Book Review: House of Psychotic Women / Author: Kier-La Janisse / Publisher: FAB Press / Release Date: September 29th
Subtitled “An autobiographical topography of female neurosis in horror and exploitation films”, this is a rather remarkable look at the horror genre as seen not only through the eyes of the author, (a highly regarded writer who has written for Rue Morgue and Fangoria as well as programming several US and Canadian film festivals) but also how she relates to them through a rather turbulent personal life. Taking its title from the US re-naming of the 1973 Paul Naschy film, The Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll, the union of real life traumas and psychological and often extreme horror films makes for compulsive if uneasy reading. Janisse's dissections of the films are as brutally honest and insightful as the passages on her own life, family and relationships. This blending works perfectly, and in doing so opens the reader up to make their own connection to the films that they may have parallels to themselves. We may not all have had experiences nor upbringings like Janisse, but we may have traits that push us to love the grotesque and often disturbing films we watch.
While the obvious titles are covered; Black Swan, Repulsion, Antichrist and Carrie, there are also a plethora of films that only the most hardened horror buffs would have come across such as Venus Drowning, A Gun for Jennifer and an array of foreign titles.
After the obligatory but nevertheless impressive 30+ page colour photo section, the final 150 pages are made up of mini film reviews of key films, again with many rare and obscure titles getting some well deserved and reasoned attention. This mini encyclopaedia is almost worth the price alone. The book is illustrated throughout with many rare stills and film posters and looks marvelous.
The book has been available as a limited edition hardback from the FAB press website for a while (and very few copies remain), but now the paperback has hit the shelves and online stores there is no reason not to purchase! Highly recommended.