Zombies are the middle children of the otherworldly family. Vampires are the oldest brother who gets to have a room in the attic, all tripped out with a disco ball and shag carpet. Werewolves are the youngest, the babies, always getting pinched and told they're cute. With all that attention stolen away from the middle child zombie, no wonder she shuffles off grumbling, "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha."

- Kevin James Breaux

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Book Review: THE GORE SCORE by Chas. Balun

Writer Chas. Balun (who passed before his time) made a career of telling people what he thought of films and most importantly of the horror kind.  He was unforgiving and uncompromising in his views which is why he was looked upon in the horror community in such high esteem.   His book The GORE Score (Revised & Updated Edition) is more of his colorful thoughts and critiques of both mainstream films as well as indie films.
Balun doesn’t waste time with scholarly and critical analysis so if that’s what you’re looking for then look somewhere else because here you’ll only find his personal opinions on many films you’ve seen and some that maybe you haven’t yet.  Published in ’87, Balun was ahead of his time by critiquing many films that were not on most horror fans radar like Blood Beach (1981), Dead And Buried (1981), Jungle Holocaust (), Motel Hell (1980) and Razorback (1984), to name just a few.  Readers will mostly love to hear his thoughts on cult films such as Monster Dog () in which he writes, “Title tells all.  Alice Cooper.  Fuck it.” Or when he praises such indie films as The Evil Dead (1983) when he writes, “Outrageously graphic roller coaster ride through horror heaven has just about every effect you’d ever want to see.”  Reading Balun’s opinion of horror films is akin to our own reaction to many of these films.

Balun praises films like C.H.U.D. (1984) with 3 out of 4 skulls (his rating instead of stars) whereas the cult classic Crawlspace (1986) gets a dog (the worst rating in the book).  He also doesn’t go easy on established directors like John Carpenter whose Christine (1984) gets only 2 skulls, Wes Craven’s Deadly Friend (1986) gets a dog as does the directors The Hills Have Eyes II (1983).  He praises Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse (1981) with 3 skulls, Joe Dante’s Gremlins (1984) with 4 skulls, and Abel Ferrara’s Ms. 45 (1980) with 4 skulls.

If you are a horror fan than reading Balun’s The GORE Score is a great treat but don’t take my word for it.  Go out and get your own copy as well as one of his other books.

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