How to Survive a Horror Movie Book Review

Written by Robert Gold

Published by Quirk Books

Written by Seth Grahame-Smith
2007, 176 pages, Fiction
Released on September 24th, 2019


Last summer, my girlfriend and I decided to get away for the weekend and go camping. We drove until we ran out of gas and then hitch-hiked the last few miles to a remote cabin. We smoked some dope and went skinny-dipping in the lake for some pre-marital sex. It started to rain, so we took shelter in a nearby farmhouse to spend the night. Some of our friends from college would be joining us the next day, but there was no phone service, so I couldn’t call to remind them to bring more beer. After some more pre-marital sex and illegal drug use, we heard a strange noise. There was a news bulletin on the radio about an escaped mental patient, but the power went out before I caught all of the details. I took a faulty flashlight to investigate. Oh well…hey look – a creepy doll!

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? If so, you may be living in a horror movie. In order to survive, you will need to acquaint yourself with some basic knowledge of the genre and take a few helpful precautions. Author Seth Grahame-Smith (The Last American Vampire) lays out a simple and easy to follow strategy for escaping a variety of nightmare scenarios in his insightful book How to Survive a Horror Movie. Smith knows his way around the genre as a writer and producer (most recently of the box office hit; Stephen King’s It and its sequel). He takes his vast knowledge and offers a practical guide to navigating the most likely of horror plots.

There is a very real place known as the “Terrorverse” where anyone who enters is susceptible to the rules of horror movies. This book offers some basic tips to switch you from potential victim to final survivor. First, you have to determine if you are indeed living in a horror movie and if so, what kind. If you find that you are trapped inside a slasher film, there are instructions for living through a night of babysitting and also how to stay awake for a week if you are being pursued by a dream demon. There are guidelines for successfully navigating a haunted house or cemetery and how to defeat an evil doll or other inanimate object. Smith tells you how to fight a vampire and the proper way to treat a witch. He has answers for what to do if your corn has children in it and how to perform an exorcism.

How to Survive a Horror Movie is a tongue-in-cheek guide loaded with humorous insights to the many familiar cinematic tropes that populate the genre. The book opens with a foreword from director Wes Craven (Shocker, The People Under the Stairs), who sets the tone with an apology for all the hapless victims he has killed over his career. This is followed by an author’s introduction in which he reflects on the book’s original 2007 publication and details what’s new in this updated edition. The genre has grown over the past decade and introduced new challenges to potential victims and Smith is ready to step in and offer further guidance.

The book is divided into six chapters, each focused on a specific set of genre tropes with additional tips sprinkled throughout. There are no statistical graphs or pie charts concerning victim data, but there are helpful illustrations every few pages. An updated appendix of recommended horror movies offers readers a go-to selection of quality entertainment to see these tips put into practice. How to Survive a Horror Movie is a thoughtful piece of metafiction that makes for a quick read. The book is targeted toward a specific audience, but contains enough humor and creativity to appeal to all readers. In hindsight a lot of this information is common sense, but countless movie victims failed to understand these basic tips. Before you go babysitting, or visit a cemetery, you may want to pick up this book – it might just save your life!


Overall: 4 Star Rating Cover
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