Saturday, 6 August 2011

Books: A Field Guide to Monsters by Dave Elliott

A Field Guide to Monsters by Dave Elliott

'A Field Guide to Monsters', by Dave Elliott, C.J. Henderson, R. Allen Leider and...Abraham Van Helsing...was given to be by our very own sadOasis a few years ago and since then it has become one of my favourite "monster compilation" books. Its approach to writing about our beloved creeps and ghouls is to use factual data about various fictional characters, which is wonderful, as it really does come across as a "field guide".

138 monsters are included in the guide and, whilst there aren't many post-2000 creatures (so no Sadako, Kayako, Jigsaw, Human Centipede, House of 1000 Corpses etc.), the amount of information given on each page is stunning. Each monster has a page, except for those that have been in a ridiculous number of remakes and sequels, such as Dracula, Godzilla and Frankenstein's Monster, who get two. Within that single page however, the biography, height, weight, weaknesses, powers, behaviour, lethality, family, habitat, history, intelligence, size comparisons and photograph of  the featured creatures are all included.

The monsters each fit within one of seven categories, some of which are a little jumbled and similar, but generally you can find the ghoul you're looking for in the place you would expect it to be.

The categories:
  • Mutated Lizards, Fish and Dinosaurs (The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Anaconda etc.)
  • Mutated Men, Women, Animals and Insects (The Fly, The Invisible Man, Gorgons etc.)
  • Mutated Vegetables (Killer Tomatoes, Pods, Swamp Thing etc.)
  • Monster Men (Leatherface, Jack Torrance, Doctor Caligari etc.)
  • Manufactured Monsters (Frankenstein's Monster, Colossus, Hal 9000 etc.)
  • Supernatural Monsters (Zombies, Count Dracula, Countess Maria Zaleska etc.)
  • Monsters from the Beyond (Candyman, Creeper, Pinhead, Chucky etc.)

The whole book is very thorough, but tongue in cheek, making it both entertaining and informative at the same time. It would be a great introduction to the world of monsters for a budding fan of all things spooky, or an equally enjoyable read for those already familiar with the creatures of horror, science fiction and dark fantasy.


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