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Trick or TreatTRICK OR TREAT?: A HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN, published by Reaktion Books in October 2012.

Every year, children and adults alike take to the streets dressed as witches, demons, animals, celebrities, and more. They carve pumpkins and play pranks, and the braver ones watch scary movies and go on ghost tours. There are parades, fireworks displays, cornfield mazes, and haunted houses—and, most important, copious amounts of bite-sized candy. The popularity of Halloween has spread around the globe to places as diverse as Russia, China, and Japan, but its association with death and the supernatural and its inevitable commercialization has made it one of our most misunderstood holidays. How did it become what it is today? In Trick or Treat, Halloween aficionado Lisa Morton provides a thorough history of this spooky day. She begins by looking at how holidays like the Celtic Samhain, a Gaelic harvest festival, have blended with the British Guy Fawkes Day and the Catholic All Souls’ Day to produce the modern Halloween, and she explains how the holiday was reborn in America, where costumes and trick-or-treat rituals have become new customs. Morton takes into account the influence of related but independent holidays, especially the Mexican Day of the Dead, as well as the explosion in popularity of haunted attractions and the impact of such events as 9/11 and the economic recession on the celebration today. Trick or Treat also examines the effect Halloween has had on popular culture through the literary works of Washington Irving and Ray Bradbury, films like Halloween and The Nightmare Before Christmas, and television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Simpsons. Considering the holiday in the context of its worldwide popularity for the first time, this book will be a treat for any Halloween lover. Includes both color and black and white illustrations, references, bibliography, and index.

Winner of the 2012 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Non-fiction, presented by the Horror Writers Association.

Winner of the Grand Prize at the 2012 Halloween Book Festival.

"Morton is an accomplished horror short story writer, and her ability to draw readers in quickly and keep them turning the pages shines through in her nonfiction as well. Lavishly illustrated, this solidly researched and concise work is fun to read and a great choice for readers who want to know why we seek out the scary each October." - Becky Spratford, Library Journal

"Like a candy bag full of historical nuggets and strange folklore, Lisa Morton's Trick or Treat? A History of Halloween is the perfect bible for all devoted disciples of the holiday." - Michael Dougherty, Writer & Director, Trick 'r Treat

"In a modern world, increasingly filled with pop culture fads and gimmicks, Lisa Morton reveals much of the underbelly history and unknown facts regarding the biggest pop culture event in history - Halloween. Her sheer delight and well-researched enthusiasm in tackling many of the unrecognized aspects of this monstrous topic makes one wonder what we don't know about everything else that should be as commonplace to our psyche as a bag of candy." - Del Howison, Bram Stoker Award-winning editor of Dark Delicacies and Book of Lists: Horror

"With Trick or Treat Lisa Morton gives us a charming, creepy, insightful and thoroughly fascinating history of Halloween. It's a delicious blend of cultural history and pop-culture savvy that is a true delight to read!" - Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of Flesh & Bone and Assassin's Code

"This is an excellent survey of the Hallowe'en scene, informative and accessible, far more treat than trick." - Kim Newman, author of Nightmare Movies and Anno Dracula

"Simply the best book about Halloween I have ever read and if you are a fan of the holiday like I am, this is a must add to your library!" - Tim Janson, Mania.com


halency2nd.jpg - 10468 BytesTHE HALLOWEEN ENCYCLOPEDIA 2nd Edition, published by McFarland in Spring 2011.

Now updated to 2010, this second edition includes more than 50 new entries, covering subjects ranging from Folk Art to African American legends. Many existing entries have been expanded and revised, with new entries ("Chronology of Halloween" and "Halloween in Literature and the Arts") in both appendices. Also featured are more than a dozen new illustrations, and an expanded bibliography.

"This updated edition of THE HALLOWEEN ENCYCLOPEDIA convincingly succeeds the earlier version of Morton's work. While libraries holding the first edition are ably served by its contents, Morton impressively expands the scope of her work to make the second edition the preferred version to have on the shelves." - Greg Matthews
Reference Reviews, January 2013 (Volume 26.5)
"...an impressive number of primary sources...notable for its inclusion of lesser-known historical festivals and celebrations from which many modern-day Halloween traditions have been derived...A well-written resource that will appeal to both students and adults curious about this autumnal celebration." - Jennifer Michaelson
Library Journal, April 15, 2011 (Volume 136, Number 7)


SAVAGE DETOURS: THE LIFE AND WORK OF ANN SAVAGE, published by McFarland in March 2010. This is the first book-length study of the career and life of Ann Savage, whose performance in Detour earned her a place in Time Magazine’s list of the top 10 greatest movie villains. The biography covers her abused childhood and her career as a studio contract player, pin-up queen, B movie star, jetsetter and award-winning aviatrix. A complete annotated filmography with release date, credits, cast, synopsis and commentary for each of her films is included.

