|Reviews of the Books of
John Kenneth Muir
|"He published two books this year that no film obsessive should miss: Best in Show: The Films of Christopher Guest & Company and The Unseen Force: The Films of Sam Raimi, and they are, like John himself, infectiously enthusiastic, incredibly knowledgable, and highly entertaining...Forget the backstage gossip and "funny" stories that fill typical making-of-books -- John covers not only how a film got produced but why. I can't recommend these books enough..."
-The Flick Filosopher
(Read the whole review here)
|REVIEWS OF THE BOOKS OF JOHN KENNETH MUIR:
On BEST IN SHOW: THE FILMS OF CHRISTOPHER GUEST AND COMPANY:
"Muir reports the mechanics behind Guest's improvisation on film, then proceeds to full background and smart analyses (for which he draws on interviews with the principal cast and crew) of Guest's classics: Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind. In addition to Guest cultists, this book should interest fans of Robert Altman, Monty Python, Peter Sellers, Richard Lester, indeed British and American comedy in general. Muir eschews the academic tone for zippy journalese, but this insightful study certainly establishes Guest as a solid, coherent, and original artist...Highly recommended." - CHOICE, March 2005.
"Guest is an original, and Muir does a superb job of illuminating Guest's qualities as a person, performer and director...The great value of reading about this quirky creator is absorbing his message, which applies to moviemakers and laymen alike: blaze your own path and have enough self-belief to buck the tide of conventional opinion."-PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, Oct. 25, 2004, page 35.
"...a nicely informative overview and critical study of Guest's improv flicks, including a lot of background on their rather unorthodox construction and methodology." - IGN FILM FORCE, "Weekend Shopping Guide," 11/12/04.
"Although only three films directed by Christopher Guest are highlighted in this book, writer John Kenneth Muir is on to something in treating them like an oeuvre...there are fascinating tidbits of information here, from the initial appearance of Tap's guitarist Nigel Tufnel...to how the filmmakers had to get clearance rights for Guffman's oddball series of action figures such as The Remains of the Day and My Dinner With Andre - and had to convince hesitant Brat Packers that it was a good idea. This is an enjoyable read for fans of Guest..." - Terry Morgan, BACKSTAGE WEST, October 28, 2004, page 3-A.
"If you agree that Christopher Guest is the funniest director of the last decade, if you're waiting impatiently to buy the deluxe boxed set of "Waiting for Guffman" "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind," then give yourself a book for a Christmas present: "Best in Show: The Films of Christopher Guest and Company."...Muir has written an entertaining combination of behind-the-scenes tale and quick analysis of Guest's work....After touching on Guest's other directing (notably "Almost Heroes") and his memorable work in "This is Spinal Tap," Muir delves into the three masterpieces of ensemble acting and improvisation...If you haven't seen them, you should - and use Muir's book afterward to relive your pleasure." - Lawrence Toppman, THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: "The Skinny on Movies: Monroe writer's Guest shot merits readers' attention." December 10, 2004.
"Lovers of hilariously gentle satire will want to look at Best in Show: The Films of Christopher Guest and Company, by John Kenneth Muir...Film writer Muir follows the fortunes of cast members and traces the evolution and development of the films. Rock'n'roll, believers!" - GLOBE & MAIL, December 18, 2004.
"Muir's book, Best in Show: The Films of Christopher Guest and Company, is riddled with rich, behind-the-scenes anecdotes that paint Guest as a daring yet patient innovator who kindles actors to act through spontaneity rather than rehearsal. Muir is able to construct a book that shows off an amazing research effort without coming off as too academic. In other words, it's informative and still highly entertaining." - Mike Ward, "Guest Work," Richmond.com, Jan. 20, 2005.
On THE UNSEEN FORCE: THE FILMS OF SAM RAIMI:
Read an interview with John K. Muir on this book at Library Journal, conducted by Senior Editor Michael Rogers. Click here.
"Muir, who has written extensively on pop culture, guides readers on director Sam Raimi's 20-year journey from Michigan movie brat to Hollywood Heavyweight...Muir's giddy enthusiasm for Raimi shines through...the tone is perfect. All Raimi fans will want this book on the shelf next to their homemade Necronomicons. Highly recommended...(A STARRED REVIEW) "-Michael Rogers, LIBRARY JOURNAL, 6/1/04.
