Bearded and suited 60+ year-old movie director John Landis has a new book coming out called Monsters in the Movies: 100 Years of Cinematic Nightmares. It’s a nice beard. I’m on the fence about the suit, which looks off the rack. With nearly 20 movies to his credit – five of are horror/sci-fi – his qualifications are as good as anyone. Except mine. I feel I’m far more qualified to do this book. But just because I don’t have a beard or a suit, Hollywood hates my stinkin’ guts.
Of Landis’ more notable works, two have immortalized him in a way just shy of a park statue covered in pigeon poo: An American Werewolf in London (1981, which he also wrote) and the toe-tappin; Thriller video for Michael Jackson (1983). Never heard of him. Other genre films include Innocent Blood (1992), Deer Woman (2005), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), and the overlooked classic Schlock (1973, his first, which he was also the writer). His lesser known works include National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978), The Blues Brothers (1980) and Three Amigos (1986). None of those had vampires, werewolves, or missing links in them. Pity. If they did, someone might have gone to see ’em.
As Landis is a Hollywood insider, he gets to talk to monster movie makers like Sam Raimi, David Cronenberg and John Carpenter any time he wants. He doesn’t need to be their Facebook™ fan – he has their freakin’ phone numbers! How cool would that be to call up John Carpenter in the middle of the night and say stuff like, “Dude, Ghost of Mars sucked Uranus, but The Thing totally gooned me out!” and “Hey, do you wanna hang out ’n stuff?”
Here’s how Monsters in the Movies: 100 Years of Cinematic Nightmares, which arrives September 19, 2011 (and costs $26.40/320 pages) stacks up: “Landis provides his own fascinating and entertaining insights into the world of movie making, while conducting in-depth conversations with leading monster makers, including David Cronenberg, Christopher Lee, John Carpenter, and Sam Raimi – to discuss some of the most petrifying monsters ever seen.”
“He also surveys the historical origins of the archetypal monsters, such as vampires, zombies, and werewolves, and takes you behind the scenes to discover the secrets of those special-effects wizards who created such legendary frighteners as King Kong, Dracula, and Halloween’s Michael Myers.”
“With more than 1000 stunning movie stills and posters, this book is sure to keep even the most intense fright-seekers at the edge of their seats for hours.”
That last part of the sentence is pure Hollywood hype, the lifeblood of the industry. Still, I’ll buy the book and have someone read it to me as I’m more of a TV guy. That, and I finally trained myself how to watch movies without moving my lips. Still trying to nail that one while watching books.
(Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster photos courtesy of Rick Baker, one of the all-time greatest make-up artists in the history of world. Chicks should really use some of his techniques if they wanna get jiggy with me.)