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By James Whittington, Friday 12th April 2013
The House Of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films
FAB Press once more show great originality with this astonishing release. Written by Kier-La Janisse it covers the topic of female neurosis in horror and exploitation film genres whilst also reflecting on her own personal experiences.
Yes, this isn't just about films that explore neurotic women on celluloid; it's also a personal account of growing up in a family unit that's consistently evolving, exploding and is heartbreakingly unpredictable and raw. Emotional, disturbing, intelligent, and engaging, Janisse's existence unfolds before us as she details her experiences of life's true horrors and relates some to the cinema she discovered during such times. Her natural writing rhythm shines off the page, delivering memories that must have been painful to relive mixed with plenty of social commentary. Added to this originality is a mass of film reviews that sit alongside her personal memories.
The filmography, which forms most of the second half of the book, is a treat for fans of the genre. Here you’ll discover honest reviews and trivia of films ranging from cult classics to contemporary favourites. What surprised me was how many famous Hollywood stars had dipped their toes into this sort of movie. Yes, we all know about Bette Davies and Joan Crawford in What Ever Happened To Baby Jane and Shelly Winters in Who Slew Auntie Roo but I didn’t know Crawford also starred in William Castle's Strait-Jacket which proudly boasted (and I quote with the actual spellings) "Warning! Strait-Jacket vividly depicts ax murders", tremendous stuff.
Stylishly designed, something that we’ve come to expect from any FAB Press release, it contains copious amounts of detailed black and white snaps from the films covered as well as an impressive colour mid section reproducing many rare posters and stills. These controversial, provocative promotional shots and outlandish strap lines hark to a more daring age of cinema, shame such times are long gone and probably will never return. The one sheet for Fatal Attraction is a tremendous piece of European pop art promotion that says so much without giving any plot away or using an image of the people starring in the movie. All we have is an open circle with a hand at one end trying to grasp an apple from the mouth of a snake which sits at the other end of the circle. Quite brilliant.
The House Of Psychotic Women is an absolute must have of a release that takes a well explored topic, gives it an autobiographical edge and ends up being more far more than a retro look at one of the more misunderstood genres of the film world. Beautifully written and beautifully honest this proves that FAB Press is the leader in thought provoking and intelligent cinema related publications.
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