Frightful Friday: Monsters in the Movies by John Landis

November 11, 2011 DK Publishing, Frightful Friday, Horror, Non-Fiction, Review 1

Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week. Feel free to grab the button & join in!

This week’s featured book is Monsters in the Movies: 100 Years of Cinematic Nightmares by John Landis.

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: DK ADULT (September 19, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 075668370X
  • Source: Publisher

In  Monsters in the Movies, legendary filmmaker features some of the most famous (or infamous) monsters that have made an appearance on the silver screen.   

Starting with vampires (of course!) Landis starts his showcase of vampires with the first cinematic version of Dracula, a German silent film, Nosferatu in 1922.  One can’t mention great vampire films without mentioning the amazing Bela Lugosi.  Many may be unaware that Lugosi was actually offered the role of the Monster in Frankenstein.  However, Lugosi declined, feeling the non-speaking role was beneath an actor of his caliber.  This wasn’t necessarily the best decision for Lugosi was forever typecasted as the Count.

Dozens of other vampire films are portrayed from the older classics through some more recent classics, including The Lost Boys, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Interview with the Vampire, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Moving on to werewolves in film, the process for transformation into these shape-shifting beasts varies from a painful and violent one (An American Werewolf in London) to an almost pleasurable on in The Howling. 

Landis continues to feature dozens of other monsters that have appeared in films, including mad scientists, zombies, ghosts, atomic mutations and many, many more. In each segment, Landis interviews/features a famous filmmaker that has put to film one of the monsters showcased.

Published by DK Publishing, I knew I was in for a treat with this one. Monsters in the Movies is not just a book, but really a work of art.


It’s not a book that you read from beginning to end, but one that you pick up and read when you are reminiscing about your favorite horror movie monsters. Flipping through it, I was taken back in time, to the classic horror movies I remember watching as a kid, to the movies I watched, hidden beneath a pillow, as a teen. Monsters in the Movies would make the perfect gift for any fan of horror, in fiction or on the screen. Highly recommended.

One Response to “Frightful Friday: Monsters in the Movies by John Landis”

  1. Karen
    Twitter: attackthestacks

    Thank you for recommending this, I’m a huge horror fan and I somehow missed the fact that this even existed! The fact that it mentions The Lost Boys and Buffy totally seals the deal for me, I just requested it from the library.