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Your favorite Film Books; And mags, pamphlets, fanzines, etc
Topic Started: Jun 21 2009, 12:47 AM (3,374 Views)
Stephen Gladwin
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Here's a thread I've wanted to start for a long time but haven't had the time until now. Let's start on ongoing series of our favorite books on film. It can also include magazines, fanzines, pamphlets and such.

THE OVERLOOK FILM ENCYCLOPEDIA: HORROR

One of the handsomest and most lovingly assembled single-volume references on horror cinema, and a landmark. No other book was covering such a vast range of horror films from all over the world by the second edition's (pictured here) publication date of 1993 (well, maybe Donald C. Willis's ongoing HORROR AND SCIENCE FICTION FILMS approaches it in some ways, but there was a real paucity of cast/crew info in those volumes).

It is also lavishly illustrated and a handsome book (a large trade paper or hardback). You can read the plot synopses of some of the those classic (lost?) South Korean horrors like GRUDGE OF THE MOON LADY in that book, as well as many other off-the-radar horrors.

Unfortunately, the book isn't perfect. The hard facts (cast/crew) and even some of the synopses haven't aged well. That is, the data for the rarer foreign horror films have errors and have been corrected in newer books/magazines (not to mention DVD releases) and sometimes the films were so rare or unavailable for viewing at the time (the review of Kuei Chih-hung's BEWITCHED comes to mind) that the synopses were mere guesswork pieced together from surviving ad materials like press books and lobby cards. Sometimes the synopses turned out to just be WRONG.

But I give the authors some slack as this was a groundbreaking book and really opened the field. And it is still a rollicking good read and is one of the few books that I can still look at and can fritter hours away with. I just have long since discontinued using it as a dependable resource for any of my film writings.

My only other complaint is the reviews can sometimes be too stuffy and academic, and there is a strong smell of Freud-itis to be found in a lot of the critiques (the Freudian analyses of such films as Fulci's ZOMBIE and TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE are laughable and read like some of the writers are embarrassed to write about horror films and are wasting time they could be writing about more "respectable" films). I'm all for intelligent critiques of horror, and sometimes a Freudian analysis can be fruitful for some films like PSYCHO, but often it's overused and feels too forced.

**Notes on the book: First off, this book isn't getting any easier to locate. It's had a squirrely out of print/in print status on such retailers as amazon.com. I was lucky enough to pick up a brand-new hardback of the second edition from the publisher (Overlook), but it's probably long gone by now. The paperback seems more obtainable, but it does not contain the 16 page full-color section. Otherwise it is identical in presentation and content. The best bet would be to keep searching on Abe Books for used or new copies.

Without further ado, the pics:

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BACK COVER:

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EXCERPTS:

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INDEX EXCERPT (a great source for alternate titles):

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Jared
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NIGHTMARE USA
IMMORAL TALES
MONDO MACABRO
SLEAZOID EXPRESS
OUTLAW MASTERS OF JAPANESE FILM
FEAR WITHOUT FRONTIERS
DVD DELIRIUM VOL 1-3
and just because of the size and scope of it
the Tim Lucas MARIO BAVA book.
Just got a book on Kim Ki-young that isn't the best I've ever read but is priceless due to the obscurity of the topic. At least he has an English language book about him. That's one more than there is about Yasuzo Masumura.
Worldweird Cinema
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Stephen Gladwin
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Great books Jared! Have most of those, and am currently reading NIGHTMARE USA. It's a mammoth, exhaustive and exhausting volume. Kudos to Thrower for this one.

**I know this is off topic but I'm sure you won't mind: I am thoroughly enjoying your Worldweird Cinema blog Jared! I'm catching up as I've only been aware of it for a little while now. Great capsule reviews! Keep it coming and keep the faith!
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Lamao
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Stephen Gladwin
Jun 21 2009, 12:47 AM
Here's a thread I've wanted to start for a long time but haven't had the time until now.  Let's start on ongoing series of our favorite books on film.  It can also include magazines, fanzines, pamphlets and such.

THE OVERLOOK FILM ENCYCLOPEDIA: HORROR

One of the handsomest and most lovingly assembled single-volume references on horror cinema, and a landmark.  No other book was covering such a vast range of horror films from all over the world by the second edition's (pictured here) publication date of 1993 (well, maybe Donald C. Willis's ongoing HORROR AND SCIENCE FICTION FILMS approaches it in some ways, but there was a real paucity of cast/crew info in those volumes).

It is also lavishly illustrated and a handsome book (a large trade paper or hardback). You can read the plot synopses of some of the those classic (lost?) South Korean horrors like GRUDGE OF THE MOON LADY in that book, as well as many other off-the-radar horrors.

Unfortunately, the book isn't perfect. The hard facts (cast/crew) and even some of the synopses haven't aged well. That is, the data for the rarer foreign horror films have errors and have been corrected in newer books/magazines (not to mention DVD releases) and sometimes the films were so rare or unavailable for viewing at the time (the review of Kuei Chih-hung's BEWITCHED comes to mind) that the synopses were mere guesswork pieced together from surviving ad materials like press books and lobby cards. Sometimes the synopses turned out to just be WRONG.

But I give the authors some slack as this was a groundbreaking book and really opened the field.  And it is still a rollicking good read and is one of the few books that I can still look at and can fritter hours away with.  I just have long since discontinued using it as a dependable resource for any of my film writings.

