In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Horror 101

Recently I read through the newly re-issued tome from Stephen Jay Schneider, 101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die.

This was an easily digestible book that gives you a pretty concise rundown of the last hundred years of horror films. Broken down by decade, I was happy to see a fairly even distribution with equal representation given to the silent and silver screen eras. I was pretty impressed by how much info was packed into the two small pages alloted for each title. And with over three dozen contributors, there were also many different voices to be heard, as well.

The classics were naturally plentiful with the good majority of the titles being no-brainers, but it did have its share of deep cuts, including the Man Bites Dog, Viy and Valerie and Her Week of Wonders. This is a solid resource for the casual fan, though the bigger appeal for the more discerning horrorphile may likely be in nitpicking the choices. I must admit I had only had issues with titles that were left off the list, like Sam Raimi's Evil Dead (they opted for Evil Dead II instead) and whether or not Deathdream was a better representation of Bob Clark's career than Black Christmas. I'm also going to assume that The Thing and Alien were carried over to Schneider's Sci-Fi edition of the series.

This book was originally released in 2009, so it was little shocking that only a pair of titles were added to this updated edition – Let The Right One In and It Follows. At first I was like, there have only been two must-see titles released in since 2007?? (The Orphanage was the final title in the first edition). The sad reality is that there have been a ton of really good films over the last decade, but very few that transcend and define the genre. You also have to take into account that to put those two titles on the list, they would have had to take two titles off. I wonder which two got bumped?

101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die is a decent compendium of the best of the best. It's a to-do list for those who want to get their feet bloody and a conversation starter for the more hardcore fans out there.

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