|James O'Neill's Terror on Tape|
POSTED BY TERENCE NUZUM, September 22, 2014 Share
In my teenage years searching out and finding a multitude of horror titles was what I lived for. The rarer and grittier, and more 70s they were, the better. Some of my findings were from word of mouth (yeah that used to happen back in the 90s) or the internet but alot of them I owe to James O'Niell's Terror on Tape. It was, at least for it's time, the most comprehensive and complete encyclopedia of horror VHS reviews.
Though it did leave some things out it was such a minor quip to complain about. The reviews were almost always an opinion I agreed on and even if not they were entertaining as hell. Curiously O'Neill did tend to constantly focus on whether a film had male nudity or not but he always still mentioned if the film's female victims bared their breasts or not too. Me and my best friend Drew always suspected O'Neill must have been gay. If not then extremely homophobic. Love him or hate him his reviews were mostly spot on. His star system was also something I could get behind. I have never been a fan of the four star sytem. O'Neill thankfully used the five star rating system. Not that O'Neill gave many films 5 stars. He was particularly brutal on low budget horror unless it had a really good script. The reviews are chock full of hilarious in your face opinions on the films special effects and direction. O'Neill pulls no punches. His relentless trashing of films like Deadly Friend and Don't Go In The Woods is a thing of sarcastic art.
It's unclear how he saw this many films or how long it took him to write this book but I have many awesome memories of reading through this tome in different ways. Being completely in awe of 1970s horror films I once only read every review of 1970s era horror until I finished the book. I then proceeded with 1960s, 1980s and so on. I also would not have found two of my favorite oddball titles a PG rated cannibal film titled The Folks at Red Wolf Inn, and the amazing slasher vampire film Count Yorga. One filmmaker I was always fascinated by was Andy Milligan. Milligan was horror's answer to John Waters. Only not good. I read about him first in the pages of O'Neill's book. Years later I finally tracked down his films like Guru, the Mad Monk and it was everything Neill complained about them being. Gloriously bad!
O'Niell went on to write one other review book called Sci-Fi on Tape that covered science fiction and fantasy films. While not as eye opening or impressive it nevertheless sits proudly on my shelf along with Terror On Tape. With so many good and awful new horror films it would be great to hear from O'Neill again. An expanded version of this book is long overdue. If you are a fan of horror or a newbie and don't where to start this is the book to own and although it covers the archaic format VHS it is absolutely the essential horror film review guide. For Halloween marathoning this should be your bible.
"Ghastly Reflections" is ©2014 by Terence Nuzum. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2014 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.
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