on 9 June 2001
It is clear upon reading this book that Jeremy Dyson has a genuine love of its subject matter. His knowledge springs from an extensive research, yes, but is presented in a way which makes it clear that he enjoyed every minute of it. He summarises events amongst various film studios succinctly, yet includes very interesting in-depth information about the films themselves. True, objectivity was not a major issue here - Dyson's opinions are scattered throughout - but it only makes the read more interesting and encourages the reader to develop opinions of their own. All in all a very interesting and informative read for fans of the genre.
on 2 April 2008
Jeremy Dyson examines the history of the supernatural horror film. He focuses on films in which the denouement is not explained away and rationalised in typical Scooby Doo fashion; for Dyson, a successful horror film should leave things unexplained, leaving the viewer with a lingering sense of unease. They should be filmed in black and white, he says; those are by far the best sort of horror movie. And as far as I'm concerned, he's right.
He covers the careers of Karloff, Lugosi and Chaney, and discusses films ranging from The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari to Robert Wise's The Haunting. I found his recurring theme of the supernatural being more interesting to him than more modern, gorier and more graphic films was particularly interesting given that these days he's better known as one of the creators of the League of Gentlemen. The goings on in Royston Vasey owe a lot to his encyclopedic knowledge of the genre.
The author's love of black and white horror movies is clear, and his enthusiasm is infectious. It's more than likely that you'll find yourself wishing you had a copy of at least one of the films he discusses - and it won't be long before you're browsing online to track them down. I'm not ashamed to admit that I did!