Ad Nauseam, Newsprint Nightmares from the 80’s, A Book Review

13 Oct

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Author Michael Gingold admits to not being much of a horror fan back in 1979. He dabbled with a few films prior but after watching Halloween (god bless his grandparents, so he wrote), that film has changed his life. Anyone who knows this maestro will recognize his contributions to many a publication. From Fangoria to Rue Morgue (and back again), his contributions are well known. Enter Ad Nauseam: Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s, a book which took more than a decade to make.

It collects nearly all the movie ads of horror films from this era. Flipping through this coffee table book is a conversation starter, especially amongst fans nostalgic for 80s horror movies. This book arrives just in time to before the next installment of Halloween arrives in theatres! Capsule reviews are included to remind readers of what critics back then thought of many a work.
I remember glancing at many a quick sentence review back then. Of bigger importance, I still have fond recollections of the images used to sell movies like Ninja 3 The Domination, Evil Dead and Dragonslayer. Those images stand the test of time, and there’s a reason why they are still used for the VHS, DVD or Blu-ray (re)releases. At the same time, those spreads can fill a quarter of a page or take up more real estate. “The Art of the Sell” is the perfect essay in this book to explain how the process worked, and what distributors were up against when creating these memorable ads. Finding those few words that say it all to include in those poster ads is just as important as the image itself.

The rest of the book, about 95% of it, features photostats and possibly recreations of the original ads for movies like The Hunger, The People Who Own the Dark and The Black Cat (to name a few). A very handy index helps those looking for a specific film. As a bonus, one to three line reviews recaps what the critics thought of these works. This publication is nicely laid out scrapbook featuring the ads this author saved from destruction. If there’s anything missing, I’m sure he would welcome a submission so volume two can be published.

We are presented with that this author loved. It is possible he might have missed a movie or two, but I would have to cross-reference this book’s index with the IMDB’s to see what might have been missed. I know for a fact A Chinese Ghost Story released in 1987, and it mostly played in art house theatres in America a few years later, as this decade came to a close.

However, I feel the 70s is just as important in its contributions to why horror films are loved. The film scholar-historian in me wants it. While this release is Gingold’s love letter to his time at the movies, I’m sure if this book sells well, Rue Morgue will seek out other enthusiasts or hire a team to curate a collection from other eras too.

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