- Paperback: 314 pages
- Publisher: Kitley's Krypt; 1 edition (24 Dec. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0991127900
- ISBN-13: 978-0991127900
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 177,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks Paperback – 24 Dec 2013
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About the Author
Aaron Christensen (aka "Dr. AC") is a Chicago-based actor/writer. In addition to serving on the writing staff of HorrorHound Magazine, he is the editor of the critically acclaimed film guidebooks, HORROR 101: THE A-LIST OF HORROR FILMS AND MONSTER MOVIES and HIDDEN HORROR: A CELEBRATION OF 101 UNDERRATED AND OVERLOOKED FRIGHT FLICKS, available wherever tomes of ill repute are sold. One of the Midwest's rising enthusiasts of horror films/monster movies, Aaron has born witness to over 2500 fright flick titles (and counting), scouring the mainstream, foreign markets and fringe indies for that next big thrill. Fellow genre aficionados are welcome to join in the fun on Facebook (horror101withdrac) or on the HORROR 101 with Dr. AC blog, http://horror101withdrac.blogspot.com/ As a member of the Chicago theatre community since 1990, Aaron has trod such illustrious boards as Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, Remy Bumppo, and many others. He is also a founding member of WildClaw Theatre, Chicago's only horror-centric theatre.
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That same standard has held true over the many years that horror films have been being made. There have always been those hidden gems that fans knew about or talked about that many missed. In the early days of video fans traded their copies of these films with one another or let each other know when they’d be on the late show. With the increased use of the internet scores of web sites began talking about these past films and collectors sought out these treasures either from one another or when they would be occasionally released on video then DVD.
But how could you find out some of the best of the best? I mean books on the topic if horror films were out there but those mostly discussed the latest franchise ala Jason/Freddy/Leatherface/Michael or the biggest movies that came out like THE EXORCIST or THE OMEN. What about those little films, the ones people talked about among friends, the ones that appeared on some horror host program that inspired nightmares in minds too young to be able to see those R rated slasher flicks on the big screen? Where was the book talking about those movies?
Apparently there were enough people wondering this for Editor Aaron “DR. AC” Christensen to round up a collection of these recommendations together in a book titled HIDDEN HORRORS. What he’s done is contact a number of horror fans from all over the world to add their suggestions to the box and let other horror fans know about movies that they might have missed on the “Most Watched” rack at the local rental store or that were being discussed on mainstream horror sites. These are films that inspired the nightmares I was speaking of, the movies that caused many to find friends among the fans of horror or to get involved in the genre either via teaching, making movies, writing or more. Those who have written pieces for this book come from all of those backgrounds and more.
As he states in the book, there are a few titles that he questioned including in this tome. Movies like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE and THE HILLS HAVE EYES can’t be called unknown films to many horror fans. But with a young generation brought up to appreciate only what is new perhaps they haven’t been exposed to these and other films found in the book. These movies were part of that low budget/drive-in movie genre that most young people today have no exposure to. With the help of this book they’ll know what to look for now.
Starting alphabetically with ALUCARDA and ending with X: THE MAN WITH X-RAY EYES the book offers 101 different reviews of films for fans to seek out. To my knowledge all are available in one format or another for the discerning fan to look for. Each is written by someone different and while many names may not be that familiar to some, they are within the world of the horror fan. For instance one is written by Anthony Timpone who was once editor of FANGORIA magazine while another was written by Jon Kitley of kitleyskrypt.com, also the publisher of the book. Don’t worry though because at the end of each piece credit is given as well as a short description of the author of each review.
What makes the book good is also that which makes it inaccessible to some. That’s the fact that these are seriously written pieces where some will expect a gloss over piece. There is depth to the writing of these reviews that is rarely seen when it comes to discussions of the genre. Most would not expect a well written piece about a movie like THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH but you’ll find it here. Some pieces seem to be stretching it a bit when it comes to an overuse of adjectives and adverbs but then again these are written by people who take their horror seriously.
On top of that what made the book so enjoyable for me was the fact that I got the chance to learn about a few movies that even I, a die-hard horror fan, missed at one time or another. While I have seen well over 2/3 of the films listed that left another 1/3 that I now have to seek out. I’m guessing that most won’t even have seen that many of the films listed so the end result could be good news for DVD companies as readers seek out these titles.
The movies written about here range from regular horror offerings to a western to art films to low budget double feature style drive-in flicks. The authors involved here cover every type of horror film you can imagine. Best of all is being able to recognize some movies that even I have thought were long overdue when it came to recognition being singled out. Movies like DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW, THE CHANGELING (not to be confused with the Angelina Jolie movie this one starred George C. Scott), SHOCK WAVES, TOURIST TRAP, THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE, HALLOWEEN III and more are included in this book.
If you’re a fan of horror films then you’ll want to add this book to your collection. It offers a guided tour through a list of movies that you will probably have missed at one point or another. If you’re not a horror fan you may want to read this any way. It will offer you a glimpse into why so many have chosen this genre as their favorite and give you a chance to see that not all horror films involve serial killers, slashers or possessed children. No matter what your favorite type of film is I can highly recommend this book to those who love movies and horror in particular. While the book itself might not inspire nightmares for those who read it I have little doubt that some of the movies suggested here might.
That being said, I cannot stress enough how impressed I am with the finished product. Besides the 101 essays -- all of which are worth reading -- the very feel and layout of the book is amazing, and you'll wonder how such a tome can be had for under $15. (Heck, I'm shocked... this just looks so good!) Each entry has a photo or two, and the format is just so slick.
As for the essays, this is a book for the die-hard horror fan. You think you've seen it all? This book will prove you wrong. Where other "top 10" or "top 100" lists try to make that promise every year, this book actually delivers. Even after watching and reviewing literally thousands of horror films, this book still contained a few I had never even heard of. Wow.
I found it absolutely fascinating to read what attracted these writers to their favorites, but what became equally fascinating through reading these essays, is the discovery of underlying connections, of themes found between films and the people that watch them. In a nutshell, what has been captured within the pages of HIDDEN HORROR is the definition of "Fandom" itself. We enter into these film worlds alone. Our experiences can only ever be personal. But in the sharing of these experiences a pattern(s) emerges and bonds develop.
I call the essays presented here love letters, because they truly are. Love letters to films and personal experiences, but also love letters to the genre itself, something that, for me, was a joy to uncover and re-discover. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Depending on your taste, not all are going to be winners, but what is indisputable is the love and knowledge poured into each essay.
In the alphabetical listings of Hidden Horror, each film essay is scribed by a different author and that author's passion and love for the genre is readily apparent. Themes and subplots I wouldn't otherwise have considered are delightful to read. I prefer to pick a film, watch it, then read what Hidden Horrors has to say, but however you like to do it, you should pick this one up.