"Essential Horror Movies: Matinee Monsters to Cult Classics" Book Review

Written by R.J. MacReady

Published by Rizzoli Publications

Written by Michael Mallory
2015, 228 pages, Reference
Released on September 22nd, 2015


Let's say an alien from another planet has landed. It knows nothing of our culture but it has one peculiar question: Tell it what the essential horror movies of all-time are.

That's a tough task for anybody, but Essential Horror Movies: Matinee Monsters to Cult Classics from author Michael Mallory attempts the feat with mostly-excellent results. The tome is broken up into sections that seem to start chronologically but then branch out into all eras. Chapters range from Silent to Golden to Color to Euro to Drive In to Mainstream to Psycho-Slashers to Creatures/Demons/Spirits, and finally to the Future of Horror. A one-page section is also devoted to other noteworthy movies.

There are plenty of high-quality and – as far as I can tell – rare photos, and each movie noted comes with interesting stories and anecdotes. There are also a few Spotlight subsections placed randomly throughout like Brit Horror, Psychological Horror, The Monster-Makers and Torture Porn.

The book will be a mixed bag for anybody as it was for me in that we're probably going to be most interested in movies we know or have heard of, and less interested in many of the others. The most unforgiveable thing (pardon the pun) is the omission of John Carpenter's The Thing from ANY list in this book. (Not even the Additional 50?) One might conjecture that perhaps there's only so many movies that author Mallory could fit in, but I'd like to hear anyone's rationale that The Thing is less important than Little Shop of Horrors, Candyman, or Saw – all of which are in the Essential list.

It was such a glaring omission that I actually thought perhaps a page had stuck together and I'd simply missed it. But no...it's not on there, or on the additional list that features such lesser films as Paranorman, Devil and Cabin Fever.

But putting that aside, it's still an interesting, well-laid out book with plenty to offer.

The Essential Horror Movies: Matinee Monsters to Cult Classics book from Universe Publishing is a handsome coffee-table sized hardcover that highlights many gems from the genre, and would make a fine addition to any afficianado's bookshelf.


Overall: 4 Star Rating Cover
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R.J. MacReady
Staff Reviewer
RJ MacReady digs horror movies, even though his first memory of horror films is watching the first Friday the 13th movie while a bear mauled his family in the other room. He admits that most of his bio is as fake as his moniker, but witness protection won't let him use his real name.
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