Rick Meyer's For One Week Only: The World of Exploitation Films reviewed by jseger9000
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Hey guys. Here's a review I'm working on for my first ever Early Reviewers book. I pieced together the review from observations I wrote down as I was reading and am worried that it might seem disjointed.
Any help is appreciated.
For One Week Only is a nice, breezy look at the history of exploitation movies, obviously written with a great deal of affection.
The book is broken down into three sections based on very broad generalizations of exploitation film genres: Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll (things like Reefer Madness, The Trip, Russ Meyer movies and Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS); Violence (including all slasher films and non-supernatural terror flicks) and Horror (which includes all supernatural menace films and also sci-fi).
These sections are then made up of loose and rambling synopsis of films within that category, organized in alphabetical order. I emphasize the ‘loose and rambling’ part, because often a synopsis of a particular film will be sidetracked into a discussion/synopsis/review of other exploitation flicks featuring the same star, director, producer or similar theme. So a review of Blacula for instance (complete with a heading featuring the movie title, director, producer, star and writer) will lead into a discussion of Die, Blacula, Die!, Black Frankenstein and Dr. Black and Mr. White.
That might sound like criticism, but I liked the informal narrative. It gave me the feeling of sitting around with Ric, discussing these movies and letting the conversation go where it will. There is a fairly thorough index in the back to help you track down mentions of a particular film.
I believe the summaries were written from the author's memory, as several times I caught details that were wrong (John Carpenter's Dark Star for example, only has one surfer, not two). This is a reprint of a book that was originally written before the rise of easy access to a video store (though it has been revised), so I won't scold him too harshly (though it does make me question the fact-checking the book went through on this revision).
Reading about each of the schlocky movies was a lot of fun (though the author thinks he's funnier than he is). Meyer keeps a very informal, non-scholarly tone throughout that really makes me want to see some of the films. But I do wish his descriptions included a little more depth or critical analysis. He would often talk about how bad the movie is, but not really why it was so bad. Something explaining whether in the author's own opinion is one that had any merits/was worth digging up would have been a huge help.
I do wish the book was illustrated. The lurid poster artwork was half the appeal of these films. Though the book was fun to read regardless, beginning each summary with a copy of the poster and maybe including some stills from the films would have given this book an entire extra star.
The book is a nice, not too detailed introduction to the world of trash cinema. If you've been renting movies with titles like 2,000 Maniacs, Foxy Brown, Hatchet For a Honeymoon, Meet the Feebles or Desperate Living for decades, there won't be much information that is new to you. On the other hand, if you saw Grindhouse and are curious about the movies that inspired it, this book is not a bad place to start.
So three stars for the contents, plus an extra half star for that feeling of nostalgia that it sparked. Not the final word on grindhouse cinema, but a fun read anyway.
Pretty good overall, I think the first couple paragraphs felt a little disconnected to the rest or maybe unfocused, after that the review flowed well.
Would it help any if I combined the first two paragraphs into one? Or is a rewrite needed?
Very good. I just think the last sentence could be a little stronger, and a little less matter of fact. JMO
Sorry I haven't responded. It's been a bad week. I do appreciate the feedback.
I don't mind rewriting the beginning and/or end of the review, but I'm stumped (I think I'm just tired from the last two weeks). Any suggestions?
Congratulations on your first ER book! May there be many more.
Your review doesn't have the strong feelings that many of your reviews have, but at three and a half stars, this is understandable. I've read and re-read the review and just can't see anything wrong with it. A reader will immediately understand if they are in the 'target audience'. I particularly like that because so many reviews offer glittering praise or blistering criticism without actually giving me an inkling of whether or not I will enjoy the book. I also like that you mentioned what was missing (illustrations), and your rationale behind the star rating. Then you gave it a warm finish by saying it was a fun read. No, nothing wrong with this in my view.
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