Category Archives: Reviews

Review: True Crime Detective Magazines

True Crime Detective Magazines

Hanson, Dian (ED)
Godtland, Eric (author)
Published by Taschen Books
Hardcover, 23.2 x 27 cm (9.1 x 10.6 in.), 336 pages, $ 39.99

ISBN: 978-3-8228-2559-4
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German

Review by Drake

Thank you, god or goddess or blind chance, for Taschen Books and Dian Hanson, editor and visionary!

Gorgeous printing, a keen eye, and a stunning sense of design characterize the growing Taschen catalog of essential books on popular culture. One of the latest, the plainly titled, but beautiful True Crime Detective Magazines, by Eric Godtland, captures a stunningly iconic era of art and an evolving slice of the American psyche.

Well and succinctly written, the volume features brief essays on fetishes – bondage and smoking —  and then launches into a decade by decade analysis of America’s fascination with bad guys, and especially with bad girls. The 30s were the decade of the celebrity gangster, the 40s of bondage and rescue, the 50s the decade of the femme fatale reinvented as gang deb, and the 60s, of course, the decade of excess, the beginning of the end of innocence.

Marc Gerald contributes a warm essay on the final years of True Detective, the most venerable of true crime mags, and the volume concludes with biographies of artists and writers and a list of publishers. The content is uniformly entertainingly and insightful.

But the fine text is only the package in which the present is wrapped. Like other Taschen volumes, this one is a visual feast, featuring gorgeous color cover reproductions of dozens of magazines from the 20s through the 60s and a few internal pages, selected with impeccable taste and an eye for innovation and beauty. The images are breathtaking, narrative, and enormously fun.

If a book like True Crime has a flaw, the flaw is that the best a book like this can be is a peek into the antechamber of a vast palace of wonders wholly out of reach without at least an eBay strategy. Taschen deserves huge credit for what it has done so far to preserve art and culture that would otherwise be lost, at least to popular perspective.

I certainly look forward to more amazing books in the future.

A Century of Dark Imagination – Conclusion

So we come to the last days before Halloween, a holiday that, whatever its origins, exists now as a celebration of imagination, the frisson of the unknown that survives our childhoods and gives us so many pleasant shivers.
Here are the films Drake and I chose from each decade in one easy-to-read list. If you watch any of them, I would love to hear your reactions.

Keep in mind this is the time to check out your listings for Turner Classic Movies, American Movie Classics, Chiller, IFC (Independent Film Channel), and SciFi Network!  There are some great horror movie marathons coming up!


1896 – 1910

Drake: The films of George Melies

1910 – 1919
Drake: The Student of Prague

1920 – 1929
Angela: Nosferatu
Drake: Haxan

1930 – 1939
Angela: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Drake: The Mummy

1940 – 1949
Angela: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Drake: I Walked with a Zombie

1950 – 1959
Angela: I Married a Monster from Outer Space
Drake: Night of the Demon

1960 – 1969
Angela: The Haunting
Drake: Night of the Living Dead

1970 – 1979
Angela: Alien
Drake: Shivers

1980 – 1989
Angela: Poltergeist
Drake: The Howling

1990 – 1999
Angela: Army of Darkness
Drake: Audition

2000 – 2008
Angela: Ginger Snaps
Drake: Brotherhood of the Wolf

Have a happy and sexy Halloween!