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Horror! The Definitive Companion To The Most Terrifying Movies Ever Made Book Review

Horror! The Definitive Companion To The Most Terrifying Movies Ever Made Book

“Horror! The Definitive Companion To The Most Terrifying Movies Ever Made” is a solid overview of the horror film genre.

In order to cap off this week of horror media coverage, it seems only logical to end with a review of a book titled “Horror! The Definitive Companion To The Most Terrifying Movies Ever Made.” While ‘Horror!’ is far from definitive or comprehensive to the horror genre lovers, it serves as a good starting point for casual horror fans.

Written by Kim Newman and James Marriott (as well as other contributors), ‘Horror!’ chronicles the history of horror and horror cinema through its humble beginnings in literature, the silent era, the 30’s Universal monster period, the 50’s alien horror craze, famous literary adaptations, foreign horror, Hammer horror, groundbreaking 60’s films like “Psycho,” edgy 70’s horror, slasher hits of the 80’s, the up and down 90’s, the 00 torture porn fad, the zombie craze, the found footage explosion, etc. Basically, if a popular horror film was released between 1896-2013, chances are high that it is touched upon here.

As far as the set-up goes, the book covers the genre in chronological order by providing written history of each era/decade as well as capsule reviews of notable films from each era/decade. Scattered throughout the chapters are pieces that spotlight Dracula, mad scientists, Frankenstein, ghost stories, vampires, horror comics, Edgar Allan Poe, occult cinema, H.P. Lovecraft, Giallo, eco-horror, TV horror, urban paranoia, slashers, Stephen King, cannibalism, serial killers, horror comedy, werewolves, and, of course, zombies. Thankfully, the book also comes with a handy index. This is always a great inclusion.

For horror aficionados, there is little that would be considered new here. Aside from perhaps discovering a little known gem (I whole heartedly agree with their takes on “My Little Eye” and “Society”), ‘Horror!’ mainly offers up reviews of all the expected classics such as “The Shining,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Halloween,” “The Thing,” etc. Where the book really shines, for me at least, is seeing the evolution and trends of the horror genre (and its subgenres) over the course of one well researched 360 paged book. It really is rather mindblowing to see how the genre has grown, changed, and adapted to the ever changing culture.Of course, the same could be said for any film genre, but I think horror has really morphed the most over the past several decades.

About the only negative thing I can say about ‘Horror!” is that the writers could be a tad bit dismissive about certain films. For instance, I certainly didn’t agree with their assessments/slights of “Day of the Dead” and the “Friday the 13th” films. Of course, it goes without saying that everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Overall Thoughts: If you are looking to explore the horror genre more thoroughly, “Horror! The Definitive Companion To The Most Terrifying Movies Ever Made” provides a great sampling of films to check out. Recommended.

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October 31, 2014 - Posted by | Book review |

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