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healing process of wounds (not so abnormal), but adolescence brought the typical self-injurious be- haviour – cutting, bruising, and consistently giving myself bad haircuts. I still maintain that the latter was the most damaging.” The second half of the book is devoted to an


image gallery and an appendix of capsule reviews that is worth the purchase price all by itself. Equal parts autobiography, critical study and exploitation film encyclopedia, House is a highly personal book, but it’s also a very relatable one that deserves a place on your shelf right beside that old, battered copy of Men, Women, and Chain Saws (RM#99). APRIL SNELLINGS


HORROR AND THE HORROR FILM Behind this academic book’s maddeningly non-


specific title is an equally vague premise. It ap- pears that University of Colorado film professor Bruce Kawin is attempting to create a full taxon- omy of horror films in this dense work, which dis- cusses everything from ape attack pics to unholy rites to homicidal maniacs. But if there’s an over- arching discussion here, it’s hard to pick out from Kawin’s succinct summaries of individual films. That’s not to say this isn’t a well-written or in- sightful book; Kawin clearly knows his subject


from front to back, and he highlights three domi- nant sources of terror in horror movies: monsters, supernatural monsters and hu- mans. In his wide-ranging discus- sion of hundreds of genre films – covering everything from silent spookshows to J-horror – Kawin touches on almost all the ex- pected classics as his text sprints through the whole of horror his- tory. Breaking down the major sections into different variations of the assorted threats, he devotes several pages to each specific type of film, offering perceptive looks at individual movies such as Peeping Tom, The Thing from Another World and Friday the 13th, by discussing the way each film works to scare audiences and how certain tropes have evolved over time. These critiques are inter- esting but, when taken together, don’t seem to offer any conclusions. Perhaps part of the problem is that the films are


often dissected in a contextual vacuum, as Kawin divorces them from their social and cultural cir- cumstances to keep the discussion on a purely cinematic level. For instance, it’s certainly notable that the 1970s saw a boom of open-ended horror films that subvert their supposed happy endings in the final few frames, but Kawin doesn’t offer any


explanations as to why, aside from a kind of basic evolution on how directors and writers were ap- proaching the genre as it marched on through the decades. Kicking off with a basic


overview of horror as a genre, Hor- ror and the Horror Film was most likely written as a supporting text- book for Kawin’s own film class and, in this way, it succeeds, but it’s far too scattered to revolution- ize thinking about horror films. Still, as an introductory work for academic-minded students, this might provide a fine foundation. PAUL CORUPE


A BOOK OF HORRORS “What the Hell happened to the horror genre?”


editor Stephen Jones asks in the introduction to his latest collection, A Book of Horrors. The anthol- ogy is his response to the recent inundation of glamourized monsters and the new “horror-lite” subgenre that has taken the mainstream by force. Jones, it seems, has a bone to pick with gentler, genre-bending horror anthologies that pussyfoot around fear, horror and the grotesque, so he has


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