Today we have a review of a book that, if I remember correctly, went on to win a British Fantasy Award, but I accept neither credit nor blame for that.
The review originally appeared on the old TTA Press website on 9 July 2008:-
CINEMA MACABRE edited by MARK MORRIS
PS Publishinghb, 233pp, £25
The premise here is a very simple one. Get fifty Horror professionals to wax lyrical about their favourite Horror films, and so you have Neil Gaiman writing about The Bride of Frankenstein, Ramsey Campbell singing the praises of Lost Highway, Conrad Williams talking about The Shining, Joel Lane casting an appreciative eye over The Tenant, and so on.
There are no deep critical insights up for grabs here, just sheer enthusiasm and fanboy glee, a preference for the anecdotal over the analytic, and it needs to be remembered that favourite is not always synonymous with best; the reasons that make a given film memorable for a particular individual aren’t necessarily to do with its status as high art. The overall feeling is like sitting down with a group of fellow Horror aficionados and shooting the breeze about what makes the hairs on the back of your neck rise, the difference being that these aficionados are more articulate than most.
Some of the choices are left field, as with China Mieville’s championing of Aussie pig schlocker Razorback, and a few of the titles are obscure, such as Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, the virtues of which are elaborated on by Kim Newman, while there are also some surprising omissions (no Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby), all of which suggest secondary usage for the book as combination shopping list and subject for debate.
An introduction by Jonathan Ross and several pages of black and white photographs round out a useful and entertaining package, which should appeal to all Horror film fans.