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Giants Of The Genre
Michael McCarty
Wildside paperback $15.95

Double Feature Creature Attack
Tom Weaver
Eurospan / McFarland Classics paperback £23.50 / $30

reviews by Steven Hampton

Books that collect interviews are not easy to appraise for review. Offering texts that are substantially less than authorised biographies and lacking the sharply critical angles of celebrity profiles, the bundling together of loosely associated Q&A sessions are best regarded more as useful reference material than anything else, especially when the main subjects are genre creators or cult movie figures.
   McCarty's Giants Of The Genre is a slim volume of regular format interviews (by email, phone, or in person), with many of the biggest names in SF, fantasy and horror, and the line-up is suitably impressive with the legendary Ray Bradbury, Peter Straub, Frederik Pohl, Dean Koontz and Dan Simmons leading the charge, while Connie Willis, William F. Nolan, Alan Dean Foster, Poppy Z. Brite, and Graham Masterton bring heavyweight support acts to the show. There's also the underrated Charlee Jacob (why on earth isn't she more famous?), filmmaker Dan Curtis, super-fan Forest J. Ackerman, and even the 'Amazing' Kreskin. As a cross-genre sampling or a cross-section from bestseller authors to the often uncelebrated mid-list writers (Charles de Lint, among them) and popular new literary-division icons (represented here by Neil Gaiman), this book delivers the goods, and at a very reasonable price for a small press title.
   Perhaps surprisingly, some of the best interviews are with lesser-known horror writers such as Douglas Clegg, Bentley Little, and P.D. Cacek, but whether they're household or obscure names, all of these creative people have plenty of fascinating and entertaining things to say about their work and the genre they work in, and each interview features a helpful chronological list (sometime selective rather than complete) of the interviewee's books.
    Double Feature Creature Attack showcases 43 interviews with genre filmmakers and films stars, and is illustrated with over 200 b/w photos. This single volume is a monster merger of previous Weaver editions Attack Of The Monster Movie Makers (1994) and They Fought In The Creature Features (1995). Film historian Weaver deserves some kind of special award for tracking down so many retired actors and cultworthy genre pioneers. Several of the pieces here, such as the lengthy chat with Herman Cohen, are ambitious, in-depth interviews that may span the subject's career. The extraordinarily eclectic range of movie folk covered here includes Robert Day, Hammer director Val Guest, Candace Hilligoss (from the original Carnival Of Souls), Cameron Mitchell, the great Vincent Price, Ann Robinson (War Of The Worlds starlet), and Kenneth Tobey.
   The second part of the book focuses on classic movie and serial stars but is nonetheless engrossing for that. Providing illuminating and fun reminiscences are: Julie Adams, John Agar, Richard Anderson, Lloyd Bridges, Ricou Browning (the swimmer behind the 'Gill-Man' mask in Creature From The Black Lagoon), Anne Francis, June Lockhart, Eugene Lourie, Jeff Morrow, Rex Reason, Don Taylor, George Wallace, and Jane Wyatt.
Giants of the Genre

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