"Enter prolific genre scribe John Kenneth Muir, an aficionado and unapologetically hardcore fanboy who's already authored tomes on John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, as well as the indispensable coffee-table crusher Horror Films of the 1970s. Muir's gift for recognizing and interpreting film grammar serves him well once again, and while most of us could immediately (and correctly) identify Raimi trademarks like camera gymnastics and Three Stooges references, Muir digs even deeper to analyze themes and visual hooks that have evolved throughout films as diverse as Army of Darkness, The Gift and Spider-Man...Muir continues to prove himself as one of horror film's more gifted and passionate commentators." - John Bowen, RUE MORGUE, August 2004, page 18.
"Muir, author of Horror Films of the 1970s, admires and enjoys Raimi's highly praised work. Examining Raimi's oeuvre, from the cult classic low-budget horror film The Evil Dead (1981) through the mega-hit Spider-Man (2002), he offers lively, behind-the-scenes accounts via interviews with many of Raimi's collaborators. For example, he divulges the trade secrets of Tom Sullivan, the man responsible for the special effects in The Evil Dead, which illustrate the resourcefulness Raimi inspires in his colleagues...Muir shows how signature flourishes (e.g., his "Point of View subective shot") pop up in Raimi's fledgling works yet still thrill when used in Spider-Man. If there is a downside to the nonconformist director, Muir has yet to find it." - PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, May 31, 2004.
"...Author Muir is a staunch Raimi fan, waxing enthusiastic about each of Raimi's films - they're given a chapter apiece...it's more than a cut-and-paste job; he's interviewed assorted cast and crew and makes excellent use of their recollections. And he writes splendidly. An insightful chapter, for example, on the Raimi film I most admire, A Simple Plan, demonstrates how much it owes to the Cain and Abel story, Macbeth, Of Mice and Men and...The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Chapter by chapter, the book builds a case for Raimi as one of our most accomplished filmmakers...GRADE: A-." - Lawrence Tucker SCI-FI MAGAZINE Page 78. July 04.
"With two sections of photographs, including 20 never-before-seen stills detailing the making of the first two Evil Dead films, not to mention an amusing Raimi lexicon...The Unseen Force is in the end a must for the director's enthusiasts. " - Jeremiah Kipp, FANGORIA #235 page 79.
"The Unseen Force is a welcome and greatly appreciated contribution to the annals of filmmaking and filmmaker histories."- MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW.
"This is, overall, an excellent book by noted film author John Kenneth Muir. It takes us behind the scenes of every Sam Raimi movie from Evil Dead up to the newly released Spider-Man 2 and is for the most part, a riveting read...The most interesting thing about the study is the depth of detail to which Muir goes using information provided by key principals (where possible) to provide a neat analysis of each movie...the amount of information revealed is fascinating...a must for lovers of Evil Dead...Great for Raimi fans and Evil Dead fans alike with a strong analytical approach to keep prospective film students happy. RATING: 4.5 CHAINSAWS (out of 5)." - WITHIN THE WOODS: The Evil Dead Appreciation Site.
"Very timely...for walking film encyclopedia John Kenneth Muir to write a book that discusses every single one of Raimi's movies, from the cult classic Evil Dead on, with an almost overwhelming amount of information and interviews...The book offers detailed accounts of Raimi's creativity behind the camera that will entertain and enlighten newcomers. But film aficionados already know this about Raimi. What the book does best is illuminate a novel reason why a Raimi film is rarely less than satisfying: It's not necessarily because of his technical skill, but because he creates an environment that brings out the best in those who work with him....this book is a very good starting place. And the interview footage contains enough bits of information to even satisfy longtime fans of the director." - Zal Sethna, THE DAILY YOMIURI September 12, 2004, page 22.
ON AN ASKEW VIEW: THE FILMS OF KEVIN SMITH:
(For more info on this book, read the interview by Lisa Intrabartola for Gannett News Service.)
"We highly recommend this book...for any fans of Kevin and his movie...this book delves into almost every detail of Kevin's professional life and the making of the movies...for the zealous fan...this book includes interviews with almost everyone in the View Askew family...we highly enjoyed it."-View Askew Productions, www.viewaskew.com , the official web site of Kevin Smith!