My only other complaint is the reviews can sometimes be too stuffy and academic, and there is a strong smell of Freud-itis to be found in a lot of the critiques (the Freudian analyses of such films as Fulci's ZOMBIE and TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE are laughable and read like some of the writers are embarrassed to write about horror films and are wasting time they could be writing about more "respectable" films).  I'm all for intelligent critiques of horror, and sometimes a Freudian analysis can be fruitful for some films like PSYCHO, but often it's overused and feels too forced.

**Notes on the book: First off, this book isn't getting any easier to locate.  It's had a squirrely out of print/in print status on such retailers as amazon.com.  I was lucky enough to pick up a brand-new hardback of the second edition from the publisher (Overlook), but it's probably long gone by now.  The paperback seems more obtainable, but it does not contain the 16 page full-color section.  Otherwise it is identical in presentation and content.  The best bet would be to keep searching on Abe Books for used or new copies.



I have it too, only mine is called the "Aurum film encyclopedia".

Posted Image


A very well written book, I 've also browsed through the "science fiction" and "western" tomes and they seem to be equally interesting. Just a thought, sometimes reading about some of those films is more fun than actually sitting down and watching them, at least for me.
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Jared
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Stephen Gladwin
Jun 21 2009, 08:01 AM
Great books Jared! Have most of those, and am currently reading NIGHTMARE USA. It's a mammoth, exhaustive and exhausting volume. Kudos to Thrower for this one.

**I know this is off topic but I'm sure you won't mind: I am thoroughly enjoying your Worldweird Cinema blog Jared! I'm catching up as I've only been aware of it for a little while now. Great capsule reviews! Keep it coming and keep the faith!

In terms of sheer writing talent Thrower is the best in the field. Very pleasurable to read as well as incredibly informative.

Thanks for the encouragement Stephen, it's great to hear that you're enjoying the site!
Worldweird Cinema
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dodo
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Here are most of my movie books:

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Like you can see the books are not in any order what so ever… Anyways, the Aurum/Overlook film encyclopedia has also fourth part that focuses on gangster films. Also highly recommended if you like gangster films from Japan, Europe, US etc…

I also love those Italian Glittering Images books:

http://www.glitteringimages.it/

I think they are doing book on Giallo films now!!

And now I’m reading FAB Press books on their Cinema Classics Collection:

http://www.fabpress.com/perl/search.pl?CO=FAB085

Great stuff!

Next on my to buy list is that NIGHTMARE USA… I would also be very interested in any recommendations on books on kung-fu films and on Hong Kong cinema.
retro-pop-art-confusion
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Jack J
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Very cool collection there, Dodo!

One book on HK films you ought to get hold of is "The Essential Guide To Hong Kong Movies" that Eastern Heroes put out in the UK. It was published in 1994 and needless to say it's OOP but if you can find it it's well worth it. It's a really good reference book.

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cinehound
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This thread moved here as it about film books B)
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Stephen Gladwin
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GREAT collection there dodo! I recognize many of your books that I have on my shelf, including:

-MEMOIRS OF A WOLFMAN
-JAPANESE CINEMA ENCYCLOPEDIA: THE SEX FILMS
-OUTLAW MASTERS OF JAPANESE FILM
-CRONENBERG ON CRONENBERG
-OVERLOOK FILM ENCYCLOPEDIA: HORROR
-CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST
-HAUNTED WORLD OF MARIO BAVA
-GRAVEN IMAGES
-JAPANESE HORROR MOVIE POSTER BOOK (I don't have a proper name as it's all in japanese! It's the slim trade paper with the black spine with red and gold lettering. It's also the best book of its kind I've seen!)
-FRENCH SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, HORROR AND PULP FICTION
-IMMORAL TALES
-MONDO MACABRO
-HONG KONG ACTION CINEMA
-FEAR WITHOUT FRONTIERS
-GODS IN POLYESTER
-BIZARRE SINEMA! JESS FRANCO
-BIZARRE SINEMA! HORROR ALL'ITALIANA
-BEYOND TERROR
-SPAGHETTI NIGHTMARES

**If you want a great hong kong reference book, look no further than John Charles's superb HONG KONG FILMOGRAPHY. It covers the years 1977-1997 in great depth (over 1100 films) and has amazingly complete (and RELIABLE!) cast/crew data as well as notes on video/laser/dvd/vcd availability (including run times) and info on alternate versions/titles and the original aspect ratio of each film. Of course there is also a synopsis/review for each film as well. And the index is INSANELY detailed and very useful! The price for the hardback was steep ($75 list) but now it's out in a trade paperback for nearly half the price ($40) so you really have no excuse not to pick it up!
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Jack J
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Stephen Gladwin
Jul 9 2009, 12:00 AM

**If you want a great hong kong reference book, look no further than John Charles's superb HONG KONG FILMOGRAPHY.

A reliable reference book on HK cinema! Mein gott!!!!!!! Could this be true? :blink:

Thanks for that piece of info, Stephen. I think I might have been stuck for too long with old dusty books from yesteryear. I'll grab this one that's for sure. B)
2019 AD. The only blog that survived the nuclear holocaust: EN LEJEMORDER SER TILBAGE
The ONLY site in the world devoted entirely to trashy Filipino war flicks: When the Vietnam War raged... in the Philippines
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