Friday, April 18, 2014

HIDDEN HORROR : A CELEBRATION OF 101 UNDERRATED AND OVERLOOKED FRIGHT FLICKS



Review books can be a tricky beast to review. How do you read it? Do you just cherry pick the reviews of films you want to read? Do you check on the films to see if you agree with their reviews? Do you just start at the beginning and plow though to the end?
This is doubly hard when you are a film reviewer as well. It becomes a game of how many have you seen.
Let's start with the good.
The book itself is beautiful. I assume it's made through CreateSpace and it shows what can be done with that particular Print On Demand process. Editor Aaron Christensen has done a fine job assembling so many reviews. At 313 pages this makes for nothing more than brief overviews, but it does give you an idea of what these movies are about. An appetizer of a review, if you will.
The logistics of getting all these reviewers in one place must have been a logistical nightmare and I applaud Christensen for getting that accomplished.
Now, my problems.
The title, the entire title immediately puts me into a mindset of  'Okay, lets see all these amazing pieces of cinema that I have never heard of.' It becomes a challenge as a film watcher to see how many of them I have seen.
The answer?
All of the ones I cared to see. Yes, there is a slim minority of films in this book that I have not seen. Why? Didn't want to. The older I get the less time I am willing to invest in films that I have no desire to watch. But, I have seen a lot of these.
The title shoots the book in the foot. Well, if book had feet. That might make it easier to read them. Just call for the book you want and it comes scurrying over to you. Convenient. And, a little weird. The title tells you these are overlooked and underrated films.
I want to give you a short list of films;
THE BLOB
CARNIVAL OF SOULS
THE HILLS HAVE EYES
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE
THE SEVENTH VICTIM
In what alternate universe are any of these films underrated or overlooked. The editor, in his introduction, tries to waffle out of this with a throwaway comment that if the reviewer felt that way it was okay to include it in the book. No, I think it might have just been better to change the title of the book. As I mentioned before, the title creates a mindset in the reader and with every movie that goes against that mindset the book becomes more and more irritating.
Add to that there are reviews that I feel miss the mark entirely. BRIMSTONE AND TREACLE, for instance, just doesn't seem to grasp what is going on. Martin is not the devil. Martin is an answer to a mother's prayer for her catatonic daughter. No devil would remove that torment.
The review for POSSESSION is too brief for such a bizarre, layered film.
I could continue, but you get the idea.
In the end I wonder who this book is intended for. True horror fans will have seen so many of these films that the title is going to annoy them again and again. Newcomers to the field might find it a useful book, but I can't speak for them. I've been in this game for far too long to know what that mindset would even look like.
HIDDEN HORRORS? NO, not really.
Also, I am not a fan of the cover.
Sorry.

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