"Muir makes solid points, proving the artistic validity of Kevin Smith's films...As a critic, Muir is acute in his analysis, and as a writer he is easy to read. ASKEW VIEW is a real page turner...how many books of intense film criticism can say that?...[T]he book can be unhesitatingly recommended to all thinking fans of Smith, as well as film fans in general." - Chris Wyatt, Associate Editor, CINESCAPE ONLINE, 11/12/2002.
"This is not a 'movie' book, this is a legitimate film book, written by an accomplished film journalist with numerous other volumes under his belt. Not only does AN ASKEW VIEW contain interviews with the usual cast of characters...it is meticulously researched with copious sources referenced...[An] excellent look at Smith's work. Grade: A." - Jack Abramowitz, COMIC BUYER's GUIDE #1535, 4/18/03.
"Muir's latest offering is a guided tour of the iconic New Jersey filmmaker's cinematic oeuvre...Muir creates a compelling - and somewhat inspirational - portrait of Smith...Muir does an admirable job of capturing in print the appeal of Smith's films, and some of the stories...are both telling and hilarious....Smith's legions of fans...especially those in film school...will enjoy this effort."-PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, 09/23/02.
"Muir gives Kevin Smith a rip-roaring tribute...Muir makes a good case for the distinctive cinematic voice of a Generation X'er...this is a well-written, engaging, and informative book..."-LIBRARY JOURNAL, 10/05/02.
"An Askew View: The Films of Kevin Smith by film and television expert John Kenneth Muir is an insightful commentary...this fascinating companion book...is highly recommended reading for students of filmmaking, as well as the legions of Kevin Smith fans."-MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW 12/2002
"This is an excellent book for either diehard fans of the New Jersey filmmaker or anyone who is only a partial fan of his movies. Muir...is able to capture the versatility and genius that is Kevin Smith...If you enjoy his [Smith's] movies and want to know more about them, then pick up this light-hearted book for an interesting read."-EAGLE ONLINE.
"Beginning with the genesis of Smith's ill-fated stint in a Vancouver film school and his initial meeting with future producer Scott Mosier, Muir goes to great length to chronicle Smith's entire body of work in often meticulous detail. Often drawing literary analogy to the likes of Shakespeare, Dante and others, AN ASKEW VIEW not only dissects Smith's films, but gives the works greater context in the realm of film and literature. Muir, an author of other works dealing with the likes of Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Tobe Hooper, the Doctor Who television series and the horror genre of film, again flexes his pop culture chops on AN ASKEW VIEW...engaging and entertaining."- @Magazine, 2003.
"In the first ever book-length study of the films of Kevin Smith, author John Kenneth Muir thoroughly examines the young director's controversial oeuvre...Fans of this unique auteur will be thrilled with this detailed, behind the scenes look at the cinema of Kevin Smith."-THEATRE BOOKS.
"The commentary from the actors and production staff help bring each chapter to life...The commentary in the book also includes insight from Muir himself who has a vast knowledge of film and has written eleven books prior to Askew View..."-Zack Bridges, THE ENQUIRER-JOURNAL, 06/05/03.
"Fans of Kevin Smith will enjoy this easy read on his life and the making of his films...tracing the characters, controversy over the films' language...and content, the progression of themes and critical reception."- BOOK NEWS.
"The work of a hot filmmaker who appeals to the young-adult crowd is examined in An Askew View: The Films of Kevin Smith (Applause; $18.95) by John Kenneth Muir...The author became interested in Smith due to the passion he sees in works such as Chasing Amy starring Ben Affleck and the humor in the road comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back..."-Lou Gaul, BURLINGTON COUNTY TIMES, 12/15/02
On THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SUPERHEROES ON FILM AND TELEVISION
To read an article about the Encyclopedia of Superheroes on Film and Television, click here.
"The over-the-top, first-stop-in-pop-culture maven, McFarland has unearthed another killer-kryptonite jewel. This bounteous reference cornucopia documents 50-plus years of 71 superheroes in film and television, providing both basic and detailed information for films and episodic listings for television shows. This is genre guru Muir's 11th book for McFarland, and he knows the landscape like Aquaman knows Atlantis...Divided into four sections, the text includes a history of film and television superheroes, a conclusion, and numerous fun and quirky appendixes. The bling-bling, of course, is the mondo-hefty Part 2, encyclopedia of shows, each entry of which provides a full origin and history of the superhero, full credits, format, cross-references, episode-by-episode descriptions for the television shows, and critical notes. If you can swing it, get two copies...you'll need them both. Rock on, Muir and McFarland! A Library Journal "Starred" Review." - LIBRARY JOURNAL, May 15, 2004, pages 77-79.
