on 3 October 2013
Really pleasantly surprised by this superb collection. I thought it might be a bit 'coffee table' but it's packed with well-written and informative essays. It's knowledgeable without being overly academic or dry and the picture selection and reproduction is excellent, luxurious even. There's a line in the introduction about the nature of film itself being Gothic and this collection bears that out -- you could give this to any film fan you know, even if they're not into horror specifically say -- and I think they'd find something worth reading. The contributors have an interesting range, directors like Guillermo Del Toro as well as usual critics you might expect (Kermode, Kim Newman) and also a few left-field choices like music writer RobYoung. The only quibble I'd have is there's no index. Maybe the budget didn't stretch to it, but having at least an index of films mentioned would have made it even easier to dip in and out of -- looking up your particular favourites etc.
on 6 October 2013
As is suggested by the sample pages accessible from the site, this is a lavishly illustrated tome as befits a publication from the BFI. Some of the essays are stronger than others, but the overall quality is high, and I like the way that the text and images have led me to discover films that are new to me (Japanese Gothic, anyone?). Overall there is more than enough to warrant a hearty 'thumbs up' from myself, and I would recommend the book to those with a general interest in cinema, and in Gothic in particular. I could see it coming in handy for English teaching/media studies teaching, and I am sure that many a casual reader would be drawn in by the bite-size chunks of the essays, which are perfectly sized for nighttime reading before turning off the lights. The enthusiasm is infectious, and the compendium succeeds in placing the gothic in its fuller cultural context.
Recommended reading for your inner ghoul!