Book Review: HOLLYWOOD MONSTER

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hollywood monster
Robert Englund w/ Alan Godlsher
Pocket Books
2009

This may sound pretentious and over-analytical, but I believe that Freddy represented what looked to be a bad future for the post-boomer generation. It’s possible that Wes believed the youth of America were about to fall into a pile of shit – virtually all the parents in the Nightmare movies were flawed, so how could these kids turn out safe and sane? – and he might have created Freddy to represent a less-than-bright future.

  • When Robert englund first appeared as the razor-fingered, fedora-sporting, wise-cracking killer Freddy Kruger in 1984’s box office smash A Nightmare On Elm Street, he knew he’d created something special. Little did he suspect–with seven sequels and a TV series yet to come–that Freddy would become the horror icon of the decade, and Robert Englund the cult star of one of the most successful franchises in film history. Now, in Hollywood Monster, Robert peels away the mask to look back on his unusual and amazing career. Packed with insider savvy self-depreciating gallows wit, and a generous helping of never-before-revealed A Nightmare On Elm Street trivia, Robert Reveals how a self-confessed working stiff brought to life one of cinema’s most enduring villains.

I’m usually not a fan of autobiographies. No particular reason, other than I’m not generally in the mood to read someone ramble on about themselves, unless their work happens to coincide with any of my interests. And even then, there’s nothing quite like a good televised documentary to kill time with.

In this rare instance, though, I was haunting the shelves at the local Half Price Books (as I am want to do), and spotted this particular memoir by the very embodiment of my favorite horror movie icon, ever: Bill Gartley from The Mangler. I hear he’s done other characters as well.

In Hollywood Monsters: A Walk Down Elm Street with the Man of Your Dreams, Robert Englund writes about his start in the business of show and his work through the years, starting with the movies Eaten Alive and Galaxy Of Terror, his part as the nice alien on the V mini-series and television show, getting his iconic role as Freddy Kruger in the first Nightmare On Elm Street movie, his shot at directing with 976-EVIL, headlining the 1989 version of The Phantom Of The Opera, as well as a wealth of behind-the-scenes facts and anecdotes that come off more like your Great Uncle telling tales of their past adventures and such.

Overall: Hollywood Monster was a pretty good and entertaining, if somewhat breezy read. It’s not very long as memoirs go, and only took a few hours reading through it. Though, I did get a lot from it, as a fan of the character Freddy and Robert Englund in general. This isn’t a book slinging mud, dishing dirt, or the rants of a premadonna; Hollywood Monster is a grab a beer and let me tell you a tale about my career type of books. Recommended.

Book Review: CHUCHED (Matthew Paul Turner)

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CHURCHEDMatthew Paul Turner
WaterBrook Press
2008

I’ve been a quiet fan of Matthew Paul Turner’s work since stumbling upon an ad for his book The Christian Culture Survival Guide in an issue of Relevant Magazine a few years back. Like Churched (and just about everything else he’s written, he’s quite prolific), I had a dickens of a time locating that one and giving it a cursory read at the Boarder’s in Omaha, the only location that had it. I’m sure the big Christian bookstore would have had it, easily, but I stopped going there since I noticed that they always had someone follow me around when I went there. Now I only go there when my emergency supply of Testa-Mints is running low, and PayPal is unable to let me do it online. But, I digress…

Matthew Turner seems to get my disposition on Christian life. And my sense of humor. I’ve been a daily reader of the guy’s blog for over a year now (if you haven’t yet, check it out). So, when he started talking about the new offering of his, Churched, sharing what it was about, the near-impossible happened: I started getting excited about a Christian non-fiction book. And a hard-cover, at that. Problem was, I’m still a bit paranoid about ordering too many things online, which meant taking the hour-long trek into Omaha to try and locate it. And I did find it. One store had it. One copy of that book. Tucked so far back in between bigger, thicker, and flashier Christian self-help twattle that I almost left, thinking the place didn’t have it. But, thanks to the persistence of my fiancé’, I did find it. And read it in two days.

In the grand tradition of Buy The Book And Read For Yourself, I’ll keep things to a minimum: Churched is, at first glance, a memoir of growing up within a Fundamental Baptist Church. You will laugh. You will cringe. You will want to stop reading because it hit close to home. It will anger some. It may bring some to tears. If you stick to the end, it will make you reevaluate your own personal relationship with Jesus. Like it did me.

I could go on, but then I’d be rambling and gushing all over the place. It could get messy, and I’m fresh out of towels. I will say this in parting, though: When you read Churched, imagine it being narrated by Jean Shepherd, and the little Matthew Turner and his family as played by Ralphie Parker and his family. Eh, it was Christmas, and there was this A Christmas Story marathon going on at the time…