"For years I have wanted a book on superhero movies, and the new 600 + page brick known as THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SUPERHEROES ON FILM AND TELEVISION by John Kenneth Muir goes one better by including TV shows too. From the early days of Adam West camping the cape of Batman to the current Marvel movie bonanza of X-MEN and SPIDER-MAN, this book covers them all...Each title gets an individual discussion and review, with the TV shows often accompanied by detailed episode guides. The book's introduction is a terrific history of the genre, with Muir demonstrating he knows his stuff..." - Rod Lott, HITCH DAILY, March 8, 2004.
"Those seeking a highly detailed guide to such colorful crime fighters should discover John Kenneth Muir's 'The Encyclopedia of Superheroes on Film and Television.'...Going back more than 50 years, the author offers a history, episode guide, film description and critical commentary for every entry. Muir also details information on arch-villains, gadgets, origins and super powers."-Lou Gaul, THE BURLINGTON COUNTY TIMES, March 4, 2004, page C1-C2.
"* * * * (FOUR STARS/OUT OF FOUR)...The book opens with a succinct history of the subgenre, and notes how various eras have presented comic book figures, on home and cinema screens, from the straight-faced gung-ho action of postwar America through a camp phase of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and a decade of nostalgia, to the 'dark age' of hard-edged cynicism that characterised 1990s' vigilantes...Having written books about Blake's 7, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Space 1999 and the films of John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, and Kevin Smith, author John Kenneth Muir is well-grounded in the lore and minutiae of sci-fi and fantasy adventure...This is the first book where all three Captain America movies are featured. Coverage of The Crow is particularly welcome...and [the book] provides the most comprehensive section on The Six Million Dollar Man...I've yet seen in print. Of course Superman, the mainstay of this book's entire subject, demands and gets a suitably expansive chapter-size entry and along with the write-ups for Superboy and Supergirl, this offers the most extensive coverage of DC Comics' veteran figurehead outside of those specialist single-character books." - Tony Lee, THE ZONE: The Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Mystery Website, June 13, 2004.
"There seems to be no end in sight for the dominance of comic-book heroes at the movies. That's why it's a good time to dive into this hefty 600-page-plus compendium of trivia and essays about caped crusader types from the past half century. John Kenneth Muir, whose credits include Horror Films of the 1970s and Terror Television is our knowledgeable guide through this tour of supernatural heroes. Each entry includes a detailed history, cast and credits, TV episodes and live-action and animated film descriptions, as well as critical commentaries and entertaining data on origins, catch phrases, gadgets and arch-villains. There are some great focuses on recurring themes - almost-exposed secrets, lost powers, misfits, crossover shows, etc. - and nice appendixes such as "The Best, Worst and Most Influential Productions...[a] must-have geek reference book." -ANIMATION MAGAZINE: "BOOKS WE LOVE" July 2004, page 6.
"John Kenneth Muir must have had one mis-spent youth. In his 'Encyclopedia of Superheroes on Film and Television' he gives superhero fans a good resource to the various movie/TV incarnations of our favorite heroes. Covering animation as well, this book is current up to mid-2003, and reaches back to the early 1950s. His presentation covers comic book and comic book-inspired heroes in an entertaining 'Did you know'/documentary format...Filled with great anecdotal and historical information, the entries are illustrated with a smattering of photographs...I love superheroes. And during the course of this writing I was 'lost' several times in numerous entries. That is the beauty of the book, no matter what information was missed due to space, or time limitations you can enjoy it fully...Buy this book. And wait for the second edition where John Kenneth Muir updates the entries and gives us more delight and comic book/superhero video fodder...Happy reading. May your cape never need dry cleaning!"-Tumbleweed, PENGUIN COMICS June 2004.
"John Kenneth Muir's books for McFarland are distinctive because of their authority and effective research. The Encyclopedia of Superheroes on Film and Television is no different...the detail is mind-boggling." - CLASSIC IMAGES, May 2004.
