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The Ultimate Book of Movie Monsters (Hardback)

Colour Books Hobbies & Lifestyle > Film, Media & Television Photographic Books

By Christopher Carton
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 216
Illustrations: 100 colour iillustrations
ISBN: 9781399096829
Published: 8th June 2022



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Do you believe in monsters?

We dare you to take a look inside this cursed tome containing some of the most iconic and obscure monsters from the history of cinema.

Cower in fear of Count Dracula and his dreaded children of the night. Abandon hope as the mightiest kaiju ever seen on film decimate all around them. Pray that silhouette at the end of your bed is just a shadow and not the dreaded Babadook.

Spanning nearly a century of cinematic terrors, The Ultimate Book of Movie Monsters showcases creatures from genres such as horror, fantasy, B-movies and even musicals. Along with legendary beasts like Frankenstein’s monster, Godzilla, the Living Dead and the (mostly) friendly creatures of Monsters Inc., you’ll find film facts, creature strengths and weaknesses and over 150 full-colour pictures of the monsters themselves. From the era of stop-motion beasties to the cinematic showdown of the century in Godzilla vs. Kong, film lovers and horror aficionados will find plenty to keep their lust for terror satiated.

But beware, for the beasts that dwell within these forsaken pages may just keep you up all night. You have been warned…

If you're an avid horror fan or just love monsters in general, you can't go wrong with this book. Focusing on monsters new and old, it takes a look at creatures from across various genres, like sci-fi, musicals, and of course, horror, who have terrorized the screen for years... Not only does it have some great facts, it also has wonderful pictures of the monsters themselves. A must have for those who are drawn to things that go bump in the night.

NetGalley, Ashley Perez

Article: 'Fangs a million Chris, it's a monster of a book!'

Cork Independent

A colourful look at the monsters that have terrified children and adults of all ages in the hundred years of so since movie makers decided that horror was good entertainment. Brilliant!

Books Monthly

The author Christopher Carton has done a great job, researching figures and movies I wouldn’t have known or classed as being Movie Monsters. Plus he covers right from the start of movie making up to the modern day, so you have a book that covers Dracula from the b/w movies right through to colourful movies such as Monsters Inc. Which I admit I hadn’t thought of these characters, as they are so nice, I hadn’t thought of them as being monsters. A fantastic read, and certainly a book a Movie Monster fans are going to love.

Read the full review here

The History Fella

This aside, The Ultimate Book of Movie Monsters is a beautiful, coffee table book for people who like their coffee table books full of Xenomorphs, werewolves and Pennywise the Dancing Clown. It’s the sort of book which I could—and will—happily flick through for the pictures alone, but Carton writes with a light touch that entertains and demonstrates a love for monsters at large.

Read the full review here

London Horror Society

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This fun and informative book of film monsters old and new film monsters is a fun treat for all horror fans. It includes photos and descriptions and even dives deep within the folklore and numerous films that they may have appeared in.

We deal with Jason, Freddy and the like but we also get some great coverage of classics like Them!, Body Snatchers, etc.

I really do not have much to say beyond that this is a definite for any genre buff and a fun book that you can pick up again and again. A real winner.

NetGalley, Keith Chawgo

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A highly entertaining, informative, and well written book about monsters written from the fan POV.
Loved it.
Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Loved this and reading as a fan from a fan's perspective is always fun. Thinking of getting this for my teen for his birthday but also selfishly for myself to look over again!

NetGalley, Sarah Kahn

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book was an in-depth guide to everything that has scared and entertained me in my beloved horror movies.
I LOVED this book. I’m a huge horror fan and particularly love books that help show me why I love horror so much. This was a treat to read. I don’t usually do this, but as soon as it’s published, I’m going to be purchasing the hard copy. I want to hold this one in my hands. Every monster from Dracula and Frankenstein to baddies from video games and even the obscure ones from lore. We’re even treated to monsters from musicals and comedic monsters. It’s not common to find so many B movies in a book like this. I can’t wait to see the pictures in color as my kindle can’t give me that.

NetGalley, Beth J

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A really good book of monsters to add to your collection. That covers everything from classic monsters like Dracula to Godzilla and 80s slashers to Monsters inc. It is full of awesome photos throughout and has a very good easy to follow layout. I highly recommend adding it to your shelf.

