Review

Review

Book Review: 'Too Much Horror Business: The Kirk Hammett Collection'

up
204

Have you ever said to yourself “When I get rich, I'm gonna go out and buy all the cool toys, comics, model kits and other neat stuff I couldn't afford growing up?” Of course you have. Kirk Hammett obviously had that dream, and he also happens to have the megabucks to make it come true, damn it.

 
 
So unless you've been living on Mars for the last quarter-century (and if you have, be sure to high-five the Curiosity rover for me), you probably know about Hammett, lead guitarist for Metallica and a living legend among classic rock and metal fans. But we're also horror buffs here, and we just love it when the worlds of music and horror merge... and you know what? So does Hammett. It just so happens that Kirk is one of the world's leading collectors of vintage horror memorabilia. He's already well-known for capturing beautiful images of the Universal Monsters (The Mummy is a particular favorite) and other super-creeps upon his guitars, and back in 2010 he announced the intention to publish a coffee-table book of glorious photographs documenting his entire collection. That day has finally arrived, just in time for Halloween... and damn, this book is like Halloween concentrate: taking it in all at once could lead to a lethal overdose of awesome.
 
 
If you attended this year's Comic-Con, you may have seen a sizable glimpse of the amazing items featured in this book, which Kirk displayed in his booth along with a gallery of amazing masks, posters, one-of-a-kind figures and busts of horror stars, vintage toys, model kits and artwork, as well as his own original line of toys called the “Kirk Von Hammett Collection” that includes a cute little zombie version of Kirk himself (check out the KVH site here). That's all awesome as hell, but the book's intimate glimpse of Hammett's private collection – photographed in pristine detail by Mark Leialoha and Joe Gibbs and weighing in at 228 oversize hardbound pages – will really blow your eyes through the back of your skull and turn you Godzilla-green with fan envy. It doesn't matter if you've never heard a single note of Metallica's classic repertoire (although it would make you way cooler if you did); this collection is horror heaven on earth.
 
 
Believe it or not, the book's appeal is not just about the groovy stuff on display; through multiple interview sessions with Steffan Chirazi, Hammett ties together the hundreds of spectacular images (all broken down into well-arranged topical sections against a classy black background) with in-depth personal accounts of his intense love for all things horror – dating back to his first experiences with the genre as a “monster kid” in the '60s, devouring Famous Monsters and horror comics at a time when classic horror films were experiencing a revival, but the new horror movies of the time were not considered legit cinema and thus demoted to grindhouses and drive-ins. That didn't stop young Kirk, of course, who devoured all things horror anywhere and everywhere he could find it. His tales bring us all the way to present day, discussing the diversity of modern horror media, commenting on more recent flicks (he lists Insidious as one of the scariest), and muses on the genre's eternal staying power. This cat knows what he's talking about, and he expresses himself eloquently, both as a solid writer and a passionate fan, with a dash of wicked humor and personal philosophy.
 
 
Hammett also proves his vast knowledge of every aspect of the genre as he virtually walks you though the fantastic displays, revealing the history behind such priceless, one-of-a-kind gems as Boris Karloff's wardrobe from the The Black Cat, the only known lobby card in existence for the lost Lon Chaney film London After Midnight, and Bela Lugosi's personal copy of the Dracula script... including the actor's own handwritten notes! Between the detailed accounts of each item's acquisition (sometimes after a lengthy bidding battle over valuable rare pieces), and the spectacular photos, you'd better be careful not to drool on the pages... maybe they should have included a free towel with every purchase.
 
 
Too Much Horror Business is now available though most booksellers, or you can get it directly from Metallica's official site. It currently sells for around thirty bucks, so it's well within the reach of even the most modest fan budget... therefore you have no excuses. Get your paws on this book pronto. Seriously, go do it now, before they're all gone and this thing becomes a high-dollar collector's item itself.
<none>