Monday, May 14, 2007

Maddrey Misc. Reviews Horror Films of the 1980s

Good morning, gentle (and not so gentle...) readers,

I wanted to direct your attention today to a piece amusingly entitled "Die Yuppie Scum," a review of my book Horror Films of the 1980s by TV writer/producer and fellow horror scholar, Joseph Maddrey. I hope you've been visiting Maddrey Misc. lately, because Joe's blog has been looking at a lot of interesting stuff, particularly our 21st century, "culture of fear."

Here's a clip of the critique, but please read the whole piece, because it's a great review whether it happens to be about my book or not:

The fact that the author goes to such great lengths to explain his evaluations of the films, and to remain consistent in his responses, makes it easy to gauge one’s own response to a film based on his reviews – regardless of any differences of opinion. It is never difficult to understand where Muir is coming from or why, and that allows the reader to make careful selections from among these 328 films, and avoid some of the pitfalls of the casual viewer. I, for one, am grateful to have a guide through this extremely varied lot of films – from top (The Thing, 1982) to bottom (Home Sweet Home, 1980) – since I’d rather read about some of these films than have to sit through them. I have no doubt that 2006 was a trying year at the Muir household, as John and his valiant wife Kathryn burrowed through the muck, but I’m glad they did it so that I don’t have to. Horror Films of the 1980s has already steered me clear of a few turkeys, made me watch and re-watch a few gems, and even forced me to reevaluate my opinions of one or two…. I have always considered the ending of Wes Craven’s film Deadly Blessing (1981) to be a cop-out, but John’s reading puts it in a different context than I did, and has made me see the film with new eyes… That’s exactly what good criticism is supposed to do!

The book also contains a series of scattered interviews with filmmakers whose work deserves to be plucked from relative obscurity: Thom Eberhardt (Sole Survivor and Night of the Comet), Lewis Teague (Alligator, Cujo and Cat’s Eye), Kevin Conner (Motel Hell), James L. Conway (The Boogens), Richard Franklin (Road Games and Psycho 2), Tom McLoughlin (One Dark Night and Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives!), and Ken Russell (Altered States and Gothic). These friendly interviews in addition to Muir’s wry, incisive commentary make this a must-have for horror fans. Like the decade it depicts, Muir’s analysis is both complex and amusing – in final analysis, more entertaining than many of the films themselves.

1 comment:

  1. Ah! A critic's critique of another critic's critique. The critic's critique criticizes the critic's critique and it's a good critique for the critic. Am I making sense? :) Anyway kudos to you, on the well deserved critique...from a critic. Doesn't get any better than that! Well, I've been doing just that myself early this am. Criticizing the critic's critique. But I didn't like said critique. So I let the critic know in no uncertain words. (How's my spelling?) :)