Stephen King, Wes Craven, and George Romero are known for tales of ghosts, zombies, and madmen – but their power as storytellers extends far beyond things that go bump in the night. At the deepest level, their stories are about the light that emerges from darkness, guarded hope for the future, and faith in the great unknown.
Beyond Fear by Joseph Maddrey draws on his decades of interviews to reveal the world views of three modern masters of horror: the romantic idealism of George Romero, the intellectual spirituality of Wes Craven, and the hard-won humanism of Stephen King.
Joseph Maddrey is the author of Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue and The Making of T.S. Eliot. He. Is also the co-author of Not Bad for a Human: The Life and Films of Lance Henriksen and the graphic novel, To Hell You Ride. He has also written and produced a variety of TV shows, including seven seasons of the Discovery Channel series, A Haunting. Joe lives in Studio City, California with his wife Liza and daughter Olivia.
"A rewarding an intelligent book, one that's guaranteed to enlighten as much as it entertains." - Tim Ferrante, Videoscope magazine (Fall 2014)
"What's really impressive about Maddrey's writing is how he makes you, the reader, feel for the material... There is such an underlining passion about each of the three subjects being critiqued." - Zac Thompson, bloody-disgusting.com (7/14)
"Maddrey writes sensitively and authoritatively about the creative process of these artists [and] goes much deeper than just discussing the ouevre: he exposes the souls of these artists for all to see... A truly engrossing read." - Jon Towlson, Starburst magazine (9/14)
"Fans of horror and sci-fi literature will undoubtedly enjoy Maddrey's keen ability to tap into some really interesting aspects of [Stephen] King's own fascinations as an author and I don't think you'll see a better examination of the prolific storyteller's career than what Maddrey does in Beyond Fear." - Heather Wixson, dailydead.com (8/14)
"Beyond Fear is winning stuff. The familiar material is presented concisely, but the section on [Wes] Craven gives the book its must-read status. By exploring the humanity and even the optimism found in the works of these three horror icons, Maddrey links their seemingly disparate horrors into a cohesive and compelling read." - Adam Clarke, Rue Morgue magazine (10/14)
Review from flickattack.com & bookgasm.com:
In naming his new book, Joseph Maddrey chose the wrong preposition: Beyond Fear is about fear. What the Bear Manor Media trade paperback is beyond is the usual quality of film bios seen in the indie-pub field — miles above, no less. The subtitle teases Reflections on Stephen King, Wes Craven, and George Romero’s Living Dead, which is to say essays about these terror titans’ lives and work, but imbued with threads of personality from Maddrey (perhaps best known for 2004’s Nightmares in Red, White and Blue and its subsequent 2009 documentary), all ridiculously readable. Romero actually represents just a smidge of the 336 pages, while Craven is more fleshed out, including a new-to-me nugget of how A Nightmare on Elm Street almost was made for Disney Channel. Clearly, Maddrey’s heart and soul lie with King, and it’s a testament to the volume that even if Romero and Craven’s parts were shaved away, your money still would be well-spent. He provides an enlightening encapsulation of the writer’s entire career — peaks, valleys and coke-fueled bumps — with particular attention paid to each novel’s germination. I devoured it like Constant Readers do King’s books.
Beyond Fear: Reflections on Stephen King, Wes Craven, and George Romero’s Living Dead by Joseph Maddrew.
Joseph Maddrey’s Beyond Fear is a serious studied work that recounts the fright entertainment output of three genre giants. The author presents his extensive research of past published interviews—as well as his own—and fashions a book of skillfully analyzed bios. It’s a fascinating read and would be a wise candidate as a requisite textbook in writing or filmmaking courses. Alas, due to its limited size, the opening act of George Romero is a scant 15 pages. It’s expertly concise, but when weighted against the comprehensive and absorbing material devoted to Wes Craven and Stephen King, you wish there were more. Nevertheless the book’s excellence becomes immediately clear with second act Craven, one of the two subjects who reference countless literary works and films that served as career mile markers. Maddrey begins at the beginning with the death of Craven’s father when Wes was four and his mother’s determined effort to shield her young son from the outside world. What follows give us sharp insight into what influenced such iconic films as Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes. It’s all told via the filmmaker’s own words and Maddrey’s thorough understanding of the ancillary literature and films The Craven section excels on every level; of special interest are the pages wherein the Nightmare on Elm Street films are discussed. The author saves the “best” for last, devoting nearly 200 pages to King. This section alone could easily have been a separate work. Like his colleagues, King has been an omnipresent horror master for decades. It’s substantive reading, thanks in no small part to Maddrey’s knowledge of all the external material and influences that King experienced and embraced (i.e., the films the societal worldview, Gothic stories, etc.). He augments King’s candid commentary perfectly while further exposing the deeper meanings of it all. There are no photos in Beyond Fear nor will you find gossipy moviemaking silliness. What you will find is a rewarding and intelligent book, one that’s guaranteed to enlighten as much as it entertains.