Sensory Deprivation

Toledo, Ohio, USA, 1974 Image © Bernd and Hilla Becher

Gas Tanks

Bernd and Hilla Becher

“The famous Düsseldorf photographers’ formal investigation of industrial structures displays their serenely cool, rigorous approach to the structures they photograph as variations on an ideal form. The Bechers make no attempt to analyze or explain their subjects. For more than 35 years, the Bechers have been creating a monument to the most venerable buildings of the industrial era through their photographic art. They have re-awoken the forgotten or unnoticed beauty of water towers, gas holders, lime kilns and blast furnaces, and their photographs have told the story of the process of industrialization. Their head-on, deadpan photographs express an almost Egyptial sense of man’s heroic effort to put his mark on the landscape. Gas Tanks presents four principally different forms of gas holders or gas tanks taken over three decades.”

Publisher: MIT
Hardback: 144 pages


Guilty Pleasures of the Horror Film

Edited by Gary J. Sveha and Susan Sveha

Thirteen shameless defenders wallow in the cheese of 14 shameless films, including The Tingler, Dune and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. Film history, director interviews and volumes of insider film facts help weave these amusing tales of cinema’s classic clinkers. Maniac, in which a madman eats out the eye of a cat, is defended as “a satisfying reprieve from the carefully paced, well behaved, overscripted mainstream pictures that dominate the history of the cinema.” Voodoo Man “succeeds in creating a fun world that weds the ridiculous with a genuinely important scene in the Lugosi canon.” Dino DeLaurentiis’ King Kong is called “movie magic at its thrilling best.” On Indestructible Man, Lon Chaney’s drunken tour de force, well, “you just have to love this film.” And Rodan is proved to rank “with Godzilla and The Mysterians as one of Toho’s top three science fiction films.“ Consider the film’s moving “Eulogy for Two Dying Monsters,” dubbed in by Key Luke as the monsters are brought down by a volcano: “As Kyo turned to weep on my shoulder, I realized that the Rodans were doomed. The heat, the gases, the bombardment added to their bewilderment. Like moths in those rivers of fire, they seemed to almost welcome the agonies of death. And when, still calling to each other, one of them fell at last into the molten lava stream, the other still refused to save itself. The last of their kind, masters of the air and Earth, the strongest, swiftest creatures that ever breathed—now they sank against the Earth like weary children. Each had refused to live without the other, and so they were dying together. I wondered whether I, a 20th-century man, could ever hope to die as well.” GR

Publisher: Midnight Marquee
Paperback: 251 pages


Alexis Rockman

“In 1994, New York artist Alexis Rockman ventured to the dense jungle of Guyana, the site for this fantastic dreamscape of biological life, flora and fauna. Rockman’s world of nature is tempered by a penchant for the bizarre and the grotesque, but is always based upon careful scrutiny and intimate observation of the environs. Drawing from a host of visual sources that include science fiction films, historical landscape and genre paintings, biology illustrations, and museum dioramas, Guyana depicts the predatory and violent narrative of the ecosphere. Monumental insects—ants, mites, bees and beetles—vie on Rockman’s vibrant canvasses with anteaters, exotic birds, piranhas and iguanas.”

Publisher: Twin Palms
Hardback: 88 pages

Hammer, House of Horror: Behind the Screams

Howard Maxford

“In its heyday, Hammer Films was regarded as Britain’s leading purveyor of horror films to the world. From 1955 to 1972, it produced a legacy of frightening classics including Dracula, The Curse of Frankenstein, The Quatermass Experiment, Kiss of the Vampire, The Curse of the Werewolf and The Devil Rides Out. The Hammer stars—all remembered here—include Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis, Ingrid Pitt, Ursula Andress and Raquel Welch. A chronological, film-by-film history of Hammer Films, terrifyingly illustrated in color and black-and-white.”

Publisher: Overlook
Hardback: 192 pages

Happenings and Other Acts

Edited by Mariellen R. Sandford

A collection of seminal essays, interviews and texts by and about artists who started the performance movements of the ‘60s and ‘70s. This book includes a complete reprint of The Drama Review’s “Happenings” issue from 1965, excerpts from Allan Kaprow’s essay “Assemblages, Environments and Happenings,” selections from Carolee Schneemann’s book More Than Meat Joy and the first overview of European Happenings written in English by Gunter Berghaus. Invaluable as a complete description and analysis of the Happenings and the Fluxus movement; a great resource book for artists, teachers and anyone interested in the history of performance art. Artists include: Carolee Schneeman, John Cage, La Monte Young, Yvonne Rainier, Claes Oldenburg, Anna Halprin, Joseph Beuys, the Viennese Aktionists, Zero Group and many others. MDH

