BookBin2013: Reel Terror: The Scary, Bloody, Gory, Hundred-Year History of Classic Horror Films


This is a first for this year, denizens. This started out as a library loan that I simply couldn’t finish before I had to return it…so I just went ahead and skipped adding it to my wish list, instead buying my own copy right away. I was enjoying it so much while reading it that I knew I was going to want a copy for my own library anyway (guess you can guess what the Final Verdict is going to be today, eh?).

You all know how much I love horror movies. As someone who has been a fan of the genre longer than even sci-fi and Star Trek, I tend to read and watch a lot about horror movies. Therefore, I can say that, from the perspective of a die-hard horror fan, David Konow’s anthology Reel Terror didn’t provide a lot of stuff that I didn’t already know, but did provide a nice timeline of the evolution of cinematic horror as well as an outline of some of the biggest movie high points. The book would be a good genre guide for those who might not be as well-versed in horror trivia but would like to learn more.

To be fair, the book does feel a bit redundant in light of the special edition DVDs of the movies Konow covers, which all have special features that cover a lot of the same ground. Also, a lot of the really big horror franchises have documentaries that cover way more ground in way more detail. For example, if you’re a Freddy Krueger fan, get thee to a copy of the documentary Never Sleep Again…or…just…here:

[hulu id=tbspev-i2zgahnxb13hchw width=512]

It’s also kind of strange how Konow shifts from a more holistic history of the genre in its early days to more specific movies once he reaches more recent times. I guess that’s because he’s more in his comfort zone with modern films that more people know. Then again, isn’t that more reason to go into more detail on the early stuff? So that more people know about them and discover their importance to the genre?

And, since I am an editorial nitpicker, I have to say, this anthology needs an editor STAT. Sentences need tightening, grammar needs correcting, facts need checking. Come on, now. Don’t let poor editing wreck a decent book (and some of the mistakes are really quite jarring).

All this aside, Reel Terror is a nice compendium full of fun facts for both beginners and old pros to the horror scene. If you like the genre or are interested in getting more into the genre, I think this book might be for you (you might want to wait until the next edition, though…maybe, just maybe, it will be properly edited!).

Final Verdict: Um. Yeah. You all are lovely smarties. You know the answer.