Updated: Oct 23, 2021
My elementary school library had a set of movie monster books that absolutely fascinated me. They were on the bottom shelf on the right, in the middle of the wall. I would stare at them for ages. It was the old classics- Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Lon Chaney as the Wolf Man. Who-knows-who under all that stuff in The Creature from the Black Lagoon. King Kong, The Mummy, Godzilla, Frankenstein. Staring at a movie still of the wolf man snarling at the camera in full makeup is way scarier than the movie.
I hadn't thought about these in years until I made a list of my favorite books when I was a kid. I remember how much I loved being creeped out by them. I'm also aware that, as a school librarian for one year, reading books like this on a loop was something I had to fight the kids on. I would have liked for them to have totally free choice about their reading, but I had to make them get books for assignments. I kind of feel like a hypocrite now. I was reading trash when I was a kid, and I didn't even remember it.
It's the kind of mindless reading that grown-ups tend to hate, but I'm glad that I was allowed to wallow in the horror movie books. It was a way to be scared without really being scared, and an introduction to some classic movies. I was so excited when I first got Turner Classic Movies and could watch the whole movies. They didn't have the same punch that the books had when I was 8 or 9 years old, but it was still cool.
I was delighted to find these online when I began searching; I couldn't remember what they were called, but I found them in an image search on the first try. (I now know that it's Crestwood classic movie monsters books in an image search, if you're curious. If you ever read them, you'll likely remember the distinctive orange cover.)
I didn't know that these were so popular, but the tumblr Vorpalizer had a great post from a few years ago. Now that I think about it, those books must have checked out alot, because there were never very many there, but the library must have had a dozen. I believe that sometimes I went to get one and they were all checked out. I don't remember kids talking about them the way that we talked about some of the more popular series, so it was nice to read the tumblr post about another kid having a similar experience with these books.
I have no idea if these books are still around. I didn't find them on bookshop, but they're probably on ebay, but just for nostalgia.