I know most people don't have occassion to write or read about horror films, academically, professionally, or purely for entertainment. For those people, I apologize for the following recommendation. Book Rec: Smirk, Sneer, and Scream: Great Acting in Horror Cinema by Mark Clark Let's get the obvious out of the way right now. This book is WAY overpriced. Borrow it from a library if you read it at all. The price is disgusting for a 257 page book even with the excellent content and construction. Fifty bucks? No thank you. I don't even own a copy. Now to the meat of it. This should be your first source for any information on performances in horror films. Actors are given more coverage than actresses, though the chapter on actresses contains some of the most passionate writing in the book. Mark Clark goes through a who's who of horror film performers, from the popular to the obscure. In discussing what makes a certain performer or performance so influential, Clark diagnoses our reaction to horror films. Why do we recoil at the site of Lon Chaney, Jr. but feel attracted to Barbara Steele? Especially considering the awful dubbing in some of the only available copies of Barbara Steele films? Why do we relate to a survivor girl (represented in this book only by Jamie Lee Curtis, but what an article) and a serial killer at the same time? What makes us keep coming back to horror? And what constitutes good acting in horror? He discusses much more than that. This book is incredible, yet incredibly overpriced. I almost feel bad recommending it for true fans because you'll undoubtedly have to use interlibrary loan or your local college (which will also receive it from a bigger school) to even feel a single page of it. But it's worth hunting down for fans and research. If it were even twenty dollars less I would recommend the purchase.
Labels: book rec