NetGalley, William Winter

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Author Christopher Carton is a guiding light to take us to the heart of a bestiary of movie monsters… Look at this book cover, and you’ll think Alien, Dracula, Godzilla, Monsters Inc and Jurassic Park. Then open it discover so many more in this labyrinth of movie monsters with Carton as your sterling companion lighting the way.

Recently in my twice weekly Finnish lesson – when discussing emotions -, I learned the words, pelätä, säikähtää, jännittää, kauhistua, hermostuttaa and uhata. These Finnish words when translated into English – by Google Translate – are defined as to be afraid, to take fright, tense, to be frightened, to ruffle and to threaten respectively. In this book, The Ultimate Book of Movie Monsters, the author Christopher Carton is our handy expert on these movie monsters who have made us feel in these ways and much, much more.

This is the second book from the pop culture guru, Christopher Carton, and I recently reviewed his exemplary first book, A Guide to Video Game Movies (2022). After promoting my post about this book on Social Media, I was thrilled when Carton thanked me personally for my review and wrote some lovely words regarding my review. He then invited me to give my thoughts on this new book, The Ultimate Book of Movie Monsters.

Carton lures you in to discover this maze crammed full of monsters with a captivating cover showing some infamous mythical creatures. Carton switches this fear inducing tone immediately, as he warmly thanks his close family for introducing him to this genre in the movies. Then he switches back to the monster-themed content as you discover his contents page.

Carton divides his book into 10 short chapters and an introduction. The book is a short but succinct 216 pages long. But is an extensive guide to this movie trope in many of its forms. These chapter titles immediately have your adrenaline flowing with thrilling titles. These will appeal to your dark side and will enthral every monster fanatic. These chapters include those titled, The Undead, Fantasy Fiends… and Friends?, Terror from Above, From the Depths, Colossal Beasts and Ghastly Ghouls.

In his introduction, Carton explores briefly how filmmakers have used fear in their movies for over a century. He explores their varying means and methods when using these monster based plots to captivate and terrify us in the name of entertainment. He advocates that the filmmaker’s role is to…

“tap into our psyches and raise hairs on the back of our necks, is by putting us face to face with monsters…”

Carton then delves into short vivid descriptions of the many roles of monsters on screen. This be they be evil, “misunderstood” or fun monsters and he argues that they take a part in every film genre. In his book, he aims to explore the world of,

“some of the most iconic, unique, inventive and terrifying creatures ever to grace a screen”.

Then you join Carton in meeting these creatures, as the chapters begin with the first chapter titled Vicious Vampires. Carton sets the scene for these monsters impeccably with a compelling and creatively written yet eerie description of this fictional monster. This description is a quote from a book or from his imagination as he describes a movie monster in films. As Carton introduces you to this creature, you’ll believe you are confronting this monster in your visual imagination as you read this text.

Following this, Carton gives a shout out to a number of filmmakers’ creations regarding this monster. These monsters are illustrated, in sections describing their different interpretations in films that feature their presence. Each of these subsections has enticing titles and further titles with the name of the monster. Carton then adds their filmmaker or author creator. He also lists the film franchises that these monsters can be found in, along with the years these films were released. He then helpfully – just in case you are a sensitive soul and encounter these monsters in your sleep in a nightmare or dream – adds these monsters’ strengths and weaknesses.

This introductory description is accompanied by a short introduction to this monster type. It is followed by Carton’s enthusiastic analysis of these monsters in individual films. Subsections demonstrate how these monsters have been portrayed in a wide variety of ways in a number of films. There are a variety of films that were released over the decades from forgotten films and silent movies to the present day described in his always accurate descriptions and reviews.

Carton’s sterling research and subsections with films from every decade concur with his earlier descriptions of monsters where he tells how movie audiences have watched them over recent centuries. His analysis includes vivid descriptions of these monsters, film plots and star cast lists.

This content introduced this movie blogger to some new films – as well as reminded me of some great contributions to this sub-genre – and it was illuminating to learn more about each subject. Carton blends facts with his captivating descriptions and analysis. The book follows the same format for each of these chapters, where each concentrates on subgenres including ghosts, dinosaurs, sharks, vampires and zombies.

An example found in this book is found as he discusses Dracula. Carton outlines the contributions of Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Max Shreck and Leslie Neilsen. He analyses notable films such as The Lost Boys (1987) and Carton adds other films such as Interview with a Vampire (1994), Dracula Untold (2014) and Dracula Dead and Loving It (1995). Each film is analysed separately and Carton’s Dracula themed content includes films from every genre such as horror, silent movies, animations and horror and slapstick comedies.

