A Gore worshiper’s tour of blood-stained celluloid.
Book by Dennis Daniel
Reviewed by Roy Frumkes
And let it be known to all perusing these pages that the book’s author, despite what might seem an unhealthy appetite for any normal human being to possess, is in fact a nice human being. I’ve known him for god knows how many years, and yes, I’ve been exposed to his relentless pursuit of grim, exploitation hankerings. What can I tell ya? I agree with a lot of it…particularly THE MANSTER, deep within the book on page 170. The story involves an American reporter in Japan who becomes the unsuspecting subject of an insidious experiment that has dire results on his mind and, in particular, his body. THE MANSTER is well covered by author Dennis Daniel and then some. He identifies when his love for the film struck – it was in 1968 and he was 8 years old. And he pinpoints how it rose to special status alongside so many other exploiters. He sums up his relationship with the 1959 release
with a delicate and nuanced sentence which I’m sure we all can understand despite its subtlety:
“BUT HOLY FUCKING SHIT BALLS…”.
Here’s hoping the walls to his domicile are sound-proofed… And while we’re in the vicinity of THE MANSTER, I’ll add an observation of my own - that lead actor Peter Dyneley sounds exactly like Alan Ladd, a popular noir star of Hollywood’s golden age. Really, it’s as if a voice
mime conjured Ladd’s vocal impression to replace the actor’s real voice for the entire film, and for no apparent reason.
It’s a minor observation, but I thought I’d toss it into the stew.
It was wise of Dennis to invite other genre aficionados to contribute small essays and reviews to the book. His approach to reviewing is so relentless in its inundational style that these other contributions serve as ‘breathers,’ including mine. A blistering 300-page onslaught of unexpurgated Daniel would literally be too much to take. Eyes would melt like they did in the ending of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Tinnitus would sound like the bells of Notre Dame. A Migraine episode would approximate a stick of Bazooka bubble-gum popping in your brain,
Which is not to say that every Daniel-spawned page is dripping with hemoglobin. He covers the genre from its creepy beginnings until now, so that includes 1922’s Silent Film classic NOSFERATU, Universal’s pioneering work in the early Talkies, Hammer’s Technicolor hits, and
then, of course, the rest is history. Recent history. When you get your claws into a tome this wide-reaching, it serves, as a secondary accomplishment, to clear things up. What inspired this film? Whose career depended on their work in the genre? What should you catch up with in a field so glutted with product that you can’t see everything, or even half of what’s out there, (or even probably ten %).
Now there’s one more little aside that I took away from this book, and it wouldn’t mean anything to you readers out there, but it did to me. I was thumbing through, pausing here and there to digest a favorite flick, when I came upon my name. Well, wasn’t that nice! Dennis certainly remembers his friends. I read on, and after another bunch of pages I stumbled across yet another unexpected display of my moniker. Hmmm? Now I was intrigued. I increased the pace of my thumbing, and what the hell, there I was again. Thank goodness I was proud to be
mentioned in the book… I hadn’t been so lucky in the past.
And there came another mention! Now I realized what Dennis had done was to set my appearances up like a page from Junior Scholastic magazine which I used to get as a kid in grade school. Each issue featured a page which would instruct you to ‘Find four barnyard
animals in this picture.’ And with a little concentration, there they’d be, hidden in a drawing of a tree, or in the rickety barn door, and there’d be no prize, except for the sharpening of your observational skills for future use. But in this case, I’ll give a Blu-Ray to the first five people who can find all the mentions of my name in the book (and on the back cover). Just send your answer to: email@example.com and include your return address.
And there’s one more thing I need to get off my chest and out of my shoes: When I was the Editor of The Perfect Vision Magazine, we had two paid staffers whose sole job it was to scrutinize copy with an eye for misspellings, incorrect grammar, fact-checking, all of it utterly
necessary since writers – myself included – get too close to their material and often miss what lies right before their eyes. Well, there’s a goodly amount of these kind of errors to be found in THE HORROR! THE HORROR! And there’s nothing wrong with that. One comes across
such a thing, corrects it in one’s consciousness and, knowing what the author meant, moves on with the article. Simple as that. An example can be found on page 295. Here are listed the Guest Writers whose work appears in the book, and next to my name is listed the film title THE ULTIMATE DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD. So nice of Dennis to list me yet again…except that the actual title of the film is THE DEFINITIVE DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD.
Don’t get me wrong, I like ‘ULTIMATE,’ it just ain’t the right word.
However, I’m forced, with utter and baffled humiliation, to mention that I pulled such a whopper myself. Despite having read my little article three times looking for errors, still one doozy got through. On Page 274, in my article on Fight Scenes in Cinema, I referenced John
Wayne and Yakima Kunute as the pioneers who established the way to stage fight scenes effectively on film. And that’s true. Except that, almost incomprehensibly to me, I misspelled Yakima Canutt’s name.
God almighty, how could I have done it. I deserve to be pistol whipped. Only not with one of the pistols from the RUST productions…if you don’t mind.