Creature Features Movie Guide

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Creature Features Movie Guide

Post  BoG on Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:35 pm

John Stanley's CREATURE FEATURES MOVIE GUIDE

THE VERY FIRST EDITION, ABOVE ON THE LEFT.
Published in 1981, Softcover, 208 pages * 2nd edition, 1984, Softcover, 304 pages
This is another reference book which seems to be all about horror, but it's not nearly the case. The very first page, the frontpiece, spells out that the movie reviews are: Science Fiction*Fantasy*Horror*Weird Mystery* Psychoterror*Suspense*Gore Murders*Arabian Adventures*Superheroes*Monsters - 2,753 entries jammed in-between the covers! (that's the '81 1st edition; by the 2nd edition, that number had leapt to over 3,000 movies).

The Creature Features TV show premiered one stormy night in February, 1971, with host Bob Wilkins; lots of horrific & Sci-Fi movies were shown those Saturday nights for many years. John Stanley, who directed his own little horror film Nightmare in Blood in 1976, took over the hosting duties in 1979 and, according to the lore, spent 10 years compiling the entries of his book. I believe it. At the time, when I purchased the 1st & 2nd editions, I was really impressed by the number of movies in the books - many of which I could not find in any other reference book. The only weakness was a lack of credits; the director's name might be missing, for example, in many entries. But, John Stanley wasn't resting on his laurels and set about improving/updating:

3rd edition, published in 1988, Softcover, 420 pages * 4th edition, published in 1994, Softcover, 454 pages
Yep, you guessed it: Revenge of and Strikes Again were apt descriptions of these fantastic tomes. The 3rd edition claims to contain almost 4,000 genre films while the 4th has 5,614, according to the back cover. As before, it was all in small type, a paragraph on each film, with author Stanley basically giving you his take on each and throwing in bits of trivia whenever possible. Usually, there was only director and main actors info, besides year of release. But, boy, there sure seemed to be a ton of info by that 4th edition! Yet, we're still not finished:

Boulevard edition,published 1997,paperback,582 pgs*revised edition, 2000, Softcover, 596 pgs
These were the mass market editions and, as one may note, the wording on the covers now stressed that these contained Science Fiction & Fantasy films, not just Horror. With these 5th & 6th editions, John Stanley had entered the mainstream. And, I confess, I prefer the 1994 edition and those that preceded it. There's something a bit too bland with these later editions, even if they have the same or more information (which they may not, now being geared towards the public in general). Maybe I am just a geek at heart. Or maybe I prefer the idiosyncratic.
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