on 9 March 2005
There are lots of art books for film fans, but this one is completely
unique, both in its presentation and its scope. The first 2/3 of the
book shows 168 horror video front covers as full page, full colour
illustrations, and makes this great as a coffee-table style book.
Shock! Horror! is a very smart hardback that looks great on the
bookshelf, and all of the artwork in this book is pristine, looking as
good as new. There's much more to this book that just artwork though,
and it's the essays and text in the remaining 1/3 of the book that lift
it to a level way above all other film art books. This is simply the
most fascinating, perfectly condensed history of a specific era I have
The authors understand perfectly what the book needs to achieve, and
waste no space, absolutely packing the book with amazing trivia that is
impossible to find anywhere else. Basically, this is like an
encyclopedia of knowledge about horror videos from the time when the
so-called videos nasties were causing such uproar in Thatcher's
Britain. The focus on the business end of the video nasty era is
fascinating and unique, and the video nasty timeline is an obvious
labour of love, packing more hard facts into a double-page spread than
I have ever seen.
I have been a horror video fan for half my life, but there are still
scores of video covers here that I have never seen before, such as
multiple alternative covers for Texas Chainsaw Massacre, some brilliant
promo covers that were never even released, like Panic, an alternative
Cannibal Man cover, and best of all the withdrawn cover for the
infamous Snuff, which the authors reveal was not officially released
here at all, even though it was banned! If that does not seem to make
sense, they have interviewed the owner of Astra Video, who explains the
whole story. It's little touches like this that completely blew me
To conclude, this is a truly essential book that should be owned by
everyone interested in horror films, movie artwork and of course the
history of video censorship.
on 3 May 2006
When I bought this book, I had never seen it before. I had received the excellent Ten Years of Terror from Fab Press before so I had really high expectations!
I must say when I first seen it, I was a little dissapointed - it seemed quite small, and the paper isnt quite glossy enough!
However once you start to read the book, you realise just how much effort the authors have put into researching and bringing you the most complete pictorial reference of 70s and 80s exploitation movies ever written. I am a real horror and cult movie fan, but at only 18, I have never seen most of these films and the idea that some of the rarer titles are selling for hundreds of pounds is very interesting.
The book also has the most complete listings of the DPP 39 ive ever seen and all the other movies picked up and dropped along the way.
The reviews section is informative, but as the book itself says, dont go looking for plot analysis here. It does however give brief descriptions, interesting trivia and DVD availability in the UK and the US and Europe which is helpful.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the video nasties that type of movies, and to anyone who wants to complete their collection of such movies, this is the definitive guide. I've certainly made an effort to track down some of these movies since i read the book, and although some appear to have vanished off the face of the earth, many are now released- Vipco have a large horror collection on DVD, most of which are pretty cheap.
on 17 March 2006
The really shocking thing about this book is the depth of knowledge and research of the writers about a subject which is rarely covered in such fine detail. Ignoring the lurid content of the actual films, this book concentrates on the issues surrounding the censorship of these videos during the 1980s cull. The sensible text that accompanies the beautifully reproduced video covers highlights the ridiculous nature of the ban and celebrates the liberation of these titles in recent years. The book is inspirational and has certainly been the reason I have revisited some of these great movies. A must for anyone with fond memories of dusty video stores, heavy VHS tapes and bulky boxes.
on 16 February 2009
This is a great source of information for the collector of UK 'pre cert' video tapes.
Well written and informative with great pictures of the sleeves, it is not just about the official video nasties either but other really obscure films. This book is a great reference point for collectors, I own maybe 45 of these films featured in here and I am actively on the lookout for the rest but I know I may never find all of them.
A true collectors bible.
on 7 March 2005
If you want the truth about what titles really did appear on the UK Video Nasties list, you'll find the information you're looking for in this book - and NOT the recent travesty that was the Ch4 Banned Season. This book dispels all the myths that this show helps to propagate.
EXAMPLE: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) appeared at the top of the UK nasties list (ref: Channel 4's BANNED IN THE UK, 7 March 2005).
FACT - IT NEVER APPEARED ON THE UK NASTIES LIST. I'm amazed that these ridiculously inaccurate censorship shows on UK TV ever get the go-ahead. They're always riddled with glaring errors. Doesn't anybody working on these shows ever check their facts?
This book finally sets the record straight once and for all. Why didn't they just contact the authors? It's all here in glorious colour for all to see!