Monday, 25 April 2011
My first ever book review: Nighmare Movies by Kim Newman
I’ll be honest when Bloomsbury offered to send me a book to review, I was little apprehensive. Of course Beeonfilm only reviews films and DVD’s, however Kim Newmans updated labour of love Nightmare Movies is an exceptional case. Not just because it is film related albeit the horror genre, but that it is also so concise and chock full of interesting facts and obscure movies you’ve never heard of.
That was my first thought, my second was a little unfair I’ll be honest. I’m a writer and I love writing about films, if I were to be doing a dream job it would be the job that Kim Newman has now, writing books like this and writing for Empire magazine. So jealousy is an issue and may affect my opinion of this book, I say this now because I do have some criticisms and I think the reader deserves to know that they may be a little biased and nit picking.
As I have said before Nightmare Movies is a concise history of the horror genre right from the classis monsters through the glory days of the slasher film to recent years of torture porn and found-footage. It’s a heavy read, spread out through 650 pages but like Newmans writing for Empire it’s full of wit and dry humour that does make it a little less laborious.
My biggest criticism is one that is really only an issue for people who aren’t avid fans of horror films, so saying this may be a bit pointless as everyone else would never think to read it. During the reading time, (it took me over a month to get this finished!) There are a few paragraphs, pages and even chapters that are full of not just films I have never heard of but films I have no invested interest in at all. These chapters are tough and the temptation to pick up something else is huge, getting towards the end was immensely easier. Because I’m a little younger than Newman I’m of a different generation, for one I am immensely cynical about the horror genre. Unless it has something interesting to say like Romeros social commentary in the ‘Dead’ films, the majority of them can only do two things; make you jump or make you paranoid.
I’m a fan of the latter, films like Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity stayed with me long after I watched them and I love them for that reason. Everything else is full of jumps, false jumps and gross out scenes of blood and guts. My point being that the later chapters which are the updated part of the book were a lot more fun for me. It didn’t matter if I disagreed with some of the things Newman wrote, what mattered was that I had heard and in most cases seen the films he mentions
This book is an essential for anyone who loves horror films, it cannot just give you great insights from a man who clearly knows what he’s talking about but also give you a basis for a superb DVD collection.