Friday, July 11, 2008

Review: Slash Hits Vol. 3, Horror Films of the 1980's

The third in the Slash Hits series is more of the same, and that makes me happy. Midnight Media knows not to mess with a good thing and the format has not changed at all. Great paper quality, great color reproduction, and plenty of pics and poster stills. The "scoring" system from the previous releases such as pictures of blood bags for gore content and of breasts for rating the nudity are also present. This volume picks up where the last left off, covering the slasher years 1983-1987. Also, the page count went up by four! However, the price followed the way and went up by two dollars, to $12!!! Such is the economy these days....

Of note is the news that volume one has gone out of print, but I would urge would-be eBay buyers to hold tight and resist the temptation to spend money on the inflated prices this now brings. Reason being volume one of Midnight Medias other prestige format offering, The Giallo Scrapbook, went out of print but has made a comeback in the last month with a second printing, expanded at that. So sit still and be patient. I believe this series is popular enough to warrant a second run.

Slash hits Vol. 1, Vol. 2 review in archive 2007, Dec.

THE horror tome! Every DVD collector and/or horror aficionado cannot do without this book. Period. From 1980-1989, almost every film is covered alphabetically within year of release. The author, John Kenneth Muir, breaks down the subject in his own essay after a partial credit list, critical quotes, and a brief synopsis. The quotes serve to place the film in the context of it's release era and that of the contemporary reaction giving the film a historical role. The synopsis, as well as Muir's own essay, contains spoilers, so be warned. Massive, this book comes in at over 800 pages and about four pounds! Appendices abound: horror conventions, ad lines, then and now, and an interview with director Ken Russell. The index is meticulous and the bibliography a shopping list all it's own.

Even if you don't agree with the final judgement Muir lays on a particular film, you can not deny he writes well on the subject. This author is a fan who operates bi-laterally as a critic and historian. Anyone who cries fowl of a "missing" film is "missing" the point of this reference guide. It is almost impossible list or actually see every horror film! I can't imagine what Muir went through for this book...To sum up, if you think you could do better, please bestow unto us that gift.

John Kenneth Muir's Horror Films of the 1980's is a must buy, even at $60. This book is made for war. I promise it will outlive you, much like any other hardbound Mcfarland publication.

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