Marcus K. Harmes and Martyn Conterio (Footprint Books) 2015, 100pp/99pp Devil's Advocate - Black Sunday - Martyn Conterio - The Clothesline

Two of the most recent entries in the ‘Devil’s Advocates’ horror-movie-loving book series offer two very distinct styles: Aussie academic Harmes’ analysis of Curse is serious and scholarly, while English writer Conterio’s study of Sunday is fun and fannish, with amusing use of that invaluable critical term ‘naff’.

There is one thing that unites the two tomes, however, as Curse director Terence Fisher and Sunday director Mario Bava have an awful lot in common. Both died in 1980; both turned out all sorts of movies before and after hitting it big in horror; both achieved sometimes startling effects with very little money; both helped launch the careers of horror icons (Curse offered Hammer stars Peter Cushing and the recently-late Christopher Lee while the Italian Devil's Advocate - The Curse Of Frankenstein - Marcus K. Harmes - The Clothesline Sunday toplined the very striking Barbara Steele, whose hauntingly witchy visage graces this book’s cover); and both are taken extremely seriously since their deaths, with all manner of psychological, cultural and historical themes forcibly read into even the cheesiest of their films.

And the Devil’s Advocates series goes from strength to strength, with a selection of choice titles already in print (including entries upon Saw, The Blair Witch Project, Let The Right One In, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and others) and more on the way, such as Amy Simmons’ attempt to make sense of Lars von Trier’s hysterically controversial Antichrist. And, well, OUCH!!!

Dave Bradley

These titles are available through Footprint Books.

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