Now in a book store near you from BearManor Media’s is David Grove’s “Jamie Lee Curtis: Scream Queen”, a biography on the legendary horror actress who got her start in such horror flicks as John Carpenter’s Halloween and the sequel Halloween II, Prom Night, The Fog and the awesome Terror Train. Bloody Disgusting’s Ryan Daley dug into the 510 page book and survived with the following review…
Love her or hate her, there’s no denying that Jamie Lee Curtis’ early contributions to the horror genre were nothing less than prolific. Starring in six horror films during an astounding four year period [Halloween, The Fog, Prom Night, Terror Train, Road Games, and Halloween II, ranging from 1978 to 1981], Curtis was the rare actress who managed to ride her seedy scream queen rep all the way to a bona fide acting career. Some say her later success in “legitimate” films helped remove the stigma commonly associated with horror movie actresses.
David Grove’s predictably gushing biography, Jamie Lee Curtis: Scream Queen, heaps shovelfuls of praise on Curtis, giving her sole credit for saving every single damned movie she’s ever appeared in, and the endless paragraphs of pro-Jamie propaganda can be a slog to get through. But his unauthorized biography also serves as a solid behind-the-scenes glimpse into a handful of horror classics from the early-80s, and in that regard JLC: Scream Queen is an essential read for horror die-hards.
At the very least, you should read Grove’s book for its revealing look at the making of Halloween, Halloween II, and The Fog, a trio of seminal yet strangely uneven films from writer/director/producer John Carpenter. (Sure, he didn’t “direct” Halloween II, but his prints are all over the damned thing.)
Grove lands plenty of solid sound bites from those involved with the productions, and it’s refreshing to hear Carpenter, in particular, speak with such candor about his early efforts. He concurs that 1981’s The Fog “just wasn’t very good. It wasn’t scary. It sucked.” And when asked about his reasons for green-lighting a sequel to his original Halloween, Carpenter states it was a chance “to make a lot of money and be able to make a film with complete control. Making the film was more of a business decision than a creative decision.” That’s some good shit right there.
In between the sweet interview pulls, Grove manages to get in a couple of joyous jabs of his own, berating Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween as a “boring and tedious travesty” that was “ill-advised and unnecessary”. Let it be known that writer David Grove does not tread lightly when discussing something as sacred as Carpenter’s Halloween franchise. He’s a man after my own fucking heart.
It’s worth noting that Grove’s writing can be repetitive, as he’s willing to recycle a single quote several times, sometimes in the same chapter. In that regard, JLC: Scream Queen is a book best enjoyed in random chunks, rather than as a cover-to-cover marathon read. It’s a compelling love letter to a beloved scream queen, but the meat of the story lies in the juicy background details.
3.5 out of 5 Skulls