Reviewed by Elaine Lamkin
Written by Axelle Carolyn
Published by Telos Publishing
In the past few months, two books have been published which discuss current 21st Century horror trends: It Lives Again! and The New Horror Handbook (review here). Some might think that is a tad premature, given we haven’t even reached the decade milestone, but so many things have happened in the horror genre since the turn of the century, these two books should be added to every horror fan’s library.
It Lives Again! by former horror journalist turned actor and author Axelle Carolyn is the stronger of the two books. Opening with an insightful foreword from Neil Marshall as well as an introduction by Mick Garris, the book begins with a review of horror films from the 1990s. Carolyn then breaks down 21st Century horror year by year. Besides just discussing the films from each year, Carolyn, who has a background in political science and law before her passion for horror drew her away from those studies, also puts the films in perspective with what is happening in world events. She discusses the phenomena of Asian horror, torture porn, PG-13/15 cert films, French horror, remakes, CGI, every trend that has emerged, for good or ill, in the past nine years. She also uses excerpts from the MANY interviews she has done over the years as a journalist to add to the information about horror and the love it instills in the people who create and live it. Her passion for her subject rings clear throughout the book.
It Lives Again!, in addition to being a fascinating read by an author who KNOWS most of the people she is writing about and has seen FAR more films than many of us ever will, is also a sumptuous book. The end pages are a montage of DVD art, and the book itself includes tons of stills and/or poster art from the films discussed. A beautiful coffee table book, both informative as well as creepy, this one is a MUST-OWN.
What I was most impressed by was just how much of Carolyn’s love for the subject came through in her writing. She isn’t some stuffy academic writing to maintain her tenure. She REALLY loves and respects a genre many non-fans treat like pornography (you know the type – sneak into the theater in “disguise” or waiting for the DVD and STILL managing to hate whatever they watched; I say if you think you can do better, knock yourself out). Even if you’re not a hardcore fan like Carolyn (or myself), just being a fan of horror should make you curious to read this amazing book and perhaps learn a LOT more about the genre than you thought you already knew. And we can only hope that Axelle Carolyn will take some time out of her incredibly busy schedule, some time in 2019 perhaps, to write a continuation of horror in the 21st Century. Maybe title the book “It’s Still Alive and Not Going Anywhere!”
4 out of 5
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