Retro Pop Culture A-Z

Just found out that Brett Weiss, author of The Classic Home Arcade Game series has released a new ebook that will certainly interest us Retroist readers. It is called Retro Pop Culture A-Z: From The Atari 2600 to Zombie Films.

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Hey Brett, you had me at Atari 2600! Seriously, I haven’t read this book yet, but I loved Weiss’ previous series and I’m sure I’ll love this one as well. Here’s the Amazon.com description:

Retro Pop Culture A-Z: From the Atari 2600 to Zombie Films is a window to the past—a time of 8-bit video games, Silver Age super-heroes, Saturday morning cartoons, rock ’n’ roll music, and scary movies at the drive-in.

The book includes 60 fun-filled, feature-length chapters on such icons of popular culture as Alien, the Batman TV show, the Beatles, Dynamite Magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland, The Flash, Forbidden Planet, Golden Age arcade games, He-Man, the Intellivision, Jaws, MAD magazine, the Nintendo NES, Ray Bradbury, The Wizard of Oz, and the X-Men.

If you’ve ever stayed up all night trying to beat Super Mario Bros., dressed up as a member of KISS on Halloween, watched Thundarr the Barbarian while eating a bowl of sugary cereal, set a VCR to record your favorite show, or listened to Elvis or the Rolling Stones on a turntable or 8-track tape player, Retro Pop Culture A-Z is for you.

If you haven’t done any of these things, no problem—feel free to dive right in and discover why your parents (or grandparents) are always talking about “the good old days.”

Includes:

*60 essays/articles on nostalgic pop culture favorites
*More than 250 full-color photos
*More than 110,000 words
*Quotes from the experts
*Production histories
*Collectibles pricing
*Author anecdotes
*And much more!

If you want to check out Retro Pop Culture A to Z, you can get it for $4.99 here.

From The Blob to Star Wars: The Science Fiction Movie Quiz Book

I don’t remember exactly when I got this book, but I remember I got it new, probably from the school’s book club. From The Blob to Star Wars: The Science Fiction Movie Quiz Book was released in 1977 and covers tons of science fiction films from the 50s, 60s and 70s. I am looking forward to breaking this book out during the holiday season and quizzing family members about their science fiction knowledge!

The Better Days Vintage Halloween Reader

The Better Days Book Vintage Halloween Reader is a collection of older Halloween writings. It contains Ruth Edna Kelley’s The Book of Halloween, as well as another set of what look to be magazine articles about the history and/or practices of Halloween. It follows that with several older articles about how to celebrate Halloween, some Halloween fiction, and some Halloween sheet music.
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This book was interesting to me for a few reasons. One is that I hadn’t found the fiction in this book anywhere else. Another is that it gave me a deeper glimpse into Halloween, a glimpse into Halloween as it was understood and celebrated by long ago generations. The third, and biggest, was that the book contains a lot of old Halloween imagery. The text is full of very old pictures. These pictures reminded me of the postcards Metagirl posts here and were too fun to pass up.
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I understand Halloween to be in large part about coming in contact with older days and people. If that is how you understand it as well, this book may help you celebrate it. You can get it from Amazon.com here.

Halloween by Curtis Richards

Is Michael Myers a boogeyman who commits random acts of violence without reason? Or is he a family annihilator who is trying to eliminate his bloodline? That’s a question which divides the many fans of John Carpenter’s classic horror/Halloween movie Halloween. It’s also a question that is further complicated by Curtis Richard’s 1979 novelization of that film.

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The Halloween novelization pretty much follows the basic beats of the classic movie. However, it does so very quickly. It skims over those beats, actually? Why? Because it spends a lot of its time creating things that didn’t happen in the movie. There is a prologue about an ancient Irish teen who kills his would-be lover and her suitor. This prologue suggests that Michael Myers is possessed by the soul of this Irish teen or is perhaps a reincarnation of him. Then there is a chapter in which Michael’s mother tells her mother that Michael is hearing voices, only for her mother to tell a story about Michael’s great-grandfather who also heard voices and ended up killing people.

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And if those two chapters don’t totally destroy the movie, there is something else in the novelization that does. We get into Michael’s head. We hear his thoughts. This does two things. First, it shows that he is thinking, not just plotting to kill. Secondly, it shows that he lusts, as some of his thoughts are sexual in nature. In my opinion, both of those things completely destroy either of the two prevalent understandings of Michael Myers.

Halloween3Still, I wasn’t completely unhappy with the novelization. It does what it should do. It gives us another taste of a movie we love. And that’s a pretty good thing, even if its depiction of Michael Myers isn’t.

BTW, this novelization is out of print and will cost a lot of money on Amazon or Ebay. There are also novelizations of the other Halloween films.