"Army of the Dead: The Making of the Film" Book Review
Written by Stuart D. Monroe
Published by Titan Books
Written by Peter Aperlo, Photography by Clay Enos
2021, 192 pages, Reference
Released on June 1st, 2021
Inevitably, I always ended up gravitating to those overly glossy, glorified fanzines for Star Wars, Batman, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You know the ones I’m talking about. They were slapped together books awash in full-color, full-page pictures. They simply covered the things you already knew about the movie/characters/action, but they always contained a couple of nuggets about how the film was made or possibly even where the action was headed in the next installment. They were books made by fanboys, for fanboys…and they called to you from the shelf closest to the register. You had to have them.
Titan Books is making steroidal, coffee table versions of those kinds of books for the grown-up fans that still can’t get enough of them. I count myself proudly amongst that group, for the record.
Right off the bat, I was impressed with the physical quality of Army of the Dead: The Making of the Film. The ads for Army of the Dead shown on television and in theaters featured plenty of stellar art that looked ready to be inked straight onto the skin, and virtually every page features something that draws the eye. The color scheme and layout are designed to make the book a showpiece as well as a swift read. Flow matters a lot in a coffee table book, and this one flows well. Sidebars galore explain the technical aspects of the gear, weapons, filming, training, and more.
The last third of the book covers the events of the film, and it’s the least compelling part of the reading. However, the format dictates that to a certain degree. What writer Peter Aperlo does with skill is cover the film in a way that still leaves enough to the imagination so that you’ll enjoy it if you read the book first. Why you would do that, I’m not sure. But I digress…
The highlight of Army of the Dead: The Making of the Film is the plethora of concept art throughout the 192 pages. I don’t know about you, but I’m a regular nut for concept art. It’s cool to see where the ideas started and how well they were executed once production began. The art for Zeus (the Alpha King) and Valentine (the zombie tiger) are straight up sick. There’s also an interesting sidebar with SFX legend Gabriel Bartalos (read my interview with the man himself here) about the making of Zeus’ zombie steed that you don’t want to miss.
In fact, that’s what really sets this book apart from its brethren – you’ll get deep and informative insight into Zack Snyder’s creative process and the ground-breaking scope of Army of the Dead. It’s not just a bunch of superficial (and already well-known info) about the creators, cast, and crew; there’s real meat on this sandwich, so to speak. Book whores like myself would be happy to fork out the asking price on this beauty because it is so gorgeous, but it’s a killer added bonus to get something more than the surface-level stuff out of the written content. I truly appreciate that.
Whether you’re an extreme Army of the Dead enthusiast or you just can’t get enough of dead sexy horror books for your office/entertainment space, Army of the Dead: The Making of the Film is a well-thought-out and damn fine looking addition to your collection that also tells you something you probably don’t know about a film that has become one of Netflix’s biggest ever and a director who knows how zombies should be done.
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