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The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: Horror Paperback – October 1, 1995

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Editorial Reviews Review

This is the best single volume book on the horror film, the definitive reference work devoted to the subject. It contains entries on every movie even remotely connected to the genre, whether it is a 19-century silent, a grade "Z" schlocker, or an "art" film by the likes of Fritz Lang or Ingmar Bergman. Each entry contains a full list of credits and a descriptive review. Hardy writes about horror movies with such enthusiasm and intelligence that you feel you're getting the low down on the genre from a sincere and learned friend.

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Product Details

  • Series: Overlook Film Encyclopedia
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Books; Reprint edition (October 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879516240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879516246
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 9.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

In 1986 I went to Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan to research and write the documentary film, Food Trucks & Rock 'n' Roll about how the money raised by Band Aid was spent in Africa. I was the founding editor of Music and Copyright, a biweekly newsletter offering news and analysis on the international music industry published by the Financial Times. My books include Samuel Fuller (1970), The Encyclopedia of Horror Movies (1986) ,The Faber Companion to 20th Century Popular Music (1990) and The British Film Institute Companion to Crime (1997). My Western Encyclopedia won the BFI Book Award in 1984. Download!: How Digital Destroyed the Record Industry, was published at the end of 2012. I have just finished writing a book about music publishing and copyright administration since 2000. Currently I am writing a book about trhe history of the Universal Music Group

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Clarkson on March 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
The fact that this encyclopedia has not been updated since its last reprinting in 1995 borders on the offensive. That's because it is simply the best reference of the genre I've ever encountered. The book is filled with short to medium length reviews of horror films from every period in film history (up to 1992) and every nation which dabbles in the genre.
The fact that the encyclopedia is that complete is not necessarily its biggest asset. The reviews which compose the book do not simply provide summary, a quick line or two of evaluation, and a useless star rating a la Leonard Martin. Instead, each review examines its subject in relation to other similar works by subject, studio, director, actor, etc. It refuses to provide star ratings, favoring a more detailed explanation of a film's strengths and weaknesses. Also, and this pleases me the most, many films are examined through a critical lense, looking at how the film explores gender, culture, politics, economics, etc.
Combine these strengths with the inclusion of just about every horror film ever made and you have a book horror fans will leave by their bedside.
This encyclopedia treats the horror film genre as it should be treated, an important and vital field of art with a history and voice to be heard. Any causal or serious student of horror films must own this book. It will deepen and enlive their enjoyment of horror, from the absurd and esoteric, to the classic and mainstream.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By P. Mann VINE VOICE on January 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
Phil Hardy's Overlook Encyclopedia of Horror is an essential part of any horror-film aficionado's library. Though it is clear that the editors are fans of the genre, they are intelligent fans. This book consists of a year-by-year listing of horror films from around the world. For each film, the book provides a thorough review in which the editors freely praise or criticize the film according to its merits or the lack of merit. The reviews are comparable in length to those of Roger Ebert though without the personal confessions and revelations.

The great strength of this tome is that it is so thorough, covering films from Japan, Italy, and other countries that one would not find even mentioned in Leonard Maltin's video guide. The reviews, moreover, do well to identify conventions and movements within the genre and its subgenres (as in cannibal films or vampire films). With more and more non-English-language films emerging on video, Hardy's guide may prove the only source for the discerning (or non-discerning) horror viewer.

There are two major drawbacks to this book, though. The first is that it lacks the indices that it should have. For example, finding a film by a particular director can be particularly frustrating. Though Hardy includes many alternate titles, the book is not complete in this respect, and it is quite possible to find a video tape with a title that Hardy's book does not credit. The book may have the film, but finding it can be a chore. A director index would significantly cut search time. The other major flaw is that the video revolution seems to be leaving Hardy behind.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "" on July 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
An attractive and indispensable guide to practically every horror film ever made, from the 1910's to the 1990's. It probably contains more out-of-print and foreign titles than most other guides. It is truly a massive book with hundreds of beautiful photos. However, the film reviews are a little awkward, and those photos would have looked a lot nicer in color.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bob on May 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought the first edition of this book back in 1985 and although I've bought a lot of other book on cinema and horror since then, this has to be the most valuable of them all.
Every - E-V-E-R-Y - horror film ever made - no matter where - is discussed. And in a way that shows that the authors really have seen it. There is so much to explore and so much to see - I still get excited about some strange little movie from a strange little country I've not heard of before.
Films like the Shogun-Assassin-Series or those of Coffin Joe would have been long forgotten if not this book had brought them to a broader public. The writing is very good. Research is excellent. The Photos are fine (if a bit sparse) and there is a short overview of each decade. The ideal research tool for every serious cinema-buff.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Sean A. Mccabe on January 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book has it's flaws, there is no doubt about that, various films are missing, the writing is overly politically correct, almost every film is considered either racist or homophobic and every time a women is killed it is because the director either hates or fears women. Did they ever think that maybe the reason there are beautiful women in these movies is so that there is something to hold the viewers interest between killings rather than having them nod off because of the inane dialogue. Then there are the racist cannibal films. Most of these films are little more than a chance to show some extreme gore and nothing more should be read into them than that. I must say that I am surprised that they missed the right wing political views that are rife in ZOMBIE. They also give away the ending to half the films.
Still, it's a great book, and I'm not beiing sarcastic. As a reference guide for the horror fanatic it's second to none. I have certainly never read anything with as much information on each individual film as this, as I mentioned before there is sometimes too much information, ruining twist endings and giving away key plot elements before you have had a chance to discover them for yourself, but you just have to be careful how you read it. I've owned this book for a few years now, and have read it through about twenty times and I am still picking it up often and going over old ground and discovering new information. Any horror fan must own this, no two ways about it.
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