4 out of 5 stars

FrightFest and FAB Press have published the FrightFest Guide To Grindhouse Movies, the fifth in a series of books which dive into head-first into the world of genre cinema. Following on from the success of the FrightFest Guide To Exploitation Movies, the FrightFest Guide to Monster Movies, the FrightFest Guide To Ghost Movies and the FrightFest Guide To Werewolf Movies comes a new book written by the great Alan Jones – a man who knows all there is to know about genre movies. Jones is a leading UK film critic and broadcaster as well as being a driving force behind FrightFest, the UK’s acclaimed fantasy-horror festival and all its off-shoots. 

A pseudo-sequel of shorts to The FrightFest Guide To Exploitation Movies, the Guide To Grindhouse Movies is based on the reviews Jones kept in his film diaries between 1965 and 1981. Jones uses these diaries to delve deep into the exploitation films of the era, unveiling the shocking to the sublime and the sleazy to the schlocky. It’s a book filled with passion, knowledge and a real flair for helping sell its readers a whole slew of long forgotten and rarely seen films. 

Following a forward from Jane Giles, the author of Scala Cinema 1978-1993, the FrightFest Guide To Grindhouse Movies features a wonderful introduction from Alan Jones. The writer gives context to the films contained within the guide as well as going into great detail about when and where he saw many of the titles. It’s a wonderful way of giving us a look at Jones’ past as a burgeoning film buff, and you can almost smell the stale popcorn and cigarettes as he takes you to a variety of fleapits from Plymouth to London to New York and Los Angeles.

Films in the book range from obscure titles such as 1962’S Julius Caesar Against The Pirates to little seen films starring big names like Orson Welles (Necromancy, 1972) and Kirk Douglas (Cat & Mouse, 1974). Crime movies sit alongside teen movies, sex movies and horror movies as Jones digs into a whole generation of lost films.

A brilliant text to use as a starting point to educate yourself about a variety of films you’ve likely never seen, FrightFest Guide To Grindhouse Movies is a book which will lead you on a cinematic journey where only a few like Alan Jones have ever been brave enough to venture.