I enjoy a fun horror novel and am a lifelong fan of comic books. So when I received a copy of Pizza Man: Or, the Pizza That Crawled Out of My A-Hole by Bryan Higby and Rick Snyder I was pleasantly surprised. The narrative was so vibrant, it’s about the closest you’ll get to a comic book without any visuals. If you’re looking for a story that never takes itself too seriously and maintains a consistent level of adult humor than this is page turner is for you.
“Why do good people like bad movies?” B movie director, Bret McCormick, not only poses this question but gives us a 250-page answer courtesy of Texas Schlock: B-Movie Sci-Fi and Horror from the Lone Star State. In fact, this book presents such an incredible homage to Texas’ low-budget films of the ’60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, he made this lifelong Chicagoan feel like he’d grown up there. Not that you have to be a Texan nor seasoned movie fan to appreciate this as it’s the perfect resource for ingratiating younger fans to these movies while inspiring us older ones to nod with understanding.
Horror books often find themselves on the silver screen and with mixed results. The Exorcist, JAWS, and The Omen are positive examples of book-to-movies but, unfortunately, for every Misery, there’s a Dreamcatcher. Sometimes the book is inspired by the film rather than its source material but, either way, there’s bound to be differences; subtle or profound. Today’s vintage book discussion is more of a rumble than a review and between one of my favorite John Carpenter films and a book written by Dennis Etchison to promote it. So let’s jump back to 1980 and revisit The FOG…
I mentioned in my Christmas post a new book called Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix and how it inspired me to start reading and collecting horror novels from my teen years. I also sited one of my favorite authors from that era, William W. Johnstone, and how his book, The Uninvited (1982) was my first bookstore find once I got started. After reading it, I debated writing a review and recapping the book since I figured it’d be hard for readers to track down themselves and, in some cases, rather pricey. There’s also a great blog called Too Much Horror Fiction by Will Errickson that’s been covering these books for over a decade. Errickson even assisted Hendrix with his book which proves he’s an authority; something, admittedly, I’m not. I’ve come to be a fan of his site myself and it prompted me to track down Ray Russell’s Incubus (1976) which was a lot more entertaining than the ‘80s film it was adapted from. What eventually convinced me to move forward with discussing them here was learning that The Uninvited and many other old “classics” are readily available to modern readers via Kindle. So for those looking for a quick and cheap read, or possibly scoping out the original like I did, I’ll go ahead and discuss. That being said, William W. Johnstone (1938-2004) is as good a place to start as any.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been an avid fan of Marvel Comics. Though I didn’t mind watching the DC “Super Friends” on Saturday mornings nor seeing Linda Carter twirl into “Wonder Woman” via prime time, I was completely “brand loyal” to Marvel when it came to print. I collected all the Spider-man, X-Men, and Avengers titles but particularly loved the more obscure ROM: Spaceknight which I discussed years ago here and, more recently, in Scary Monsters Magazine. Aside from being a throwback to vintage sci-fi films, ROM regularly featured something the other titles didn’t: namely, giant monsters! And if there’s one thing this overgrown kid loves more than just about anything, it’s a decent monster. Years before Marvel would revolutionize the world of super heroes, they were a very different company. In fact, many of their titles resembled the works of another favored brand of mine, EC Comics. “Tales to Astonish,” “Journey into Mystery,” and “Strange Tales” would not only see the first appearance of several popular, modern day superheroes such as Ant-Man, but also a slew of amazing monsters created by such titans in the industry as Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby. Sadly, by the time I was born, these comics were long gone but, thanks to two amazing books, I can finally enjoy them without spending an arm and a leg in the secondary market. Earlier this year, Marvel released MONSTERS Volumes 1 & 2 which has not only brightened up my Omnibus collection but puts a big smile on my face every time I open one.
There have been so many genre movie guides out there and to be honest, I didn’t think anything could be done that was new and exciting. I was very glad to be proven wrong with this book, published by McFarland. McFarland has had a long history of excellent movie guides, particularly those in the horror and science fiction genre, and this one promises to rate among the best!
This book review entry is one in a long line of quality books put out by McFarland & Company, Inc. They specialize in genre books and if you can pay out the usually high retail prices, you will almost never be disappointed (in fact, I have only been disappointed to date once with this book).