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).
Imagine the world without animals. So far as we Daves are concerned, it’d be a pretty dismal place. Animals bring beauty and diversity to the planet while many enrich our lives individually as members of our own family (I hesitate to use the word “pets” as I’m pretty sure my cat, Felix, actually owns me). That’s not to say all of Earth’s creatures are loved equally, of course. Some, such as bats, bugs, and snakes, often inspire anxiety versus appreciation but, regardless of whether these are rational or irrational phobias, Hollywood is always there to tap into our innate fear of nature and we filmgoers can’t seem to get enough. The “Man vs Animal” horror subgenre has always been one of my personal favorites and I discussed them back in 2010 before doing a follow up the year after that. In both of those posts, I highlighted some of my favorite animal attack films (at the time) but now, thanks to a fantastic new book by Vanessa Morgan, you can read more about many of those along with a great deal more!
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. One of the most iconic horror hosts in the history of horror hosts. So much so in fact that she became a household name even in homes that didn’t have access to her syndicated show Movie Macabre in the 80’s or even had any interest in the b-movies that she showed week after week.