Simon Mayo + Mark Kermode (A&U Canongate) 2015, 335pp, RRP $45.00

Mayo and Kermode (of the UK’s Kermode And Mayo’s Film Review radio show and podcast) here adopt the notion that they’re ‘Movie Doctors’, and therefore diagnose and prescribe what you need cinematically for various problems, or perhaps what an unwell movie might need to cure itself.The Movie Doctors - Mayo  Kermode - AU Canongoate - The Clothesline

It’s a basic idea that provides a lot of jokey lists and transcriptions of amusing Mayo and Kermode banter, as highlights include: a rundown of reasons not to have children in the ‘Fertility Clinic’ section, complete with a gathering of monstrous movie kids (Sadako in the original Ringu or Samara in the American Rings, the Grady Twins in The Shining, Damien Thorn in The Omen, and Regan MacNeil in The Exorcist, poor lass); ‘Ophthalmology’, which allows for a piece on great movie shades (The Matrix, The Blues Brothers, Breakfast At Tiffany’s and so forth); the ‘Isolation Clinic’, where horror fan Kermode runs wild with contagious pics (Outbreak, I Drink Your Blood, 28 Days Later…) and a graph of damage done to the human body in Boxing Helena, Misery and even Caligula (ouch!!!); and the ‘Morgue’, with a fine selection of legendary movie deaths, from John Hurt’s Kane’s chestburster in Alien to the riddling of Bonnie And Clyde with bullets to the offscreen shooting of Bambi’s mother, which traumatised generations of hapless children.

Lots of filmic fun, this isn’t quite on par with Kermode’s more serious solo efforts (like The Good, The Bad And The Multiplex), but it’s not intended to be more than a bumper book of movie-mad hi-jinx, and in the end all that’s really missing is a Medicare rebate.

Dave Bradley

This title is available through the Allen & Unwin website. Click HERE to purchase your copy.

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