Following on from the brilliant FrightFest Guide to Exploitation Movies and Monster Movies, FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO GHOST MOVIES is the third instalment of the book series that publishes to coincide with FrightFest’s annual August Bank Holiday festival. With each book written by a different author, this particular publication has been penned by Axelle Carolyn, a writer, actress and award-winning filmmaker who saw her film SOULMATE screen at the Halloween FrightFest event in 2013. With her debut feature a ghostly tale, it’s fitting that Carolyn has been chosen to bring forth the collection of ghost movies that we must simply check out.
Every FrightFest guide comes with a special introduction and FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO GHOST MOVIES is no different. This time it’s by regular attendee and star, co-director and co-writer of Ghost Stories, Andy Nyman, who saw Ghost Stories take to the big screen in 2018 having adapted it from the stage show with his writing and directing partner, Jeremy Dyson. Nyman talks about his experience with spooky cinema and the moments that affected him the most, such as the face in the window in The Innocents. He also talks about the book and what ghost stories mean to him as well as a little about the author, Carolyn.
What I love about the FrightFest guides is the layout. With each page dedicated to a movie, it’s one of those books that you can either flick through quickly to see if anything catches your eye or one that you can snuggle up with on the sofa with a brew and indulge in page by page. Each rundown features full colour poster artwork and stills alongside Axelle Carolyn’s synopsis and analysis of the movie, so it’s easy to get an impression of the movie before you watch it. I liken it to browsing the VHS covers of the horror aisle in Blockbusters when I was younger and jumping into a movie purely based on the cover artwork and the synopsis/sales pitch on the back. In a time where we’ve got access to an abundance of films, it’s sometimes overwhelming to try and decide what to watch. This book breaks down ghost movies that you may or may not have seen and gives a better overview of the film, often providing insightful facts about the film. From this, I’ve found many a movie I’ve not seen or even heard of that I’ve decided to seek out.
From mainstream (The Sixth Sense) to obscure (R-Point), there’s plenty of ghost stories featured in this book that will appeal to a wide range of genre fans. Asian and European cinema is as much featured here as British and American, with plenty of inclusions of movies I’ve heard of but have yet to see and some I never knew existed! The book is as up-to-date as you can get with Irish horror The Lodgers and Helen Mirren-starring Winchester being the final two entries in the guide. Whilst some of my modern favourites are included, like The Others and Event Horizon, there’s plenty of older films to check out with Axelle Carolyn having included movies dating back to 1921 (The Phantom Carriage). Smaller budget also get a look in
With 240 pages of ghostly goodness, this guide is every bit as awesome as its predecessors. An index at the back of the book helps to find those particular titles you may have already seen or are itching to watch, making it a fantastic reference book, but its layout and the insightful commentary from Carolyn make it that much more.
For horror fans and movie fans in general, FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO GHOST MOVIES is one of those books that will open up a world of movies you might not known existed. One of the most enjoyable things about watching films is discovering brilliant stories you’ve yet to see and this book, along with the other FrightFest guides, is definitely a companion you’ll want to have around to make that journey of discovery that bit easier.