5 Best Books on the Horror Film

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By Jordan

This is a very personal list, and as a result very controversial I’m sure. The dates listed are those of the most recent revisions of each title, as some are indeed over 20 years old, and above  photo taken from my collection which I will endeavor to get some more shots of up soon.

See the bottom of the list for some very honorable mentions also.

1. Dario Argento: the Man, the Myths & the Magic

Alan Jones – FAB Press 2012

The definite insight into the career of one of the greats of Italian Cinema, and a stunning example of collector’s hardcover. Alan Jones is a stalwart in the realm of horror and fantasy critiquing and this is certainly a book any current or prospective fan of Argento cannot be without.

2. It Lives Again! Horror Movies in the New Millennium

Axelle Carolyn – Telos 2008

Essential reading for those interested in seeking out the best titles of the past decade – explores horror cinema the world over with a highly accessible structure and easily readable language. Also contains a vast array of attractive posters and film images.

3. Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen since the 1960’s

Kim Newman – Bloomsbury 2011

Kim Newman is one of the greatest of all film journalists/essay writers, and this is arguably his finest hour (although it will most definitely take a whole lot longer than an hour to read… its one of the thickest soft-covers I’ve seen!) The chapter titles alone spark a wry grin; Nightmare Movies has the ability to immediately warm the hearts of horror enthusiasts of all ages/genders.

4. Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds – the Dark Dreams of Dario Argento

Maitland McDonagh – Minnesota Press 2010

Another examination of Argento; although McDonagh’s exploration digs a whole lot deeper into the hidden themes and meaning lurking beneath the surface of the maestro’s catalog, with the eye of a true intellectual and passion of a true fan.

5. If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor

Bruce Campbell – Thomas Dunne Books 2002

It could be argued that this is not in fact a book on the horror film, but as it focuses largely on Campbell’s experience on The Evil Dead films, I believe an inclusion is warranted. Mr Campbell writes with the self-depreciating sarcasm that has made him a favorite among cult fans, and easily endears himself to the reader after the first paragraph.

Honorable Mentions:

Wes Craven: The Man and his Nightmares, Meat is Murder! European Nightmares: Horror Cinema in Europe since 1945, Cannibal Holocaust and the Savage Cinema of Ruggero Deodato, Men, Women and Chainsaws.

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9 responses to “5 Best Books on the Horror Film

    • Ha, as I said; personal and controversial! While I have nothing but the uttermost respect for King (as should anyone with even a fleeting interest in literature), I’ve never followed him as closely as the other auteurs listed, or authors such as Clive Barker and Jack Ketchum.
      Jordan

      • i must recommend you find a copy of DANSE MACABRE, because it is quite comprehensive on the genre, covering horror in literature, film and tv up through 1980. try to find a copy of the 1983 paperback version if you can (a used bookstore or even amazon might have it); the recent 2010 release is unnecessary.

        anyhow, ta! and keep up the good work on this here blog!

        -a

  1. Nightmare Movies is supposed to be an excellent book and one I regret not picking up so some years at a used book shop; oh well. Gary Gerani’s Top 100 Horror Movies book is a nice coffee table addition sure to encourage some discussion since no one will universally agree or disagree with his choices. Stephen Thrower’s stuff is supposed to be great too but it’s rather obscure thesedays and difficult to locate for reasonable prices.

  2. Great list of horror books, I am a huge fan and I’m always looking for new reads to experience. Which of these books do you suggest I start with? My favorite horror writer of all time is Stephen King.

    • I actually suggest starting with It Lives Again! Just to gain a further understanding of the genre as it currently stands, and then going back in time with Nightmare Movies for a complete examination. You will love any and all though! Happy reading and be sure to comment again with your thoughts!
      Jordan

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