Publisher: Routledge
Paperback: 397 pages

Hardboiled in Hollywood

David Wilt

Meet five Black Mask pulp detective writers (who weren’t named Chandler, Gardner, Hammett, Halliday or L’Amour): Horace McCoy, who wrote Island of Lost Men for Paramount before he wrote They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?; Eric Taylor, who penned Universal’s The Ghost of Frankenstein; Peter Ruric, who wrote Edgar G. Ulmer’s The Black Cat; Dwight V. Babcock, who scribed Jungle Captive and The Brute Man for Universal; and John K. Butler, who churned out westerns for Republic, and a rare horror movie, The Vampire’s Ghost. Did anybody say “auteur”? GR

Publisher: Bowling Green
Paperback: 189 pages

Hitchcock and Homosexuality: His 50-Year Obsession with Jack the Ripper and the Superbitch Prostitute —A Psychoanalytic View

Theodore Price

Publisher: Scarecrow
Hardback: 434 pages

Hollywood: Mecca of the Movies

Blaise Cendrars

In 1936, the French newspaper Paris-Soir sent the popular poet and novelist Blaise Cendrars to write on Hollywood. He stayed at the then ultraluxurious Roosevelt Hotel and thrilled his countrymen with each canny report. These articles were reworked and gathered together that same year, but have only now been translated into English. In them Cendrars explores Hollywood in its golden years, presenting a fun series of journalistic encounters on the streets of Tinseltown. His attempts to interview the powerful studio heads were often thwarted by Cerberus-like studio guards, but Cendrars still managed to cover a lot of territory. And much of what he uncovered still applies today, as is made evident by his chapter titles: “In Hollywood anyone who walks around on foot is a suspect” and “If you want to make movies, come to Hollywood, but unless you pay the price, you won’t succeed!” CS

Publisher: University of California
Hardback: 256 pages

Hong Kong Action Cinema

Bey Logan

Kick! Bang! Chop! Sock! Enter the Dragon, Deep Thrust, Hardboiled, City on Fire, The Big Heat, Naked Assassins. “All you ever wanted to know about the high-octane world of Far Eastern filmmaking: from the balletic to the ballistic, from the grace of Bruce Lee to the bullet-ridden bloodletting of John Woo, from the comedy stunts of Jackie Chan to the action choreography of Ching Siu Tung, from versatile leading man Chow Yun Fat to fighting females Michelle Khan and Cynthia Rothrock.” GR

Publisher: Overlook
Paperback: 128 pages

Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture

Bram Dijkstra

This encyclopedic study of images of the femme fatale in academic painting from the mid-19th to the early 20th century is as breathtaking in its sensual splendor as it is nauseating in its display of a “veritable iconography of misogyny,” the visual component of what the author calls “the morass of the 19th century’s assault on women.” Sticking to primary sources in contemporary exhibition catalogs, periodicals, and books and tracts by philosophers, pathologists and scientists, the author shows how artists and intellectuals pooled their dark fantasies of women—which were reflective and extensions of those of the public at large—to invent these dangerous creatures.
As the position of women evolved along with their nascent efforts to liberate themselves, the counter-efforts—to define, explain and control them—also changed and evolved. Here we have a wealth of glowing Ophelias; slumbering armies of exhausted onanists; voluptuous slaves; spaced-out mirror-gazers; Lolitas and transcendent ephebes; predatory female flowers single-mindedly seeking to drain man of “that great clot of seminal fluid”—his brain; bestial vampires capable of the most atrocious crimes; and more. The images and writings reproduced here are so lush in their testimony to human lust, fear, disgust and striving for sublimity it is hard to regard these archival materials with a furrowed brow, especially since, by dissecting the oppressive forces that gave rise to them, Dijkstra has helped to defuse their destructive power. The prevalence of this repertoire of images of women in the popular media today is testimony to their tenacity and insidiousness. MH

Publisher: Knopf
Hardback: 480 pages

If They Move… Kill ‘Em! The Life and Times of Sam Peckinpah

David Weddle

“Sam Peckinpah was born into a clan of lumberjacks, cattle ranchers and frontier lawyers. After a hitch with the marines, he made his way to Hollywood, where he worked on a string of low-budget features. In 1955, he began writing scripts for Gunsmoke; in less than a year he was one of the hottest writers in television, with two classic series, The Rifleman and The Westerner, to his credit. From there he went on to direct a phenomenal series of features, including Ride the High Country, Straw Dogs, The Getaway, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid and The Wild Bunch.
Peckinpah was both a hopeless romantic and a grim nihilist, a filmmaker who defined his era as much as he was shaped by it. Rising to prominence in the social and politicial upheaval of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Peckinpah and his generation of directors—Stanley Kubrick, Arthur Penn, Robert Altman—broke with convention and turned the traditional genres of Western, science fiction, war and detective movies inside out. No other era in Hollywood has matched it for sheer energy, audacity and originality, and no one cut a wider path through that time than Sam Peckinpah.”

Publisher: Grove
Hardback: 416 pages