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Necronomicon:
The Journal of Horror and Erotic Cinema, Book 4
edited by Andy Black
Noir paperback £12.95

review by Jeff Young

Since the demise of Shock Xpress, there's not been much in the way of non-corporately published yet intelligent fan writing about genre and exploitation films available in the UK (unless you count the irregular products of Creation Press. Necronomicon has changed all that. This welcome fourth volume in Andy Black's series of quality journals features a good variety of fascinating articles and perceptive reviews, illustrated with b/w film stills and lobby cards.
   'Snakes Alive!' is the somewhat cheesy title for Black's survey of monster horrors that examines the relative cold-blooded appeal of Anaconda and The Reptile, amongst other films of that type. Adrian Horrocks' reconsideration of Argento's magical Suspiria is one of the best pieces so far about this Italian classic, dissecting the film's visual motifs with care and precision. Steven Jay Schneider goes further down the critics' intelligentsia avenue, to regard aestheticism and violence in modern horror, while guiding us towards appropriately thematic links between Peeping Tom and Psycho, Clockwork Orange and Halloween, the 'Hannibal' movies and Seven.
   Away from pure horror, Paul Johnson offers new perspectives on Cronenberg's science fictional Videodrome, Scanners and eXistenZ, and includes the metaphorical cyber-men of Crash. From there, we revisit Jesus Franco's Venus In Furs, zooming in for close-ups of the fetishised anti-heroine. Any peek at eroticism must include Borowczyk, and Daniel Bird's article on the director's Blood Of Dr Jekyll reminds us how easily such works of arty pornography get overlooked. Soon, it's back to the shockers again, with Xavier Mendik's feature on the surreal zombie splatter of Demons.
   Burton's Sleepy Hollow, Antonioni's Blow Up, Russell's The Devils, Bava's Danger Diabolik, the cinema of Kenneth Anger, and Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Next Generation (incredibly, the belated fourth film in that once censor-maligned series) are also granted in-depth coverage by this gathering of talented writers. Notable for its acute bias in favour of the material under review, this remarkable annual magazine eschews the humourless conceit of many largely academic media studies, and is recommended reading for all aficionados of such cult movies.
Necronomicon 4 edited by Andy Black
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