By Joe X Young
Eric McNaughton keeps nostalgia in a cage.
For me it’s personal.
Memories. The man that is the boy who was. The cardboard oblong the colour of sun-parched earth contained another oblong of petrol blue, the combination of which was a key to other worlds.
The boy who was now owned a library card.
The children’s section was routinely stocked, having as it did the usual fairy tales, the Rev W Awdry’s Thomas the Tank Engine books, the obligatory Famous Five, Just William, Biggles and the adventures of a French mouse named Anatole. So many books, but for an eager sponge their delights were short lived, however, a lovely librarian and a lovelier mother arranged access for the boy who was to enter the cornucopia of ‘The Adult Section’.
The adult library card granted access to things the boy could never have imagined existed, and it wasn’t long before he was reading his way through an assortment of horror related books, amongst which was a small but beautifully formed book ‘Movie Monsters’ by Denis Gifford, a name which UK aficionados will doubtless be familiar with. This book wasn’t so much a beginning as a continuation of a passion. The boy who was had on many occasions snuck his way to watching horror movies, usually through the stair rails as he sat on the top step, desperately trying to watch a wolf-man or a vampire or some other such creature doing its thing. The book took away the need to sneak, providing the boy with his fix of horror as well as the hope that someday he may see all of the films in the book.
For the boy of a mere seven years old the book was his bible, until a year later when there came another. It was a much larger and more ambitious book by the same author. The Pictorial History of Horror Movies. The boy stood transfixed in front of the book shop and drooled accordingly. There was a new dream, he would have the book, he could run errands and he could save up. Nothing would stop him.
His father did. He was banned; there was no way he was going to waste money on a book. The boy became a nuisance at the bookstore, the solo copy a beacon to him, and then came the day that it was gone. The bottom having fallen out of his world the boy vowed that there would come a day he would have that book, it was too everything a book not to own. Years passed by before he was able to get his hands on a copy by borrowing one from a friend. He could finally relax and go over it in minute detail, poring over each word, studying each of the hundreds of images within. It was everything to him.
The boy who was became the man who is, and has across the years had several copies of the book for an assortment of reasons.
What, if anything, does this have to do with the book ‘Unsung Horrors’?
So much. Too much.
I could say that Unsung Horrors is the modern equivalent. Well, sort of, because Unsung Horrors is every bit the same. Eric McNaughton and his team have compiled a thumping great volume of articles on what could best be described as the ‘lesser appreciated’ horror movies of the decades pre 1980. It echoes Denis Gifford’s Pictorial History of Horror Movies with a passionate attention to detail, it is lavishly presented with 448 pages of full colour, and I do mean full, not a colour image on a white page as most books have. The whole design screams the quality I have come to expect from the people behind ‘We Belong Dead’. Unlike Gifford’s master volume Unsung Horrors is a collaborative work with several dozen of the most passionate international fans/reviewers in the business.
The concept simple enough, write an article stating why a lesser known or underappreciated horror movie is worth watching. This book delivers the goods. Somewhat controversially there will no doubt be titles amongst the hundreds examined within, which the reader may not consider to be particularly unsung, yet there are films mentioned which during my 40+ years as an enthusiastic devotee I had yet to come across, and will now, thanks to Unsung Horrors, make an effort to see.
That is the whole idea behind this hefty tome, to revamp, to raise awareness that there’s more available than the current slew of regurgitated horror. It takes us back to origins, to simple horror where the focus was on the chills. Simply put, if I were able to create something as worthy as Unsung Horrors I could die a happy man, secure in the knowledge that I introduced fans new and old to a wealth of gems they may never have otherwise encountered.
Unsung Horrors cleared away decades of cobwebs and made me feel the same as I did way back in 1973 when I was eight years old and first saw A Pictorial History of Horror Movies.
Thank you Eric and co for making the man that is, the boy who was again.
Unsung Horrors – Buy NowFrom the team that bring you We Belong Dead magazine & the best selling 70s Monster Memories book, comes another collectors item.
440 pages covering more than 200 films from the silents to the 70s that are neglected, unappreciated or forgotten. Everything from The Alligator People to Willard, from Tombs of the Blind Dead to The Black Zoo and from Grizzly to Frankenstein 1970 and much much more.
A labour of love, this gorgeous, large format softback is FULL COLOUR throughout and packed with stills, posters and lobby cards. It has to be seen to be believed.
With a Foreword by Joe Dante (director of The Howling and Gremlins), this is sure to be a collectors item and will sell out fast.
Order now to save disappointment…
You can buy it from here: http://unsunghorrors.co.uk/