by Michael Gingold
Available now from Amazon

Following on from the brilliant The FrightFest Guide to Exploitation Movies, FrightFest returns with an insight into the creature features with The FrightFest Guide to Monster Movies.

At 240 pages, FrightFest Guide to Monster Movies is laid out in similar fashion to its predecessor; a wealth of bite size chunks spanning a mass collection of movies.

The book opens with a guest introduction from Basket Case director Frank Henenlotter, who gives us a taste of his picks of the monster genre, before transitioning into its own intro. The book’s main introduction acts as a summary of the evolution of monster movies with certain films used as reference points as the various types of monsters, from vampires to demons and even human monsters, are discussed.

Having established what the book is about, if you hadn’t already gathered, The FrightFest Guide to Monster Movies grabs your hand and walks you through 200 movies that represent the monster genre. Accompanied by full colour stills and poster artwork, the movie summaries are fascinating to read with each film given a paragraph or two about the movie and the monster it depicts. When monster movies come to mind, I always think of creature features like Critters, Xtro and The Deadly Spawn but I was pleasantly surprised to see more mainstream movies included too such as Gremlins and Aliens, and even modern flicks such as The Descent, Troll Hunter and The Babadook. Flicking through the pages, I found I’d seen more monster movies than I’d ever realised with films ranging from The Mist to Universal horrors Frankenstein and The Wolf Man. For fans of 50’s cinema, there’s plenty to delve into such as Attack of the 50 Foot Woman to Toho’s Rodan before the book hits the prosthetic high notes of the 70’s and 80’s. There’s so much to see and read about with author Michael Gingold ensuring a comprehensive list of movies that isn’t just a wall of text by artfully producing a layout that is a wonderful assault on the senses. Like any good reference book, it comes with a complete index at the back of the book to easily locate your favourite titles or those you’ve yet to see making it the perfect book to sit on your shelve and dip in and out of.

As a film lover, I feel like the book should be used as both a reference point and checklist of movies you may have missed out on. With each film summary often provided with a fact about the shoot or the featured monster itself, The FrightFest Guide to Monster Movies is more than just a list and provides something of worth with Gingold imparting his wisdom and factual insight with each entry. The book is up-to-date as you can get at the time of publishing with Kong: Skull Island the final entry and the first dating all the way back to 1920 – almost a century ago. With the book detailing the movies in chronological order, it’s fascinating to see the style of movies throughout the years. There’s without doubt a pattern and you wonder what the next decade may have in store for the cinematic monsters out there.

FrightFest have produced another useful guide that covers the spectrum of the monster genre in more ways than I could have imagined and more than deserves a place on any genre film enthusiast’s book shelf.

Rating: ★★★★★

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About Bat 4345 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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