Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Shadows Over Florida, (Bear Manor Media), edited by David & Scott T. Goudsward

Shadows Over Florida is a thorough and comprehensive non-fictional account of Florida's film- making history and influence. The Goudsward brothers cover practically every fact, detail and nuance since the beginning of the 1900's onward.

Due to racial tensions, religious concerns and epidemics, Hollywood became the place to go to make a blockbuster. This didn't stop films from being made in Florida. From B-movies, grind-house flicks and exploitation films, to episodes of The X-Files, Dexter and Hollywood blockbusters like, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, and Lethal Weapon, Florida has and continues to be the place to shoot on location if you're on a tight budget.

Short stories, novels and the authors that penned them figure prominently and are chronicled as well. From such horror icons such as H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Douglas Clegg, (just to name just a few) we see the influence this unique state had on their fiction. For instance, the short story, "Cool Air" by, H.P. Lovecraft was inspired by, arguably, America's first air conditioning units which Florida implemented to combat Yellow Fever.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. This book is full of so many facts, incidents, and other fascinating topics that nothing could spoil the read. What makes the book so accessible is how the Goudsward brothers wrote it. Given it's usage of entries as opposed to conventional prose, you can read it straight through or look up favorite haunts thanks to alphabetical listings accompanied by a very keen index.

There's something in here for every fan of film and literature. Shadows Over Florida holds within its pages a flurry of not only critical insights into the film-making process, but also a look into the film-makers and authors alike whom this crazy state has influenced. Being a native Floridian myself, I thought I knew my home-state well. I was wrong and pleasantly surprised. Over and over again.

Buy it today.

Review by Ben Eads.

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