"...riveting...Muir sandwiches entries on 71 superheroic individuals or teams from the past 50-plus years of broadcast media between a pithy historical overview and back matter that includes a compendium of plot cliches and several "Best/Worst" lists...Where else are readers going to find such depth of detail, not only on such major figures as Superman or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but the likes of Captain Nice, Isis and Saturday Night Live's Ambiguously Gay Duo?...this is a browser's delight." - SLJ August 2004.
"...I thought I'd point you out to this cool guide. This book is 600 some pages of everything you need to know pertaining to superheroes. All you could possible wish to have at your fingertips about guys like Superman, Batman, Daredevil and more." - Yvonne Glasgow, MusicRevueMag: Undergound - The Goth and Punk Page. May 2004.
"Muir characterizes the superhero genre as a uniquely American myth that he tracks from the early age of straight-faced crime fighters through its camp and nostalgic phases and to more recent incarnations as dark heroes powerful heroines...and re-imagined characters." - C&RL News, June 2004 page 338.
"...the encyclopedia is well-researched and provides a wide array of television and film superhero characters' backgrounds, histories, ways they were perceived by critics, plus valuable facts about the TV shows and motion pictures that will prove useful to library patrons who are researching topics as varied as female superheroes in TV and film to the evolution of superheroes from comic book characters to TV and/or film central subjects. As this work is unique in its subject matter...academic, public, school and special librarians will find this title to be a good jumping off point for patrons when they are beginning research on TV and film superheroes. It will also be a good ready reference tool to consult for a particular fact or piece of data on a specific movie or TV programme that centres on a superhero. It is a valuable addition to any library's reference collection." - Carolyn Frenger, Reference Reviews, Volume 18, Number 6, 2004, pages 49-50.
"This book is to be read and referenced. Hardcore superhero enthusiasts will treasure it...Recommended." -LIBRARY MEDIA CONNECTION, Nov/Dec 2004, page 185
"An amazing collection of superhero biographies...detailed." - THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY, "Best of Reference, 2005" Selection.
"Muir's encyclopedia should find much use, issued at a time when superheroes have made a strong comeback in feature films and animation...The book is recommended for libraries...and superhero researchers and fans." - ARBA, Volume 36,
ON EATEN ALIVE AT A CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE FILMS OF TOBE HOOPER:
"...Muir does an excellent job of chronicling his [Tobe Hooper's] career. The history and overview section tells us how the films were made, supplying us with behind-the-scenes stories....I don't know how many of you are going to rush out and rent the director's films...but the author does a great job talking about each movie, finding parallels in a few of his films to, of all things, Alice in Wonderland...I'm all for studies about different directors, and Tobe Hooper...is an inspired choice. That it [the book] is so appreciative and smart is a bonus."-CLASSIC IMAGES, January 2003, page 38.
"...John Kenneth Muir [whose mammoth tome HORROR FILMS OF THE 1970s received some well-deserved kudos in our last issue) asserts that plenty of trademarks are present in Hooper's films, even if spotting them requires more than a cursory glance. Muir's talent for identifying patterns among the minutiae (visual, thematic or otherwise) serves him well in this exhaustive critique....Muir also documents Hooper's penchant for subtle satire and his long-standing affinity for storylines featuring multiple antogonists working in tandem....Accordingly, Muir paints us a picture of an important horror icon..."-John W. Bowen, RUE MORGUE: NINTH CIRCLE BOOKS, January/February 2003, page 57.
"...the opening career overview and the following critiques contain much of interest, resulting in a never less than readable if not entirely convincing attempt to re-position Hooper as an overlooked master of the macabre. Rating: FOUR STARS * * * *" - FILM REVIEW, SUMMER 2003
"The book kicks off with a well-written and curt introduction...The 'commentary' sections are what Muir is all about...he really scrapes beneath the surface of the film and looks for the subtext; every nuance is analysed. It makes for fantastic reading for the film enthusiast...My two favourite allegories though are his comparison of TCM to Alice in Wonderland and Poltergeist as an attack on president Ronald Reagan's lassez-faire domestic policies. Engrossing stuff...If you are a fan of Hooper, a film analyst or want to re-examine his work then this book is essential. It drips with a care and attention that would put some authors of similar material to shame. Muir's passion for the genre and his appreciation for Hooper, are infectious. 4 (out of 5) Chainsaws." WITHIN THE WOODS, September, 2004.
