I packed up these eBooks onto my iPad before heading to Japan--although I ordered them through the Kindle Store on Amazon. I was surprised to find so many digital titles available for horror movies. A few of these I also have in print format, but decided to go lighter on my luggage. Downloading them to my iPad was quick and easy.
Now, if anyone can recommend an efficient way of jotting down notes while reading on an iPad, I'd appreciate it. I still haven't gotten the hang of that yet, but having one gadget to read so many books is still the cat's meow.
Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda by Peter H. Brothers. Ignore the annoying typos and grammatical faux pas: Brothers' book provides an interesting and informative glimpse into the man who brought Godzilla to life and the monster movies that followed. (Dennis Fischer's review on Cinefantastique is a good rundown of the book.)
Richard Matheson on Screen: A History of the Filmed Works by Matthew R. Bradley. I had already picked this up in hardcover, but having it on my iPad made it easier to carry around and read while traveling. Bradley's book is essential reading for every horror fan: Richard Matheson's influencial writing has appeared on screen, both small and tall, and television. (Read John Kenneth Muir's review of the book, and ZC secret agent Chindi sends along this link as an appetizer: Richard Matheson--Storyteller: The Curtis Years).
Music in the Horror Film: Listening to Fear by Neil Lerner. Let 's face it, how many of you actually pay attention to the music in a horror movie? I know you hear it, but do you really understand why it works the way it does (or doesn't)? Lerner brings together a collection of essays that note the sounds of fear, making any tin ear more appreciative of how music riles up the savage beast or grates on your nerves in all the right places to enhance the horror effect. (Here's the Gothic Imagination's review.)
Horror Film Aesthetics: Creating the Visual Language of Fear by Thomas M. Sipos. Ever notice how calling a movie a film makes it sound much more important and academic? I suppose it helps when discussing horror movies--I mean films--especially their visual language. Some critics will argue horror films don't have any aesthetics, but armed with Sipos' book, you can easily show them otherwise. I already had this book in print format, but didn't want to leave it at home while I traveled. There's much to reread here and absorb over time. Agree or not, you'll still find the discussion interesting and enlightening, once you get past the rambling first chapter on what a horror movie--sorry, I mean film--is. Don't get me wrong: the first chapter is very good, but it's broad and unstructured in scope as Sipos tosses in everything minus the kitchen sink to define his perspective. (Here's Theofantastique's review.)
Ghouls, Gimmicks, and Gold: Horror Films and the American Movie Business, 1953-1968 by Kevin Heffernan. Even if you call them films instead of movies, they're made to make money first, and art--sometimes--second. Heffernan brings that point home as he discusses the financial necessities that shaped the horror genre. I also have this one in print, but I like to carry it around to refer to every now and then. With it in eBook format, that makes it all the easier to do.
H.P. Lovecraft: The Ultimate Collection: 101 Stories, 45 Poems, Biography, and Bibliography in One Volume. What can I say? This is Lovecraft, baby.
There's a ton or so more of eBooks you should consider, but these are the ones I decided to take with me to Japan. If you have other recommendations, please let us know in the comments section.