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Book Review: The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated History – Edited by Stephen Jones

The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated History
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books; Ill edition (September 1, 2017)

It’s a only a few times a year that a horror genre book comes out that is so stunning, it becomes a must-own right out of the gate. Sure, we get alot if books that focus on the latest trends such as zombies, vampires and lately “ghosts” that are plenty informative sporting some nice images, however this year’s winner has to go to “The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated History” release published by Applause Books and edited by Stephen Jones.

“The Art of Horror Movies” is an illustrate history of some of the great works of art featured and marketing horror films. Now that in itself could be enough, however, this edition raises the bar with several (and I mean several) full color images and illustrations customized for this release featuring a smattering of great artistic and illustrative talents.

When I heard that there would be a few custom Dave Mckean illustrations featured in this edition, I was sold. The book contains 256 pages of full color images and narratives that take you thru the various chapters. The chapters range from the silent era thru the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and well right up thru the 90’s and on.. The mix here is both esthetically vibrant as it is original chock full of original images (many never seen before). It moves from terrifying, to comedic to intense into fine artistry all mixed in one. Posters, illustrations, marketing materials, movie posters, paintings and well…..so much more make this into one I’m calling this year’s perfect coffee table book. The binding is professionally done, the pages are glossy and the design work here keeps things as interesting as the artwork itself.

Though the real treat of this book is the original illustration work. Tee book begins with a listing of featured artists who in themselves are all stunning participants in the world of illustration. Quickly we are blessed with highly detailed invigorating paintings that were commissioned specifically for this release. You can look up your favorite artists and shuffle thru to their contributions or just take it all in as one journey thru the history of horror and art.

My initial takeaway here was, this is going to be a book I’ll be coming back to quite often. Whether it’s just staring into Basil Gogos paintings, admiring Drew Struzan’s precision illustration work or getting lost in the multi layered Dave Mckean horror compositions (Yep, I’m a lil bias toward Mckean’s art……been a fan for years), it’s a nice collective.

Moving onto the content itself, this book is rich in information and history! The book analyzes various marketing movements, tropes and trends leading to the creation of the art over the years. The color examples here tend to co-exist as part period pieces and part inspirational pieces (much of which are recent paintings and compositions). In all it makes for an exciting journey to see how the art has transformed based on the periods and the inspiration it has fueled.

The subjects themselves move from chapter to chapter thru different eras while at the same time covering more specifics to those time periods. This is includes Hammer Horror, women in horror, mad scientists, supernatural trends, and moving into the later eras which you could most certainly call darker!

Trends include the comedic cheesy 80’s moving into the darker more serious 90’s and then ultimately finding ourselves into the much darker (evil) period of the 2000’s. This is evident in a few trends which include torture p*rn and a renewed intensity not see in earlier days.

“The Art in Horror” again, is a must-see that will entertain readers for years. The new inclusions here are fantastically rich offering a perfect new inclusion for art lovers of all types.

Enuff said! grab the The Art in Horror!

Published by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books

The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated History is now available on Amazon

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