Monday, September 26, 2016

...A Horror-Mood Horror Book Review... “Fantastic Films Of The Decades - Volume 1: The Silent Era”

Your "Horridly Absent" "As In Late" "Horrendous Host" is back with a “Horror-Mood Horror Book Review”

Readers of horror film books about the legendary Hammer Films Studios are no doubt familiar with the name of author and acclaimed Hammer Film expert Wayne Kinsey… Kinsey, who made his debut with a 24 issue series of prozines which chronicled the history of the fabled British film outfit under the title of “The House That Hammer Built” along with an additional “Dracula Special”, went on to write two of the most sought after tomes about the UK film house, “Hammer Films - The Bray Studios Years” and its follow up volume, “Hammer Films - The Elstree Studios Years” for Tomahawk Press… After the success of these initial efforts, Kinsey would go on to script two additional volumes for Tomahawk, “Hammer Films - A Life In Pictures” and Hammer Films - The Unsung Heroes”… Persuaded by Steve Kirkham of Tree Frog Communication to self publish his next effort, “Hammer Films On Location”, Kinsey made the decision to set up his own publishing house under the banner, Peveril Publishing… Besides “On Location”, Peveril’s catalogue has grown to include “The Peter Cushing Scrapbook”, “Hammer’s Film Legacy”, “Running Scared” and the highly anticipated and forthcoming “The Hammer Film Scrapbook Series”…

Which brings us to Peveril Publishing and Kinsey’s current release, “Fantastic Films Of The Decades – Volume 1: The Silent Era”…


Breaking the book down after having read it cover to cover, I decided to start with the content… Following Mr Kinsey’s Introduction, 65 of the finest silent genre films leading up to the dawn of the talking film are covered in detail, with separate discussions of silent film legends (actors and prominent filmmakers), amongst them George Méliés, Herbert M Dawley, Willis O’ Brien, FW Murnau, Karl Freund, Fritz Lang, Paul Leni, Tod Browning, The Hitchcocks (Alfred Hitchcock and Alma Reville) and Team Curtiz (Michael Curtiz and Anton Grot) in the filmmakers category, Paul Wegener, Conrad Veidt, The Barrymores (Lionel, Ethel, and John) and Lon Chaney Sr. in the actors category, with The Westmores ( Perc, Wally, and Bud) and Jack P Pierce represented in the make-up artists category…


Series Links are also included for Frankenstein films, She films, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde films, Edgar Allan Poe films, Mummy films, Supernatural Films, Dracula films, The Hunchback of Notre Dame films, Dinosaur films, The Phantom of the Opera films, 10 of the best Chaney/Browning films and Vampire Films…


Separate text pieces include The Origins Of Film, Universal Pictures, Birth of the Hollywood Majors, and Transition to Sound along with a piece on Universal Luminaries Charles D Hall, Maurice Pivar and Vera West…


And then there are the films, which are covered in detail with little known facts and featuring separate entries, such as “What’s it about?”, “What’s it like?”, “Did you know?”, “Look out for”, “Who’s in it?” and “Who made it?” Two early talkies: The Terror (1928) and The Thirteenth Chair (1929) are covered as well…



The book isn’t as text heavy as Kinsey’s other tomes (but the copy is enjoyable, informative and thoroughly researched), with the emphasis being placed rather on the visuals instead, and what visuals are found within! Rare images, screen grabs, and posters both foreign and domestic (and all in sumptuous color) are included, resulting in a veritable visual smorgasbord of this oft forgotten and overlooked era of filmmaking… Steve Kirkham’s Tree Frog Communication design and layout work is exemplary (coming from one graphic designer to another) and I’ve peppered this review with numerous examples of his outstanding work…




This is an excellent start to this series of books which, when completed, will take us all of the way up to the 70’s, covering the finest in Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy…

Please note that this book is available as a numbered limited edition of 500 copies (of which about 200 have been sold as of this writing) and is available only direct from the publisher (it is not available in book stores or other online markets)… I’ve included the link in this review below as well as in the links section…

In closing, your “Revolting Reviewer” can only say that these will go fast so… …Miss It Not…

To order Fantastic Films of the Decades - Volume 1: The Silent Era…

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