As the holidays approach, many of us wish we’d had the time to watch all those movies and TV shows that people have been talking about all year. With so many great things appearing on the big and small screens, it’s easy to forget about how many books there are waiting to be read, too. But not just any books; I’m talking about those which would make the perfect side dish to your main course of movie and TV entrees (or vice versa, if you prefer).
Here are four book and Blu-ray/DVD combo meals to whet your appetite.
True Detective, Season 2 DVD/Blu-Ray and James Ellroy’s White Jazz: While folks are still divided on whether or not True Detective Season 2 was on par with the HBO show’s first season, I still think it’s worth watching (and rewatching) not only for its complex narrative and the terrific acting of the cast, but also because it is the spiritual brethren to the Los Angeles noir fiction of James Ellroy. To get a good feel for the seedy underbelly of L.A. that seems to have inspired the show, check out Ellroy’s White Jazz. True Detective Season 2 won’t hit shelves until January 5, 2016, so you’ve got time to read this gripping fourth installment of Ellroy’s L.A. Quartet before then. (White Jazz on Amazon.ca; Pre-order True Detective Season 2 on Amazon.ca)
Dark Places DVD/Blu-Ray and Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places novel: For many people, Gone Girl (in book and film form) was their introduction to the twisted darkness of Gillian Flynn. Dark Places was published in 2009 and is possibly even more brilliantly bleak than Gone Girl. The movie version, starring Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult and directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, didn’t score high with critics, but is worth watching in tandem with the novel. And for more on the Satanic Panic referenced in both versions, you might check out Spectacular Optical’s Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s (full disclosure: I contributed a chapter to this book). (Dark Places book on Amazon.ca; Dark Places movie on Amazon.ca)
Legend, starring Tom Hardy and John Pearson’s The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins: Tom Hardy made quite a splash in the recent film Legend thanks to his dual performances as Reggie and Ronnie Kray, the infamous London criminals from the 1960s, who also happened to be twins. The film screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and is currently in theaters. For a more in-depth look at the Krays evil exploits, check out John Pearson’s book, The Profession of Violence, published in 1995 and available for a steal for your Kindle. (The Profession of Violence on Amazon.ca)
Hannibal, Season 3 Blu-Ray/DVD and Thomas Harris’s Hannibal books: Hannibal Lecter is one of the most enticingly evil characters in pop culture. First portrayed by Bryan Cox in the 1986 film Manhunter, it is the Anthony Hopkins personification that is most well-known. Make room for Mads Mikkelsen, folks! The Hannibal Lecter-verse was re-imagined for TV by Bryan Fuller and populated by Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Laurence Fishburne, Caroline Dhavernas, Gilian Anderson, Scott Thompson (yes, that one), Aaron Abrams, and so many more. Though it only lasted three seasons, it is already legendary among horror fans and Harris fans alike. It’s out on home video December 8. All four of the Thomas Harris novels are still in print, so you can take notes and compare: Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and (the unfairly maligned) Hannibal Rising. (Hannibal, Season 3 on Amazon.ca; Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Hannibal Rising on Amazon.ca)