You can use this book in other ways such as by dipping into individual films separately or reading each chapter as a whole. In both methods you to discover Carton’s encyclopedic knowledge – and unspoken love – of each of these critters. For each individual entry, Carton adds a black and white or colour photograph of this monster. This adds a pictorial reference and these well chosen shots compliment his vivid descriptions and analysis.

Like his previous book, I was captivated by his descriptions of plots – often littered with puns and his humour – and in this book, he additionally captured my imagination with vivid and visual descriptions of monsters. I was happy to see that as well as a chapter looking at Classic Monsters such as those in Gremlins (1984), The Blob (1958) and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), that Carton catered for us B-movie lovers.

In this latter chapter, titled The Best of the B Movies, Carton introduced me to some films that I’ve since added to my to-watch list. I’ve also added films describing witches and werewolves in the Cursed Calamities chapter after I recently enjoyed both The Howling (1981) and Silver Bullet (1985) with Darlin Husband so this book came with perfect timing.

In this book, Carton examines the role, creation and history of fear in movies with examples of films from filmmakers including Alfred Hitchcock, Guillaume Del Toro, Francis Ford Coppola and The Asylum films and franchises like Lord of the Rings, Sharknado and Star Wars. It’s also a treasure trove for every completist with those lists with many sequels, prequels and reboots.

Finally, another thing I learned while writing this post is that the word bestiary is the collective noun for a large number of mythical creatures. So now I’m proposing a sub-genre for us movie aficionados who love monsters be they big or small, comic or scary or from the sky or the sea.

And when creating this collective noun, doesn’t this author’s name contain the perfect word…? I now advocate the use of this subgenre as “a carton full of movie monsters”. I’m sure that many of those heroes and heroines who challenged, killed, confronted and watched these (movie) monsters might agree with this word. This is after they’ve literally faced their monsters and then contained their fears and still entertained us every time.

NetGalley, Gill Jacob

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A fascinating book that discusses all the different genres of horror movies. It starts with “Vicious Vampires” then continues to “Cinematic Classics.” The majority of the movies I have seen and enjoyed. It was a pleasant surprise to discover movies I haven’t seen. The author does give the titles and years they were produced. I find that quite helpful for the movies I haven’t seen. He gives good information that brought back memories for me of the horror movies I have seen throughout my life. It made me missed them. I will be hopefully be able to rewatch some of the horror movies. It includes musicals, fantasy and B-movies. Besides the text there are great pictures of monsters throughout the book. This book is excellently written. Film lovers and horror aficionados will enjoy this book. Watch out, you may become a fan of horror movies!

NetGalley, Susan Mahaffey

The Ultimate Book of Movie Monsters is a pretty cohesive guide to all types of movie monsters from classics like Count Dracula to more modern monsters like Ragen from the Exorcist, from massive beasts like Godzilla to even the more obscure monsters like Audrey II from Little shop of horrors.

No matter if your prefer the creatures found in fantasy, puppets, animation or just straight up horror, this book has it... By the end you will want nothing more then to watch all the films listed.

NetGalley, Nyssa Baetsen

The strength of this book is in bringing the various types of monsters together into one book for both casual reference and for those who might want to find movies they haven't seen. I was surprised at just how many sequels some of these lesser known movies had. I was also reminded of some movies I enjoyed years ago but had forgotten about, though I am curious to see how some of them may have aged for me.

All in all a fun read and a handy book to have for when you want to find yet another vampire movie. Recommended for those who like reference type books that are also good reads.

NetGalley, Jack Messer

As a horror movie lover, this book was an absolute delight. It was filled with everything you need to know about monsters, even if you think you know it all, you don’t. Thank you so much to Christopher Carton for allowing me to read this, I can’t wait to tell all my horror lovers to read it!

NetGalley, Nichole Hager

This isn't your average, every day movie monster book. This one was jam packed with enough new information that even the life-long movie buffs will turn their heads. I'm a sucker for anything involving monsters and Christopher Carton really delivered with this one. I can't wait to find more of his work to peruse.

NetGalley, Caleb Ryan Jones

About Christopher Carton

Chris Carton is a pop culture fan, with a major love for movies and video games. He’s been playing since birth, finding a passion for games in the Amiga and Commodore 64 systems. When he’s not writing about games and movies, he loves playing and watching them, drumming and spending time with his family. He was born in Galway but now lives in Cork. 

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