Monsters are appearing at Nightmares Film Festival in a big way this year. The short film blocks are loaded with them and I couldn’t be happier. Creature features were my bread and butter growing up, so I’ve been a bit bummed about them falling out of favor over the last decade. I hope this indie resurgence means that monsters (both original and old school faves) are on the verge of making a return to popularity in the genre. Regardless of whether or not that actually happens, I applaud a horror community that conjures up films like Book of Monsters.
Set across the pond in the U.K., the picture centers around a young girl who witnessed her mother being butchered by a creature that was hiding under her bed. Talk about tapping into childhood fears! Cut to 10 years later and our soon-to-be 18 lead is about to find out that fate isn’t through with her as far as night creatures are concerned. Her birthday bash is about to become a bloody buffet and her guests are the main course.
The 1980s were awash in monster flicks and party-centric films. Book of Monsters is not the first film to toss the two together, but it’s been a long while since we’ve seen a film of this sort. Who doesn’t want to see drunken assholes shredded by creatures of the night, especially more original (or at least lesser known) beasties? I do, especially when the tale has some fun with its butchery.
From a technical standpoint, the film is a bit shaggy across the board, but there is so much enthusiasm and passion on display that it doesn’t matter. Once you toss on a good cast and some delightful practical effects work, you end up with what amounts to the modern version of a late ‘80s Empire International Pictures monster fest. All its missing is the old EIP (or early Full Moon) logo and the names Charles, Albert, and Richard Band in the credits somewhere. This is a good thing and so is Book of Monsters. Seek it out and open it at your earliest convenience, monster movie lovers!