The book includes 85 photographs, two appendices of Detour materials, and a foreword by director Guy Maddin (My Winnipeg).

Savage Detours was named one of the best books of 2010 by Classic Images' Laura Wagner

"...SAVAGE DETOURS is not only a good look at the actress and her work, but also at the B-movie industry in the '40s and the life of the studio contract player. Briskly written, never dull or stodgy, it's an entertaining and informative read." - Michael Cornett
Scarlet, Autumn 2010 (Issue #6)

"SAVAGE DETOURS: THE LIFE AND WORK OF ANN SAVAGE by Lisa Morton and Kent Adamson is the book that belongs in the library of every film noir fan. It reveals the challenging life of a tough cookie who took her work very seriously, even though, for many years, she was the only one who did..." - Monica Sullivan
(Movie Magazine International)

"SAVAGE DETOURS is a gem for fans of film noir, Ann Savage, the history of Hollywood B-films, and the film DETOUR. It’s full off insights and inside information." - Matt Dukes Jordan
(Pulp Metal Magazine)

"I love this book...the biography section is exceptional. The writing throughout is honest but also warm and appreciative...the photos are simply mouthwatering...extraordinary work by the authors...I cannot rave enough. I'm in love with the idea of a book about the tremendous Ann Savage, one of my very favorites, but tickled that it's actually a wonderful, worthwhile book." - Laura Wagner
(Classic Images November 2010, No. 425)

"The unforgettable femme fatale of Edgar Ulmer’s B-movie noir Detour, Savage had a largely undistinguished and somewhat frustrating screen career, but an interesting life, with an unexpected screen comeback (in a film by Guy Maddin) as her finale. The authors got to know her in later years and conducted multiple interviews to piece together that story, which is told in a brisk biography, accompanied by a detailed filmography with commentary on each picture, and a copy of the original screenplay for Detour with Savage’s script notes." - Leonard Maltin
(Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy)


A HALLOWE'EN ANTHOLOGY: LITERARY AND HISTORICAL WRITINGS OVER THE CENTURIES, published by McFarland in Spring 2008. This unique anthology gathers together some of the most intriguing and useful works on the history of Halloween. Ranging from pre–Christian Celtic myths to early 20th century articles, the book’s 27 entries include poems, short stories, sections from 19th and 20th century folklore books, a one-act play, Irish and Scottish folk tales, and the first book on the holiday ever published.

Noted works contained in the anthology include William Wells Newell’s 1904 study of the history of Jack-o’-lantern legends in “The Ignis Fatuus” and Alexander Montgomerie’s oft-quoted 1584 poem “Flyting Against Polwart.” Organized chronologically, most works are presented in their entirety and many include extensive annotations designed to make the original source materials more meaningful for modern readers. The book also includes 34 vintage photographs and illustrations.

Winner of the 2008 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Nonfiction, presented by the Horror Writers Association.

Nominated for the 2008 Black Quill Award for "BEST DARK GENRE BOOK OF NON-FICTION", presented by Dark Scribe Magazine.

"Wikipedia is awesome, but we still need books...[collects] as complete an anthology as can be found of original mterial related to our favorite fest...for deeper understanding of the folklore, customs and literature related to October 31, this anthology is a must-have all year round." - Liisa Ladouceur
(Rue Morgue Magazine Number 83, October 2008)

"...Morton takes us on a fantastic journey through the evolution of Halloween. The book’s twenty-seven entries are an exquisite, thoughtfully selected arrangement...A HALLOWE’EN ANTHOLOGY is not simply for adults, but could easily be shared with children of any age, reigniting the tradition of storytelling so lacking in today’s modern home...For anyone who enjoys Halloween, I highly recommend selecting this book as part of your holiday reading..." - Gabrielle Faust
(FearZone.com, October 30th, 2008)

"...presents a wealth of Halloween background and lore that includes astonishingly beautiful photo reproductions of Halloween artwork...This Halloween compendium is a magnificent achievement..." - J. L. Comeau
(Creature Feature Tomb of Horror)


halloweenbookcover.jpg - 10468 BytesTHE HALLOWEEN ENCYCLOPEDIA, published by McFarland in Fall 2003. The concept of Halloween as a holiday and cultural phenomenon worthy of serious study is only a few decades old, and only since the mid–1980s have scholars started to accept that Halloween’s place in modern society (especially in American society) goes beyond horror fiction and children’s books. The first book devoted solely to Halloween was published just over a century ago, and now, Halloween has its own encyclopedia.