"John Muir...is a widely published critic and a historiographer of science fiction and horror films and television shows. His study of Tobe Hooper follows volumes on fellow directors John Carpenter and Wes Craven...In Eaten Alive, Muir provides extensive information on each of Hooper's films and television episodes...and a commentary examining its artistry, humor, and political and cultural contexts..." -RICHMOND ALUMNI MAGAZINE, Spring 2003.
"Eaten Alive at a Chainsaw Massacre is a zany and entertaining examination of a director often overlooked in his field...Muir deftly places Hooper among the inarguable masters of the horror film such as John Carpenter, Wes Craven and George Romero. Recommended for all large film collections and also to be added to libraries with Muir's previous books on directors John Carpenter...and Wes Craven."- Mimi Davis, THE SHY LIBRARIAN, Summer 2003, page 39.
"His reporting on the first two CHAINSAW films makes for compelling reading on behind-the-scenes terrors; he also delves deeply into the Hooper-or-Spielberg controversy surrounding POLTERGEIST....Horror fans will want to read this, regardless of their stance on the director." - HITCH MAGAZINE # 33, Spring 2003.
"With an informal and accessible tone...Eaten Alive at a Chainsaw Massacre: The Films of of Tobe Hooper examines the cinematic offerings of director Hooper with both a biographical section and a 'films of' section. All the important films - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist, Salem's Lot - are well-covered, as are the oft-told production stories...Muir offers some good insights into Hooper's films...a valuable reference...Eaten Alive...also contains information on Hooper's telefilms and episodic television work, and appendices." - Mike Malloy, CULT MOVIES, September 2003, Issue 39, page 80.
"This 30-year career overview and in-depth critical study of the director's film and TV work champions Hooper's neglected genius...[a] worthwhile retro[spective]...score: Boss [8 out of 10]." - DRAGON's BREATH, Issue # 71.
"This was the best gift my wife bought me this Christmas...This is the second book I have by this author. The first, a reference book called HORROR FILMS OF THE 1970s, also published in 2002, was a keeper because for every film Muir wrote about, he included his commentary. He wrote some good reviews. Same here. And he doesn't approach his subjects with blind praise...what will keep you reading are his insights. You may not agree with them all, but they're informative and may make you watch some of this director's work again." - Stephen Pytak, THE MERCENARY JOURNAL, VOL. VI, WINTER 2004.
ON HORROR FILMS OF THE 1970s:
"A top notch overview of American horror movies of the 1970s...Muir opens with an entertaining and informative BRIEF HISTORY...Muir's commentaries are well worth reading...an impressive resource for all film collections...highly recommended."-LIBRARY JOURNAL.
"Muir is an irrespressible commentator, his comments are sharp and often very wry, and they make this volume very fun - yes, even for non-horror buffs....it's an entertaining analysis. I don't know how many of you go for these films, but if you are interested, this is an excellent study. Muir's sense of humor even makes some of the undesirable ones sound bearable."- CLASSIC IMAGES, page 29.
"Brilliant and essential guide for the genre enthusiast and casual fan alike, film scholar John Kenneth Muir's comprehensive undertaking is likely to remain the last word on the subject for years to come...it is erudite, incisive and most importantly unassuming...Muir hits all the bases in a beautifully succinct and informative introduction then proceeds to analyze and profile more than two hundred films...seminal..." -Dom Salemi, BRUTARIAN, Spring 2003, Issue # 38.
"Now for the first time ever in one amazing volume, John Kenneth Muir brings us HORROR FILMS OF THE 1970s, a detailed text...Muir's writing is concise, witty and intuitive....Muir gets it right. He sees humor in films where humor was intended. He sees humor in films where it was not intended. He understands, gets the joke and nicely parlays his wisdom to the written page...make room for this book on your shelf. It's an indispensable reference to a decade of truly eclectic extremes." - BOOK REVIEWS BY AL BACA, Page 49.
"...Muir...ventures well beyond the basics where it counts. His academic introduction is actually a pretty good read on its own and uses the art-imitates-life argument as a critical tool to determine how the disco decade spawned a plethora of new horror trends...Perhaps the coolest feature is Muir's extensive and humorous appendix section, in which he offers his Hall of Fame, best movies, recommended viewing and a list of horror film conventions...Good fun for casual fans and hardened intellectuals alike." - Tom Dragomir, RUE MORGUE: THE NINTH CIRCLE (BOOKS), page 67.
