Monday, December 7, 2009
Shadows Over Florida
Here’s an interesting concept: A reference book that details the history of horror and horror-related events covering a state. Shadows Over Florida, by David and Scott T. Goudsward, is such a book, detailing the history of the dark side of the Sunshine State.
First thing to think about, you don’t evaluate a reference book the way you do a novel, so I devised a test. I came up with a list of ten reasonably obscure horror connections to Florida from my own feeble brain, and decided if the book hit on seven of them, I’d give it a passing grade. To my surprise, they were ten for ten, which means that somewhere there is another poor soul who watched Absolute Zero. I don’t hold myself out as an expert on the subject, but I do know enough trivia to make that an impressive achievement.
The book is ordered alphabetically by location, and I was pleased to see there are two indices, one for movies and television shows, and one for authors. I learned a lot from the book, from important things such as Jacksonville could have become the capitol of the film industry instead of Hollywood, if there hadn’t been local opposition, to the obscure yet intriguing, for example there is a Christian anti-drug movie that features a mutant biker vampire were-turkey.* There is quite a lot about the legendary Herschell Gordon Lewis, current B-movie maven Joel D. Wynkoop and many other facts. I didn’t realize H.P. Lovecraft had such a close connection to the state.
If you are a horror fan who lives in Florida or plans to visit it, you have to have this book. If you don’t plan to visit the Gulf Coast, I think you would enjoy it anyway. The book can be ordered through Amazon. It is an attractive trade paperback, reasonably priced, and I highly recommend it.
For those of you further up the East Coast, the Goudswards have previously published a similar book, Shadows Over New England.
Now I’m off to look for a movie about a mutant biker vampire were-turkey.
*That has to be awful. I am determined to see it.