Horror Movie Freak
Don Sumner

Krause Publications
255 pgs, $19.99
Review by Brian M. Sammons

This book is a bit hard to describe accurately. It’s sort of like a coffee table book, but it’s not as large or showy as those books. It’s sort of a reference book, although it’s kind of light and breezy to be a “serious” book. What is certain about this book is that it collects a very wide variety of over 130 horror movies from the classics to the surprisingly very modern. Each entry has lots of nice photographs, most in color, and a one or two page write up by the author on why the movie is a “must see” for horror fans. However, it is in this last regard that I did some head-scratching.

If you are a diehard, big time horrorhead, like I am, then this book will offer nothing new to you. Not once did the author ever surprise me with a “wow, that’s a new one,” or a “hmm, I haven’t thought of that flick in years,” or even a “neat, that was an unexpected addition to the book.” Now that could just be because I’m an overly obsessive horror fan from way back, but if this book wasn’t made for obsessive horror fans, I’ve got to wonder who it was written for? Perhaps the uninitiated? If that’s the case then neophytes to the horror genre are sure to find tons of great titles here that upon watching are sure to give them a passing grade in Horror Movies 101. But being as I am a big time horror nerd, did that mean I didn’t like this book or was bored by it?

Hell no, I loved it.

True, there was nothing new in Horror Movie Freak for me, but you know what else isn’t new? Old friends, and that’s exactly what this book was like, a nice, fun visit with old, bloody, axe wielding, goo-dripping friends. Each entry is well written in a style that mixes the informative and the entertaining. Further, while the old standbys and classics are covered, it was nice to see some attention paid to some of the lesser known modern films like Slither, Frailty, Splinter, and Dead Silence. Although there were a few movies that I thought for sure would be in the book and wasn’t. The amazing Session 9 jumps quickly to mind.

The book is arranged in an easy to follow way, with chapters like Classics, Ghost Stories, Homicidal Slashers, Zombies, Foreign Horrors, and even a chapter for every horror fan’s favorite punching bag: Remakes. Further, to spice things up, there are chapters focusing of Scream Queens, a list for those new to horror and may want to “ease into” the genre, and a 10 Days to Halloween list of films to watch as the big day approaches to help get you in the mood.

As said at the start, this book is light and breezy, but it is also fun and very enjoyable. Horror fans of all stripes, be it newbie or veteran, will have a good time with this book, and when it is all said and done, that’s all that matters.

About Brian M. Sammons

Brian M. Sammons has penned stories that have appeared in the anthologies: Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, Monstrous, Dead but Dreaming 2, Horror for the Holidays, Deepest, Darkest Eden and others. He has edited the books; Cthulhu Unbound 3, Undead & Unbound, Eldritch Chrome, Edge of Sundown, Steampunk Cthulhu, Dark Rites of Cthulhu, Atomic Age Cthulhu, World War Cthulhu and Flesh Like Smoke. He is also the managing editor of Dark Regions Press’ Weird Fiction line. For more about this guy that neighbors describe as “such a nice, quiet man” you can check out his infrequently updated webpage here: http://brian_sammons.webs.com/ and follow him on Twitter @BrianMSammons.

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