"The legendary Cushing stars in many of the films discussed, yet there is more than a retread of his filmography. More mainstream hits (Carrie, The Omen) are here but the book also highlights such lesser known gems as Count Yorga and Sisters, as well as drive-in trash like Squirm and Grizzly. Everything for the devotee is here as each film is given a synopsis, credits and a look at the production. Another bonus is Muir's pithy critiques...An impressive, dedicated and amusing book. RATING: (FOUR STARS) * * * * " - FILM REVIEW, May 2003.
"Your reaction to learning of this book's existence may be similar to mine: near pants-wetting....[the book] surely will be referenced by horror fans for years (and decades) to come."- HITCH MAGAZINE # 33, Spring 2003.
"Veteran scribe Muir (The Films of John Carpenter, Terror Television) takes on the Herculean task of reviewing, and offering abdundant supplementary information on, hundreds of '70s horrors." -VIDEOSCOPE
"The title of this book says it all and fans of the genre have reason to rejoice. Muir, an authority on horror and science fiction cinema, has finally turned his attention to the decade when the modern horror film genre came into its own...The film descriptions communicate well to the reader, even when the film itself is unfamiliar. Each synopsis gives an overview that makes clear the subject and scope of the film; and his commentary is serious, thought-provoking, and helpful in understanding the meaning and importance of the film...I am aware of no similar reference that covers the same territory as Muir does in this work. It merits consideration on that basis alone, but academic libraries and larger public libraries will no doubt find it to be a useful - and much-used addition to their reference collections." - KEVIN BARRON, Reference and Service Users Quarterly, Volume 42, Number 3, Spring 2003, page 267,
"The commentary, which can go on for several pages, puts each film in context and discusses style and filmmaking technique. It also explores how topics such as racism, religion and women's rights are represented in films like BLACULA, THE EXORCIST, and THE STEPFORD WIVES, respectively...HORROR FILMS OF THE 1970s is an important reference tool for film collections in academic and public libraries and a must for fans....an Editor's Choice, 2002..."-BOOKLIST
"...look into John Kenneth Muir's excellent Horror Films of the 1970s..." - VIRTUAL 2004.com
"In his entertaining and scholarly filmography of over 200 films arranged by year, Muir sees the historical and social happenings of the 1970s as giving rise to the unusually high number of groundbreaking horror films of the decade, as well as the routine ones." - AMERICAN LIBRARIES: Best of the Best Reference Sources, The 2003 Reference and Users Service Association of distinguished reference works selected by public and academic librarians, by Vicki D. Bloom, May 2003
"Muir's love of the genre shows through as well as some insight that only someone steeped in the cinema would observe...Muir's linking of 1970s subject matter to later films offers more proof of his knowledge of the field." - Scott Nicholson, REALLY SCARY, www.reallyscary.com
"An important book for 70s horror movie fans by John Kenneth Muir." - 70s HORROR FILMS.COM.
"A seminal tome to the horror films of the '70s, this offers up reviews of rare gems, honored classics and offbeat oddities. A must. - THE TERROR TRAP: Books and Scares.
ON TERROR TELEVISION:
Read the Destinies: The Voice of Science Fiction Interview w/John on Terror TV here
"....the book he [Muir] was born to write....His analyses are first-rate and based on a wide knowledge of the subject...TERROR TELEVISION is superlative television history." -BIG REEL, June 2001
"Muir is well-known in the horror/sci-fi reference field, with previous well-received guides to Wes Craven, John Carpenter and the TV series SPACE:1999...an essential purchase." -Anthony Adam, REFERENCE AND USER SERVICES QUARTERLY, Winter 2001.
"Fans and researchers will appreciate the detailed episode-by-episode documentation and even nonfans will be engaged by Muir's informed and opinionated analyses." - Editor's Choice 2001- BOOKLIST, 2001.
"TERROR TELEVISION is a massive 685 page reference guide that documents the history of modern television horror from 1970 to 1999....Muir provides a good format for discussing each series...Not shy to share his views...Muir has obviously done his homework in researching the shows listed in this book...[it] gives an excellent analysis of shows produced during the period of 1970 - 1999...an indispensible volume of useful reference information..."-CHILLER THEATER # 17, page 57
"...highly readable, extremely literate...the real strength of the book lies in his unflinching opinions. When a show is lousy, he wastes no words showing where it went wrong; when a show succeeds, he skillfully defines the elements that made it rise above the drivel. All film libraries will want a copy of this book..."-Joseph L. Carlson, ARBA, 2002.
