Title: The Art of Horror
Edited By: Stephen Jones
Published by: Applause Books
The Art of Horror is an amazing tome that looks at the history of horror art from many unique perspectives. Featuring a foreword by Neil Gaiman, the book is edited by renowned horror editor, Stephen Jones. Jones has assembled a star-studded lineup of horror writers and historians to produce the book’s various chapters. These include David. J. Skal, Gregory William Mank, Kim Newman, Lisa Morton, Bob Eggleton, Robert Weinberg, and H.P. Lovecraft expert S.T. Joshi.
Skal kicks things off with his look at the art of vampires and Dracula in particular, in pop culture. These include a look at some of the early book covers and interior illustrations from the Bram Stoker classic. But the chapter isn’t limited to the King of Vampires. Skal includes a look and discussion of the various versions of Richard Matheson’s “I am legend” including poster art of the 1960s Vincent Price version and the 1970s take “The Omega Man” starring Charlton Heston. Included are many rare covers and posters of foreign versions of vampire films like “The House that Dripped Blood.”
Jamie Russell covers one of the most popular modern horror genres, zombies! While perhaps considered a more modern monster, zombies date back to the earliest days of film with entries like White Zombie, The Mad Ghoul, and I Walked with a Zombie. Russell also features some outstanding examples of art from lurid pulps of the 1930s and 1940s right up through the comic book art of Bernie Wrightson and The Walking Dead’s Charlie Aldard.
Frankenstein expert Gregory William Mank covers man-made monsters like Mary Shelley’s gothic creation featuring art from many different versions of the book as well as dozens of poster art from the Universal Studio’s films. Halloween historian Lisa Morton examines the art of every horror fan’s favorite holiday from early 20th century postcards to art inspired by Day of the Dead celebrations, and to films like “Halloween.”
As you might expect, S.T. Joshi’s chapter focuses on H.P. Lovecraft and the cyclopean horrors he created throughout his career. Naturally there are covers from pulp magazines like Weird Tales and Arkham House editions of his books as well as more recent art from things like Fantasy Flight games, and poster from films based on Lovecraft’s work such as “The Haunted Palace”, “Re-Animator”, and “The Dunwich Horror.”
Other chapters cover Werewolves, mad scientists, giant monsters, and aliens. In addition to the incredible group of writers, the book features art by scores of talented artists including: Margaret Brundage, Virgil Finlay, Frank Kelly Freas, Basil Gogos, Michael Whalen, Brom, Stephen Fabian, H.R. Giger, Alan Lee, Dave McKean, Clive Barker, Mike Mignola, Frank R. Paul, and Bernie Wrightson.
The Art of Horror has appeal to fans of horror films, comics, literature, and pulp magazines. Jones did a superb job of bringing together some of the foremost authorities on horror and matching them to their particular specialties. This is a book that any horror connoisseur will want to add to their personal library.