If you’re like me, and are a fan of the horror movies of the eighties, then the name Tom Savini should be something that you are very aware of. He took realistic, practical special effects to a new level, especially when it came to gore. To this day his effects hold up and only a handful of people have been able to accomplish what he did. He ended up becoming a household name to fans of the horror genre and readers of Fangoria Magazine.
Though books on Savini are nothing new, including two volumes showing how many of his effects were achieved, get ready for the ultimate book on this very talented artist. Whether he was doing effects for movies like Dawn of the Dead, Friday the 13th or Creepshow, or directing the remake of Night of the Living Dead, what he added to horror is second to none. The special makeup effects artists of this time were superstars and Tom Savini was at the top.
So first the bad news. This book was supposed to be originally released on November 3, which is actually Tom’s birthday. This has been pushed up to December 13. On the plus side, this book should be available just in time for Christmas.
This coffee table book is a fast and very entertaining read and features over 425 photos from Tom’s private collection. Tom’s story is one that all of us monster kids can relate to, growing up watching monster movies on the weekends and wanting to be the very monsters he was watching on television, or at his local theatre. I love hearing stories from someone that I admire, especially when his childhood was similar to mine. That connection makes a book like this not only personal, but relatable, adding to its value.
The stories he shares of seeing a flying saucer and how he got involved in a travelling spook show at an early age, getting paid in silver dollars and milkshakes, are so charming and are just two of the many stories Tom shares with the reader, as if he was actually in front of you telling the stories. He opens up about a lot of things, some very personal, and it is this honesty that helps make this book as great as it is.
Many of us are familiar with Tom’s story about how he was a combat photographer in Vietnam and how, by looking through the camera lens, he was able to separate the reality he was experiencing as a photographer, equating it to what he may see on a movie screen. Here he goes into a lot of detail of what it was like when he found out he was going to Vietnam and what it was like when he got there. This is powerful stuff.
The photos in this book are just amazing. Though quite a few can be seen in his “Grande Illusions” books, there are hundreds that were new to me. This is one of those books that you will pick up time and time again, just for the pictures (and I guarantee that if you leave it out on your coffee table, your guests will look through it…a lot).
There are two versions of this book available. The first is the standard edition, which can be bought on Amazon by going HERE. The ultimate edition, which is hand numbered, signed and limited to 1,013 copies, is available direct from the publisher Dark Ink HERE. I know which one I prefer!
If you are a fan of Tom Savini, or even just in the practical, pre-CGI special effects of the 80’s, then this book is a must have. It is one of those books that you will find yourself going back to again and again. This book should be on every horror fan’s Christmas wish list.
If you would like to read others in the Basement Bookshelf series, just click HERE.