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Book Review: The Mammoth Book of Slasher Movies 
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Godzilla

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Book Review: The Mammoth Book of Slasher Movies:
An A-Z Guide to More Than 60 Years of Blood and Guts

by Peter Normanton



This is a book that purports to be a guide to slasher movies. However,
it also includes a great many vampire and zombie flicks as well. In
fact, a more accurate description of this book is that it is a guide to
non-Universal Monster horror films.


Author Peter Normanton talks about how slasher flicks are a product of
the late 1970's and early 1980's, but includes a great many movies hat do not fit
in this period without providing any sort of explanation to why this is so.
Here are just the most noteworthy slasher flicks that have been excluded
from this book:


Bloody Murder
Fade to Black
Hell High
Jack Frost
Killjoy
Lighthouse (aka Dead of Night)
Return to Horror High
Slaughterhouse
Slaughter High
Student Bodies
The Unnamable

On top of these, Normanton's book excludes any remakes or
sequels.In case of movie franchises such as Halloween, there is an entry for the
first flick, but only a listing of the other movies in the franchise. For instance, even
though the book's cover photograph is from the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th, that
particular movie is only mentioned in the listing of remakes and sequels. This is a serious
oversight on the author's part, since it was through the multi-movie franchises that the slasher
flicks had their greatest impact on popular culture.


However, there are a number of movies that are most definitely not
slasher flicks that are in this book including:

Alien
And Then There Were None (1945)
Battle Royale
Braindead
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
Death Proof
Dracula (1958)
Re-Animator
Return of the Living Dead
Shaun of the Dead
Thirteen Women
30 Days of Night

The entry for Thirteen Women justifies its inclusion as a slasher on the
basis that if 14 minutes had not been edited out of the original version and still survived to the
present day, then it would be a slasher flick. Normanton offers no evidence for this assertion other than the
fact that the original version was hated by the film critics of the day. Likewise, Normanton fails to offer a
credible case just why the second half of Grindhouse aka Death Proof is a slasher flick. All too often,
Normanton's attitude seems to be that he's the expert on slashers, so if he says
that a movie is a slasher flick, just shut the hell up, you peasants. You really have to wonder
if he was deliberately trying to cause controversy to gin up book sales.

Another strange aspect of this book is that it has entries for shot on
video flicks by Jeff Hathcock even though in those entries, Normanton says that they are just about impossible to
obtain. If its so difficult to acquire any of those movies, then what is the point of including them in this book?

At the end of this book is a chronological listing of slasher flicks.
The very first movie in this listing is the 1916 D.W. Griffith epic Intolerance. It
boggles the mind just how this movie could ever be called a slasher flick when it isn't even a
horror movie of any kind. It would make just as much sense to call such other decidedly non-horror
flicks as Quo Vadis, The Robe or even The Ice Pirates, slasher flicks as Intolerance.


On top of all that, there are other problems with this book. Normanton
uses terms as giallo, slasher and splatter without providing any definitions. He provides spoiler-heavy
plot summaries for the movies that he covers, apparently on the presumption that his
readers have already seen all of those movies.


This is a book that is worth borrowing from the
local library or getting from inter-library loan, but would not make a good addition to your own
personal library.


Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:17 am
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Burning Godzilla
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Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2001 2:48 am
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Location: Brighton, MI
One wonders whether the jacket design and title and so forth were deliberately fcrewed up by editorial staff. Plenty of books cannot be published -- per editorial decree -- until changes are made that completely gum up the author's original intent. Or the author may have compiled quite a different book originally, and had to rearrange it in a hurry to try to fit parameters that were not his own.

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Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:08 pm
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