Thursday, June 9, 2011

DVD Delirium Volume 1 Redux


Edited by Nathaniel Thompson

First published in 2002 by FAB press as a single volume, DVD Delirium has since been revised, updated and had three more volumes tacked on after it. Not quite a reference book and not quite a book of reviews, DVD Delirium is something you can read straight through or skip around at your leisure. I bought mine at the Scottish Dead by Dawn horror film festival and was extremely glad to have it on my ridiculously hung over plane ride home and inevitable wait in the hellish Newark airport.

So what is it? I’m not really sure. I don’t think the editor or contributors are sure either, but it works out alright. The book is set up with alphabetical reviews of films that give a general overview of plot, the reviewer’s opinion, and then a review of the available DVD releases. Absolutely no space is wasted on illustrations and there are only tiny black-and-white images of the DVD cover of their choice, usually the edition they recommend. This is what I really love about this book -- it places a meticulous emphasis on reviewing specific DVD editions, which a lot of other film books and magazines tend to pass over. In addition to specs, they address problems with releases from sound to print and tend to skip around from region to region, which may be a problem for some readers but not for serious collectors.

As to what genres this books covers, that is a bit more problematic. There is a definite emphasis on horror, but there are also heaps of erotica, martial arts, fantasy, exploitation, and really anything that can be described as weird, cult, or unusual. I love the combination and I think I strive for something similar with this blog. Part of the problem with this approach is that there is absolutely no way to tell what is going to be in the book and what isn’t. It isn’t organized by year, country, genre, director, actor or, really, anyway except alphabetical. This could be frustrating to some readers, but I really enjoyed the experience of being able to pass over entries like the Alien series, which I own and have seen many times, to go straight onto more obscure things. This book is likely geared towards a horror fan or someone who has seen a handful of cult movies, but wants new recommendations and to explore new genres. DVD Delirium will take you slowly but surely into new genres and beloved, but obscure, so you can’t really go wrong. And if you have seen every film listed in the book, I take my hat off to you, sir.

Though it says “edited” by Nathaniel Thompson, it only includes additional reviews by film critics Tim Greaves and Stephen Thrower. The language is very straight forward and Thompson doesn’t let himself or the other reviewers run away with their own cleverness or gripes. It is very lightly academic, but pretty much any film lover can read these reviews and appreciate them. It might be more difficult for a layperson, so to speak, because they constantly refer to other classic or landmark films not reviewed in DVD Delirium. But overall, I say go order your copy from Amazon.com. Or directly from FAB Press, though you will have to pay that nasty overseas shipping fee.

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