There are a thousand books out there that cover every facet of the horror film so why should you pick up Don Summer’s Horror Movie Freak? Well, if you’re like me and you’ve already read those thousand other books then there is no reason to pick up this one as there is nothing new in this book that you haven’t already read before, but those new to the horror genre or don’t have a very large obsession with the genre but wanted to know more than Summer’s book is actually a very good starting point.
Summer’s book is a very good primer for opening up the vocabulary for horror film enthusiasts as it covers a wide range of sub genres and time periods as well as foreign films and low budget oddities as well. This is a well rounded book that strives to cover it all. The chapters are broken up into easy to reference headings such as “Monsters,” “Asian Horror,” “Classics,” etc. Summers even opens the book with a chapter called “Why We Love Horror Movies” which goes a long way to explaining why audiences have continuously gravitated towards these films. Within each chapter there is a list of notable films which are briefly plot detailed but more importantly explain why they are included in the book over other films. This goes a long way in explaining why Summer includes some while not others although he does provide a list of notable mentions at the end.
The book doesn’t dismiss the age of the remake either as a chapter at the end is dedicated exclusively to all manner of the infamous remakes from the notable classics such as John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and Dawn of the Dead (2004) to the derided remakes of The Eye (2008) and Pulse (2006). Scream Queens are touched upon (or those women in horror who have made a lasting impact in the genre) as well as a special section entitled “Ten Days of Halloween,” which list the best films for horror fans to watch just before the best holiday of the year.
Each of the entries for the films is brief and a quick read followed by a huge collection of posters and productions stills from the film providing a very lavish book that every horror fan will cherish. There is even a copy of George A. Romero’s original classic Night of the Living Dead (1968) on DVD at the back of the book. This is a film that should be included in every one’s video collection (whether a horror fan or not).
All in all this book is a perfect jumping on point for new horror fans or those wanting to open up their horror film vocabulary while hard core fans will find little use for this book. Thankfully, Summer keeps the book entertaining and fast paced so even if you are a hard core fan (such as myself) you may still come across something that you didn’t already know.