An informal overview of where the horror genre has been over the last thirty years"—by its most financially successful practitioner. And when King says "informal," he really means it. Mixing autobiography with literary/film criticism with sheer horror-freak gush, he rambles through dozens of titles, subgenres, and theories of horror-esthetics—in a sloppy, repetitive, sometimes funny, rarely original ghoulash. . . which often descends to the level of a jivey, junior-high-school bull session. "Is horror art?" King says it is—when it hits those "phobic pressure points" as well as working on the "gross-out" level. And he traces most of the formulas back to the big three: Frankenstein, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. (In a typically woozy lapse, King says Frankenstein "is the best written of the three," and a few pages later says that Jekyll and Hyde is "undoubtedly the best written.") Then come childhood memories of Creature from the Black Lagoon and of radio chills—followed by: roundups of horror movies with "political-social-cultural" terrors; top honors to "mythic" horror movies (e.g. Dawn of the Dead); favorite good moments from rotten horror movies; and a brief overview of horror on TV, with highest marks to Outer Limits but most fulsome attention to Twilight Zone and Rod Serling ("television ate him up"). Finally, then, King turns to horror fiction itself with long discussions of ten representative books (classics by Shirley Jackson and Ray Bradbury, as well as Anne Rivers Siddons' The House Next Door—included, perhaps, for its clear connections to the King oeuvre). Throughout, there are the familiar horror-analysis themes—psychological, social, sexual ("the sex in Dracula can be seen as the ultimate zipless fuck")—dispensed in pop style; plus defenses of the genre as essentially moral and conservative. And the resulting mishmash of rap and trivia should be an orgy of fun for horror/fantasy buffs—if not for the full measure of the King-fiction readership.

Pub Date: April 20, 1981

ISBN: 0896961001

Page Count: -

Publisher: Everest

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1981

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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