"...an amazingly massive volume...which examines the entire history of horror series from Rod Serling's Night Gallery to Kolchak: The Night Stalker right up to Buffy the Vampire Slayer..."- PATIENT CREATURES LTD, July 2003 Review Archive.
"...another hefty reference work..."-Stephen Jones, Editor, THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR, December 202, page 57.
ON THE FILMS OF JOHN CARPENTER:
"...wonderfully comprehensive...a veritable primer on the cinema of Carpenter...elegantly written, incredibly insightful, and simply a real blast to read...thanks to John Kenneth Muir, the foundation for all future studies of Carpenter's films has been laid."-Mike Bracken, CULTUREDOSE.COM, 08/09/02
"John Kenneth Muir is a fine writer and a first-rate historian who knows his subject well."-GADFLY ONLINE
"John Muir's THE FILMS OF JOHN CARPENTER will have you heading for the Horror and Sci FI Section at your local video store." -CULT MOVIES
"If you're a fan of Carpenter...get this most enjoyable book."-HITCH MAGAZINE
"...a textbook that you'll probably find at the USC film school next semester. It's also an entertaining and informative fan guide to some pretty cool flicks."-FANDOM.COM
"Muir's affectionate, conversational style - with a few wordy stabs into professorial prose - makes THE FILMS OF JOHN CARPENTER likable and readable." -MARK BURGER, U.S. JOURNAL BOOK PAGE
"An ample study...pure Muir." -Anthony Ambrogio, VIDEO WATCHDOG.
"Unlike many 'Films of' books, which only provide brief analysis, Muir takes a very detailed approach to all of John Carpenter's output...[it] will delight Carpenter fans seeking hidden meanings in his multi-layered works."-THE BURLINGTON COUNTY TIMES
"Muir does a fine job covering Carpenter's career and examining his films...I came away from this book with an even greater admiration for the gleefully politically-incorrect and anarchistic auteur director."-KEVIN ROSS, CINESCAPE ONLINE
"This work is informative and entertaining for both film scholars and enthusiasts."-Cari Ringelheim, ARBA 2001.
"Muir's text covers it all...a welcome addition to the author's growing list of film and television analyses."-J.Robert Craig, JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY, 03/02.
"With the unalloyed affection of an avid movie enthusiast, Muir extols the auteur career of John Carpenter...Sketching Carpenter as a Hollywood maverick, a dark star....Muir details the 16 films directed by this entertaining artist...Recommended for all aficionados and students of Carpenter and his adventurous and scary films." - CHOICE, October 2000.
"Following a nearly fifty-page historical overview of Carpenter's film career, Muir provides a synopsis for each movie followed by a commentary that is...cogent and insightful...Particularly interesting is his argument that Halloween despite contrary claims, used predominantly non-subjective camera techniques to position Michael Myers as a character who is frightening because his motive and movements evade rationality."-Jay McRoy, SFRA REVIEW, Sept-Dec, 2001.
"...provides a thorough coverage and examination of the filmmaker's body of work, with ample space devoted to each of his projects..THE FILMS OF JOHN CARPENTER ....makes an enjoyable read."-John Harrrison, CRIMSON CELLULOID
"I enjoyed Muir's Wes Craven, so I was intrigued to see how he would handle Carpenter, a great favorite...The book starts with a great overview and history of Carpenter and his films filled with stories and comments...The coverage of the films...emphasize[s] the reasoning behind the films. Obviously more esoteric but still a very interesting read."-LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, page 13.
|"...a superb job..."|
|"...Muir's giddy enthusiasm for Raimi shines through...the tone is perfect..."|
|...a compelling - and... inspirational - portrait of Smith...Smith's legion of fans...will enjoy this effort.|
|...another killer-kryptonite jewel...This is genre guru Muir's 11th book for McFarland, and he knows the landscape like Aquaman knows Atlantis...|
|Tobe Hooper...is an inspired choice. That [the book] is so appreciative and smart is a bonus.|
|top notch...highly recommended...|
|....superlative television history...|
|...will have you heading for the horror and Sci Fi Section at your local video store...|
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