Horror movies don’t get much respect. They’re seen as the bastard stepchildren of cinema, bound, chained, and consigned to the basement, but oh how thrilling when they break out of their prison on the dark and stormy night.
Audiences love them but Hollywood treats them as cheap thrills and a directorial stepping stone to legitimacy. For a genre that gets little respect, it has a long and storied history and the profitability of some of the films have greatly boosted the coffers of many a studio.
After a brief look at Universal monsters and Hammer horrors (maybe too brief) we dig into the modern classics beginning with the twisted extracurricular activities of Ed Gein that would inspire Robert Bloch then Alfred Hitchcock and cause movie audiences to fear showers.
The bloody inspirations of Blood Feast that would coat the cinema in red for years to come, the living dead of George Romero, the devilish doings of William Friedkin and Roman Polanski, hockey masks and razor fingered gloves, and how a youth called Spielberg kept us out of the water.
Each chapter is written in a breezy yet informative style and a delight to curl up with a cup of warm blood. Some of the more modern films may not have been around long enough to earn a true classic card, but audiences have certainly eaten them up.
If you’re looking for a perfect stocking stuffer for your horror loving pals, this might fit the bill – just take the severed foot out of the stocking before putting the book in.