Hardcover, 136 pages, $14.99
Reviewed by Steve Vernon
There’s something strangely comforting in a snazzy coffee table book, especially one that specializes in a smorgasbord of spooky factoids. In fact this entire volume felt like a trip to the local Chinese buffet table. I’m not talking about the standard Chinese buffet with egg rolls, sweet and sour balls and werewolf-friendly beef chow mein. I’m talking about one of those authentic no-holds-barred groaning board creations that include such esoteric Oriental tidbits as deep fried goldfish, chicken feet , frog legs and fresh candied squid.
Encyclopedia Horrifica is a well-stuffed skim through the supernatural and the paranormal. The book is put together as if the pages were lifted from the filing cabinet of a slightly crazed and absolutely obsessed investigator of psychic phenomena. In my opinion the psychic investigator gag wears a little thin by the end of the collection, but aside from that little gimmick the book is both entertaining and fascinating.
So what does the book cover? How about topics as varied as Dracula, sea serpents, pickled dragons, vampire killing techniques, the Feejee Mermaid, crop circles, the Tasmanian wolf, ghosts in all sheets and sizes, the Bell Witch, ESP, Lovecraft, zombies, faeries, mummies, cursed forests, fear and death.
And that’s just for starters.
The pages are crammed full of colourful and interesting illustrations and the author has strained his imagination to the breaking point stringing connections between the wildest of tangents. Not to mention the end pages which is worthy of an entire chapter itself.
This book is tailor made for a thirteen year old with a healthy active imagination who yearns to find out that there is a little more to this world than what you usually see on the Discovery Channel but I guarantee that even you adults will want to pick and poke your way through these jam packed pages.
I recommend it for a light hearted diversion. Place it on your bed stand or any where else you might do some semi-serious reading.
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