Archives for Bookshelf

BOOKSHELF: SUBURBAN GRINDHOUSE is More Than Just Another Review Compendium

There are few publishers out there who regularly and reliably dig into the weird world of cinema with such successful results as the UK-based Headpress. Be it the made-for-TV movies compendium, Are You in the House Alone?, Fascination‘s analysis of Jean Rollin’s oeuvre, the obsessiveness of Spinegrinder, or Bleeding Skull‘s trash-horror odyssey, among many others, the company has made a name for itself delving into the often-overlooked and ignored corners of cult film. The same can be said for writer Nick Cato, whose Suburban Grindhouse Memories column ran for nearly a decade on the website Cinema Knife Fight. As the
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BOOKSHELF: Exploring Lesser Known Cinematic Stories With FORBIDDEN HOLLYWOOD and HOLLYWOOD BLACK

Running Press have recently released two very excellent books through their collaboration with Turner Classic Movies. Mark A. Vieira’s Forbidden Hollywood: The Pre-Code Era (1930-1934) and Donald Bogle’s Hollywood Black: The Stars, the Films, the Filmmakers are both richly illustrated, oversized hardbacks that come in just under coffee table size. That size thing is kind of important; both books need to be big enough to reproduce the amazing photos included within their pages, especially those in Forbidden Hollywood, which fairly leap off the page with luminescence. However, given that they’re not “coffee table books” in the usual sense (in that
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BOOKSHELF: Qiana Whitted’s Brilliant Analysis of EC Comics “Preachies”

Qiana Whitted’s new book for Rutgers University Press, EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest, perfectly demonstrates why I love the ’50s publisher of titles like Tales from the Crypt, Shock SuspenStories, and Weird Science. In the course of her analysis, Whitted — a professor of English and African American studies at the University of South Carolina — breaks down a series of stories from the course of the company’s history, demonstrating that the “Entertaining Comics” could be more than just lurid and violent twist endings. Specifically, Whitted looks at the preachies, “socially conscious stories that boldly challenged the conservatism
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BOOKSHELF: Bill Schelly’s James Warren Biography is a Horror Nerd’s Dream

Fantagraphics’ upcoming biography of publisher James Warren, by Bill Schelly, titled James Warren: Empire of Monsters – The Man Behind Creepy, Vampirella, and Famous Monsters is a horror nerd’s dream. Replete with the history of multiple iconic publications, it’s not only the tale of Warren’s life, but that of magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland, Help!, Creepy, and Eerie. Were Warren to have only published Famous Monsters of Filmland, his contribution to fandom would’ve been lauded for generations. However, given that the likes of Creepy and Eerie brought the work of EC-era artists to a whole other group of kids, he
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BOOKSHELF: Craig Oldham Reveals the Details of Making THEY LIVE: A VISUAL AND CULTURAL AWAKENING

In November, John Carpenter’s sci-fi invasion classic, They Live, celebrated its 30th anniversary. To say the movie’s influence has been long-reaching would be to undersell They Live‘s cultural impact by quite a lot, but suffice it to say, the film’s imagery and story have cropped up in any number of unusual places, from South Park to the punk rock of New Jersey’s Night Birds, to name but two random selections. In honor of that anniversary, Rough Trade Books released They Live: A Visual And Cultural Awakening, the first in Craig Oldham’s Epiphany Editions. “Designed as a perfect replica from the
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BOOKSHELF: SUPERHERO BODIES Explores the Endless Permutations of Identity

For whatever reason, I fall in love with academic essay collections. The ability of the writers to analyze pop culture in new and unique ways always opens up my eyes to new possibilities when it comes to interpreting the things which I watch, read, and to which I listen. Superhero Bodies: Identity, Materiality, Transformation, from Routledge’s Advances in Comics Studies series, is one of those such books. Per the introduction, the book is “the first collection of scholarly research specifically dedicated to investigating the diversity of superhero bodies, their emergence, their powers, their secrets, their histories, and their transformations.” Now,
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BOOKSHELF: Richard Lloyd’s EVERYTHING IS COMBUSTIBLE Burns With Fascinating Stories

Richard Lloyd is not Richard Hell. Richard Hell was born Richard Lester Meyers, and he was the other guitarist in Television; Lloyd’s the one who stuck it out. He was familiar with Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, and more of the icons of late ’60s rock ‘n’ roll guitar god suchness. Now that that’s out of the way, on to his memoirs. How do you review a book like Everything Is Combustible: Television, CBGB’s and Five Decades of Rock and Roll? It’s linear (at times), sure, and definitely works in the memoir style, wherein Lloyd relates tales of
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BOOKSHELF: BLOOD, FIRE, DEATH Gives a Human Face to Extreme Metal

It’s beginning to get cold and dark outside, so what better time of year for a reissue of Blood, Fire, Death: A Swedish Metal Story by Ika Johannesson and Jon Jefferson Klingberg? Originally released in 2011 as Blod, Eld, Död: En Svensk Metalhistoria by Alfabeta Bokförlag / Pocketförlaget, the Feral House edition, released early last month by Feral House, marks the English-language debut of this tome. It’s perfect that Feral House released this, actually, as Blood, Fire, Death rounds out a trilogy of books from the publisher on extreme music. First would be the seminal 1998 book, Lords of Chaos:
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BOOKSHELF: Karina Longworth’s SEDUCTION Tells the Stories of Women in Howard Hughes’ Shadow

In her new book, Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood, Karina Longworth uses the story of movie mogul and industrialist Hughes to examine the lives of myriad young women in the early days of Hollywood. Given that Longworth, host of the inimitable and interesting You Must Remember This podcast, has a knack for interweaving detailed stories of forgotten Hollywood, it should comes as no surprise that Seduction is a fascinating read. Better than that, though, is the way in which Longworth is able to take the concept of her podcast and expand it widely. As she states
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Bookshelf: Grady Hendrix’s WE SOLD OUR SOULS is a Love Letter to Heavy Metal and Friendship

“In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was poised for breakout success—but then lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career and rocketed to stardom as Koffin, leaving his fellow bandmates to rot in obscurity. Two decades later, former guitarist Kris Pulaski works as the night manager of a Best Western—she’s tired, broke, and unhappy. Everything changes when a shocking act of violence turns her life upside down, and she begins to suspect that Terry sabotaged more than just the band. Kris hits the road, hoping to reunite with the rest of her bandmates and confront the man
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