Wednesday, 19 April 2017

REVIEW: Twenty First Century Horror Films by Douglas Keesey

If you love reading Sight & Sound magazine (and I do), I think you’ll enjoy this exhaustive trawl through the famous, the cult, the controversial, the remakes and even the spoofs of the last two decades and occasionally of the twentieth century. You may not always agree with the analysis (I certainly didn’t) but that’s the great thing about horror or indeed films of any genre – they are subject to multiple readings and critiques.

Interestingly, what the book did for me was polarise exactly what it is I love about horror. I love the creepy and the jump scare (Sinister, the Babadook, It Follows). I’m not likely to see Martyrs or The Human Centipede any time soon, though I did love Neon Demon. On the strength of the analysis in this book I will certainly see Green Inferno. I also like horror films that say something about politics so it’s Purge 2 all the way for me! Horror is at its strongest when it’s the return of the repressed, so in that vein (arf) I’m keen to go see The Love Witch which seems like it's harking back to an era of just that: fear of female sexuality. Surely that will be included in future editions? I was surprised not to see any of the hugely successful Blade films featured (surely ripe for a revival?) but then I imagine that with such a wealth of material to choose from, it was hard for Keesey to whittle them down.

Buy this for the horror fanatics in your life, it’s practically guaranteed to keep heated debate alive. Perfect also for anyone engaged in more formal film studies. And, like the best horror films, I found once I started reading that I couldn’t look away.

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