October 29

Before I begin my book review, I would just like to apologise for the big gap between this post and my last. I was recently asked if I would consider doing a book review so I have been spending most of my days reading! However, it’s definitely an experience I’d consider doing again.

The book I am talking about is called “Teenage Wasteland: The Slasher Movie Uncut”, published by New Holland Publishers and written by the author J.A.Kerswell who is also the founder of the slasher movie website “Hysteria-Lives!”. Seeing as I have a love for all things “bloody”, I don’t think I could have received a book more interesting on the subject of murder and mayhem nor better written and researched than this. For just ¬£15.99 (but I have a discount code for you) and with 208 pages of detail on the best, and of course worst masked, deformed or inbred psycho killers and slasher movies across the decades, it’s not something to be missed by film students or just plain slasher fans alike. Not to mention that for such a big book, the fact it is paperback makes it a lot easier on the knees when trying to read on your lap on the sofa!

Onto other things, the content itself surpasses that of any other horror-type book I have read. Right from the start Kerswell explains the origins of his love for slasher movies going back to the first ever slasher movie he saw. Not to mention the fact that he includes such a brief but yet somehow in-depth and clear description of what really defines a slasher. Going on from there, he also seems to have watched such a vast amount of slasher movies that, if I had sat through them all, would probably have turned me homicidal! Even some of the most obscure, less-known films Kerswell seems to know about. He even includes a small definition of the slasher at the start of the book taken from none other than a slasher movie itself! Well, it makes sense really when you think about it!

The book is incredibly well-researched which is unsurprising given Kerswell’s passion for the slasher. In each film he brings to the table Kerswell informs us of its influence on future slashers, its popularity and box office takings, how cultural factors of the decades affected certain films and how each film conforms, twists, or completely goes against the norms and themes of the slasher and to what affect this had and still has on the audiences of before and today.

Kerswell takes us on a journey from the “Grand Guignol” theatres of the early 1900′s in Paris, France, to the slashers of Britain in the 70′s, the Italian “giallo” and the “Golden Age” of the slasher from 1978-84. He even highlights movies that had perhaps foreshadowed the key themes of future classics, such as “Halloween” to show that even the smallest slasher can inspire the greats that we know today. His section on the recent resurrection of the slasher movie, such as with “Scream” (1996) shows us that the slasher is a subgenre that is adept at reinventing itself to new audiences. Kerswell is also surprisingly and charmingly unbiased to his favourite subgenre, including his section on the demise of the slasher, not to forget his opinion on what he considers some of the worst films in slasher movie history!

Aside from that, the book itself is a vibrant mix of colour and poster artwork from across the decades. Each chapter is a different colour, (and no surprise the colour “red” makes an appearance”) and the artwork dates back to the very beginnings in the “Grand Guignol” theatre to posters from the slashers of last year, so you really feel like you are passing through each decade mentioned in the book. This really brings a great opportunity for the young like me to see the original artworks from some of the most famous slashers of all time when we weren’t around yet to see them the first time!

Finally, I just want to make a note on the writing style of the book. When I first started reading it, I wasn’t sure what to expect and I thought it was either going to be a bit cheesy or too serious and dull, but “Teenage Wasteland” is neither of those things. His writing is casual and relaxed and even at times slightly jokey but he never loses his focus. He goes into just enough detail without getting boring and uses so many films as examples that there is something new to read about on every page. His passion for the slasher is clear as he makes some of the cheesiest films look a little irresistable! And, even though the subject matter is on total gore and violence, his writing even comes off as having a certain finesse with a little bit of humour mixed in.

To finish, I genuinely think that this is not a book to be missed by ANY horror/slasher film fan. The content is in-depth and well-researched, the artwork is worth seeing, there are enough films included to make you wonder how we’re not all homicidal and above all, with all the information given spanning basically an entire century presented in the most casual and humourous way, I actually found I learnt something! And with so much food for thought included, you certainly finish full! Just thirsty……. for blood…… with the serious need to watch a slasher!

If anyone is interested in buying this incredible, gore-filled, murderous, book that even includes a “Top 10 Body Count”, (freaking amazing, right!”) you can get 20% off and free shipping just by purchasing the book via the New Holland Publishers website and entering the discount code “FRECK” at the checkout!

Happy Slashing!