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Studies in Terror: Landmarks of Horror Cinema Hardcover – 10 Oct 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Signum Books (Imprint of Flashpoint Media Ltd) (10 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956653448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956653444
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 19 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 213,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mr Cornelius on 19 Oct 2011
Format: Hardcover
This isn't just a bewitching read, it's also quite possibly the most beautiful book about horror films I've ever seen.

Jonathan Rigby has given us the comprehensive history (in the indispensable English Gothic and American Gothic), but now he's taking a more personal approach. Studies in Terror is like a selection-box of his favourite moments from famous and not-so famous films - some that even hardcore horror aficionados may only know by their titles. The result is a book that's a pleasure to dip into, whether to get a new perspective on James Whale's Frankenstein or to discover exactly what La Main du Diable got up to. And where else would you find a book that guides us all the way from Caligari (1919) and Haxan (1921) to Pontypool (2008) and Outcast (2009)?

Of all film scholars, few write with Rigby's love of language - he is an author with a joyous delight in wit and wordplay. There is also a meticulous attention to detail and contemporary reviews are chosen for maximum pith. There are many interlinking themes and a series of concise sidebars provides a helpful overview.

But it's not just about the words. In these days of e-books, it's more important than ever that real books are objects to treasure. This one looks exquisite, with a gorgeous colour section that displays contemporary poster artwork with jewel-like clarity. And in the rest of the book, every picture has been chosen for maximum effect. The atmospheric images from The Cat and the Canary, Operazione Paura and The Thing are highlights among many.

It's a book I'll go back to again and again.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By wabrit on 30 Oct 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jonathan Rigby is the safest pair of hands in the Horror Film book business these days; a witty and erudite writer who never fails to provide a new approach to a hoary old classic, or (in the case of this book) to dig out some long-forgotten treasures of the genre and write so beguilingly about why they should be revered (or at least respected).

This excellent new book does not disappoint; it follows pretty closely the format of his previous books English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema and American Gothic: Sixty Years of Horror Cinema, but this time the criteria for selection is more to do with the author's personal favourites than any particular decade or country. Each film is given a couple of pages of consideration, but it's the quality not the quantity of the words that count here - always there is some fresh angle or fact, always carefully argued and illuminating as all good criticism should be.

Amongst the rediscovered treasures are a host of 1960s Italian gothics, the under-appreciated EXORCIST III, a fine H.P. Lovecraft adaptation THE DUNWICH HORROR and some interesting recent efforts (OUTCAST, LEFT BANK, etc.). I've seen a lot of films in this genre, but this book has given me a list of titles to seek out.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By His latest flame on 23 Jan 2012
Format: Hardcover
I had Mr Rigby's earlier books, ENGLISH GOTHIC and AMERICAN GOTHIC, so his new book was a welcome Christmas present. STUDIES IN TERROR is the kind of book you can dip into, which is what I did for the first few days before deciding to read it cover to cover. I've just finished, and I must say it's an amazing read.
Rigby's landmarks are personal choices, but add up to a fascinating alternative history of horror. I had not even heard of some of the films on his list but he writes about them in such a compelling way that I intend to track them down.
This is a worthy successor to the two 'GOTHIC' books, not only because of the incredible amount of information it contains, but because the hardback book itself is so beautifully presented. The title might suggest this is an introduction to the history of films, but that's not really what this book is at all and younger readers might be confused that some of the more obvious films are not included.
So not a book for beginners really, but an essential purchase for anyone with a deeper interest in horror film-making.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Crossman on 13 Feb 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read both "American Gothic" and "English Gothic" by Jonathan Rigby previously so I knew roughly what to expect.
Unlike those 2 books this one is more readily accessible in my opinion. Whilst the first two books mentioned were a long narrative with small reviews of films dotted about this book is purely reviews of horror films starting at their inception in the early 20th century right up until the current day (well, since the book was published).
I have seen 90% of the films in this book and yet Rigby still manages to surprise and educate even about films that are well known and have been watched many times.
It's a very readable book that can be picked up and put down and you won't lose the thread. In fact it's probably best read that way. Personally I would read a chapter on a film and then go off and watch that film and by having the benefit of Rigby's 'commentary' if you will the films became that much more enjoyable.
Highly recommended to film lovers, and horror film lovers especially.
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