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Ghastly ReflectionsThe Slasher Movie Book by J.A. Kerswell
POSTED BY TERENCE NUZUM, October 21, 2014    Share

Slasher films have been in my DNA for longer than I can remember. While most horror kids grew up on Frankenstein, Dracula, and other Universal horror films, I was weened on the slasher film. I can vividly remember being only six years old and seeing the TV spots for A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge and begging my mom to go see it. She saw it without me and I stayed home moping. Truth be told I was way too young to be watching such films. It didn't take long for my love of Freddy Krueger to grow and I finally saw A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors in the theatre! Other slashers followed from Jason to my second fave Michael Myers. So speed ahead to 2013 when I found The Slasher Movie Book by J.A. Kerswell. Finally a book comprehensive enough for me but also an awesome illustrated coffee table book.
Kerswell's book textually is very brisk and doesn't go into too much detail but it does cover all aspects and eras of this genre. The first chapter covers the 1920s and 30s and the granddaddy of the slasher, the "old dark house" genre. Cat and the Canary is mentioned as is James Whales ultimate version of the genre The Old Dark House. The book then moves on to the proto-slashers of Psycho and it's era. The film Terrified is mention and this won me over for this book since I have always liked the film and felt it was not only a proto-slasher but perhaps a proto-giallo. The german Krimis are awarded their own chapter. I found this one fun as I have always wanted to explore the bizarre Edgar Wallace murder mysteries that inspired the Italian Giallo. Peter Walker's films and Texas Chainsaw Massacre are covered in a section devoted to films that predated the official golden age. Although I feel the omission of Alice Sweet Alice is a really bad oversight.
Some may argue but I agree with Kerswell's conclusion that the slasher film began officially with Halloween. The chapter covering the Golden Age is the longest and most exstensive in the book and rightly so. I learned of films I had never even heard of, like To All A Goodnight (David Hess' Santa horror film) and Visiting Hours, as well as my beloved favorites My Bloody Valentine and Madman. The book finishes off with the sequel craze of the mid-80s and of course Scream and the 1990s revival. The art design of the book is half the selling point and as a fan of coffee table books it did not dissapoint. For the slasher fan this book is a quick read with awesome photos and rare international poster art. For the newbie it's a door about to open to you a world of gory goodies

"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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