For my contribution to the theme of this month, I was originally going to put together a short list. But the more I thought about one of the entries on that list, the more I felt I had to devote the entire post to this one book, and even that would fall short of doing it justice. Because if there is one book that has brought me more joy than any other, it would have to be Denis Gifford’s A Pictorial History of Horror Movies.
Gifford’s tome came into my life in March of 1976, and it changed everything. I was already obsessed with monsters and dinosaurs, and I bought the book because it had pictures of the biggest dinosaur I had ever seen: Godzilla. Gifford’s text introduced me to the wonders of the cinema of Georges Méliès and James Whale and Val Lewton, to German Expressionism, to Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, and in short defined the academic, creative and professional paths the rest of my life would take. [Read more…]