Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bath - City of Cheese, Monsters and John Landis

A gala day in Bath on Saturday (and as Groucho will tell you a gal a day's enough for any man).
Not only was it the Bath Cheese Festival, with over twenty award winning cheesemakers keen for us to sample their wares - oh! cheese heaven; my friends, you have never smelt anything like it - but John Landis was in town too, signing copies of his new coffee table book Monsters in the Movies.

When we were living in London, my wife was a picture researcher at the Kobal Collection, which provided the images for the book, and so we have an insider's perspective on the project.
If you ask her nicely she'll tell you one of a thousand funny stories about his regular visits to their office to select posters and stills, each one a whirlwind of frenetic enthusiasm, his booming voice never varying in volume or tempo.
Though I say so myself, we both do rather a good impersonation of 'the Landis boom' - "Get me a Diet Coke!" "That's not a werewolf!" "Admit it! Your website's no good! Admit it!" - and once mastered it's enormous fun to slip into at random moments throughout the day.
An especially good time, in fact, can be had doing it while reading aloud the picture captions from his book.
It's a nice, Christmasy book, lavishly illustrated and attractively laid out, that probably won't tell you bunch of jaded know-all sods anything you don't already know about monster movies, but will pass a pleasant hour or two nonetheless, and would make the ideal gift for the young fan just finding their feet in the genre. I can't imagine how much it would have delighted me if I'd got it for Christmas when I was ten.
Plus he's a nice guy, and he wrote and directed An American Werewolf in London, a film virtually without peer in post-Hammer horror film history.
Good on you, Landis.