This is a great book. If you're a fan of Dario Argento, the Italian maestro of horror, or if you're just a fan of well-made, artistically-minded horror films, you should read this book (and should take a closer look at the films of Dario Argento).
"Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds" is out of print, but you can buy a used copy through Amazon.com (as I did) for a cheaper price. But then you must prepare yourself for a whirl-wind.
This book discusses in intimate detail the films of the great Dario Argento. The introduction gives us some context of who he is (ex-film critic, master of the beautiful and profane), where he came from (an Italian movie-making family and the tutelage of spaghetti-western-maker Sergio Leone), what he does (makes a particular style of thriller called a giallo and often draws on the broken imagery of dreams for his most effective material).
Then we're off on a film-by-film analysis of Argento's career. We study the films he's made, the choices he's made within those films, and gain an appreciation, if we don't already have one, of why this Argento is such a unique, talented film-maker.
"Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds" often reads like the film school thesis which it is. Words and phrases like "diegetic," "filmic," and the old favorite "mise-en-scene" abound. But you shouldn't let that deter you, even if you aren't of the overly critical, or analytical stock. There is a lot of fascinating stuff in this book, and you're sure to walk away from it with a bigger, more profound appreciation for the films and career of one of the greats in the horror field, Dario Argento. And if you haven't seen all of Argento's films, or if it's been a while, reading this book is a great excuse to catch up on them.
What surprised me most about this book was that it was written by a woman. I didn't realize until I turned the last page of the book and read the "about the author" section that Maitland McDonagh has two X chromosomes. I guess I assumed because of the subject matter--the deliriously violent, at times arguably woman-unfriendly world of Dario Argento's deep red "filmic" nightmares--that a man must have written the book. But what a great perspective is given from the eyes and mind of a woman writing intelligently about horror films. You must go get this book.