Major entries include Samhain, the Celtic ancestor of Halloween; witches, a major Christian addition to the mythology of Halloween and one that still generates interest and controversy; skeletons, a universally recognized symbol of death; the Day of the Dead, the Mexican holiday that is often compared to Halloween; the jack-o’-lantern, which has its roots in folktales starring the rascally Jack who always manages somehow to beat the Devil; and trick-or-treating, the most loved and misunderstood American Halloween ritual. Hundreds of small entries cover Halloween history and mythology, fortune-telling lore, harvest legends, and 20th century additions to the holiday’s rituals.

"...Morton's research extends to Wiccan lore, Celtic observances, and Christian mythology...she writes enthusiastically about folk customs and is sensitive to the controversies surrounding horror literature, witchcraft, and demonism. Without undue pedantry, she explains the house-to-house souling pilgrimage, the incorporation of cabbages in Scottish holidays, the source of the boogeyman in bogs, and the lengthy training of Druid priests...this generously illustrated and indexed overview is a worthy addition to public and school libraries as well as the reference shelves of journalists and leaders of community events."
(Booklist Reference Books Bulletin Volume 100, Number 14, March 15, 2004)

"...Lisa Morton's tome is chock full of interesting facts...adroitly written and impressively researched, the encyclopedia draws on a myriad of works - folklore collections, Catholic and Irish histories, scholarly studies of paganism and witchcraft, newspaper accounts - to cover an impressive range of subjects..."
(Brutarian Quarterly Number 42, Summer, 2004)

"Lisa Morton has captured the 'spirit' of this 'hallowed' holiday in her new book. Herein, she's covered every angle (cultural, pop-cultural, historical, spiritual, and traditional 'harvest') of Halloween...Read this book to become an expert on the topic of Halloween!...This isn't just another stale piece of candy. Monster lovers like me, who love Halloween, will find this is one well worthwhile ." - Allen A. Debus
(Scary Monsters Magazine Fall 2003)

"...wonderful images of Halloween...Appendices also add an important and useful element...a well-researched and well-developed work. Not only covering the popular culture's impact on the current holiday, but also exploring how folk traditions from various cultures have woven together to become the holiday we celebrate today...a must have for public libraries." - Tim Daniels
(Emerald Reference Reviews Vol. 18, No.2, March 2008)

freereads.jpg - 1774 BytesClick here to read excerpts from THE HALLOWEEN ENCYCLOPEDIA!


tsuibook.jpg - 8565 BytesTHE CINEMA OF TSUI HARK, published by McFarland and Co. publishers in fall of 2001 (reissued in 2009 in trade paperback). A complete critical overview of the works of the ultimate Hong Kong auteur, emphasizing such seminal films as Peking Opera Blues, Once Upon a Time in China and A Chinese Ghost Story. Includes extensive interviews with Tsui, illustrations, and more. For further information, check out this Tsui Hark web site.

"...a labor of love...provides a thorough look...Morton writes with great passion, providing a worthy analysis of the director's filmography that accurately relays the sense-heightening thrills of Tsui's best work...succeeds in offering a fine profile of a remarkable talent." - John Charles
(Video Watchdog magazine #88, October 2002)
"If I were forced to make a list of my favorite Hong Kong movies, titles like Iron Monkey, Time and Tide, Black Mask and the Once Upon a Time in China series would be included. All these have in common the involvement of writer/director/producer Tsui Hark, one of the most creative filmmakers not only in his homeland, but all the world. Morton clearly has a love for her subject, which gives her book a sense of energy, but thankfully never treads into ass-kissing. It begins with an essay that serves as a nice overview to Hark and his wildly varied career. The majority of the book is taken up by analyses of each film, but the real meat is a lengthy Q&A with Hark himself. He seems like a smart guy (so one wonders why he said yes to Van Damme twice) and Morton takes a similar approach with her well-written book - a must for Hark and HK film fans."
(Hitch magazine #29, Spring 2002)
"A must for Asian-Cinema buffs, Morton's tome offers a thorough, impassioned exploration of prolific producer/director/writer/actor Tsui (Peking Opera Blues, Once Upon a Time in China) Hark's major and minor films, along with a brief bio and running commentary by the man himself."
(VideoScope magazine #41, Winter 2002)
"...Lisa Morton's book is a valuable introduction to the films of Tsui Hark and it is indispensable for any future studies." - Tony Williams
(Film Quarterly magazine Vol. 56 No. 1, Fall 2002)

freereads.jpg - 1774 BytesClick here to read more writings on Asian film, including "Why Tsui Hark Matters"