while leaving out originals — Halloween 2 but not Halloween? Gremlins 2 but not Gremlins? That’s ridiculous. Or mentions remakes but not originals (Hands of Orlac). I used it to get ideas for movies to watch that I didn’t know about. Lots of garbage in it, though, like porn horror movies and any reference to a vampire character or monster movie clip in normal TV shows. That’s pretty awful considering the obvious movies left out.
Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen by David J. Skal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dracula through the ages – fascinating reading.
Begins with the Bram Stoker novel, proceeds to the stage version, the trouble with Florence Stoker, copyright, lawsuits and studio troubles. Includes an entire chapter explaining why the Spanish version is better than the Lugosi version. There is good info about how Bela Lugosi sabotaged himself in the role that subsumed. Then, how the studio fought with his heirs.
Also includes bits about how Hammer films put life back into the Dracula character and snubbed the censors. This version ends with the 2004 film Van Helsing.
Recommended. But required prerequisites are the movies Dracula (Lugosi), Nosferatu (Murnau’s), Dracula (Spanish version), and, of course, the original Stoker novel.
2 thoughts on “Miscellaneous book review quickies Fall 2015”
The best pop paranormal reference I’ve come across is Unexplained by Jerome Clark. Good one-volume overview summary of most everything weird.
I have this. But it’s a bit too credulous. I prefer
The Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomena by Rickard and Mitchell.
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