Joseph’s Book Review: FrightFest Guide: Vampire Movies

★★★★★ out of ★★★★★

The sixth and latest in a series of books under the banner of FrightFest — the U.K.’s largest horror and genre-movie film festival — and published by FAB Press (released October 12, 2022) is FrightFest Guide: Vampire Movies. It is an entertaining, exhaustive effort by Nathaniel Thompson, whose many credits include being the founder of the long-running website Mondo Digital as well as a contributing writer to Turner Classic Movies and the author of the four-book DVD Delirium series for FAB Press.

The layout for FrightFest Guide: Vampire Movies is truly a feast for the eyes. The book is absolutely gorgeous, with vividly reproduced posters or stills — and quite often both — for even the most obscure of entries. 

Fangoria! Woo!

The book kicks off in fine form with a 4-page foreword from none other than English journalist, film critic, and fiction writer Kim Newman, whose well-known works include the six-book Anno Dracula series and the books on film Nightmare Movies and Kim Newman’s Video Dungeon. He’s the perfect authority to provide informative, lively background, after which Thompson dives into a 31-page introduction covering the history of vampire mythology, literature, and cinema. It is practically a course on the subject unto itself.

The illuminating fun continues as Thompson then reviews a mind-boggling array of vampire movies, from 1922’s Nosferatu to 2021’s Jakob’s Wife and Night Teeth. All of the classics are featured, of course, along with lesser known fare and cult favorites. You’re bound to discover at least dozens of films that you have probably never heard of before, too, such as the 1989 USA/Japan coproduction of horror comedy The Jitters, animated Cuban social-commentary horror comedy Vampires in Havana (1985), and India’s 1989 Fright Night-inspired Bollywood production Wohi Bhayaabak Raat. Along with film critiques, informative gems abound, such as how Mario Bava’s 1961 Italian film Hercules in the Haunted World features flying undead on some prints in some countries, but not in others.

The most seasoned of vampire film aficionados and newcomers to the subgenre should all find plenty to love in the highly recommended FrightFest Guide: Vampire Movies. After all, who wouldn’t be intrigued by a film starring Wings Hauser that opens with, “What you are about to see is one of the most dramatic pieces of art that has ever been created” (Pale Blood [1990], if you count yourself in the group who would like to see it)?

For more information, visit https://www.fabpress.com/frightfest-guide-vampire-movies.html

Review by Joseph Perry

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