Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Book Review: The Encyclopedia of Horror Movies

The Encyclopedia of Horror Movies
Edited By: Phil Hardy
Published 1987, 408 pages

The Encyclopedia of Horror Movies is just that; it is the definitive textbook authority on all things Horror, spanning over eight decades of cinema. It is an important reference tool as well as a complete history lesson on the trends and growths that were experienced within the genre, beginning with the earliest silent classics and ending at the height of the Slasher era, when the book was published. The format is laid out chronologically, dividing each section by the decade and listing the films in alphabetical order by the year of their release in their original countries. Films from nearly every developed nation can be found within its pages, including many entries that are dedicated to the German Expressionists and Asian filmmakers, while also introducing many more obscure titles from countries like Austria or Brazil. Phil Hardy interjects with an informed opinion and rounded knowledge on each of the films being discussed. While his opinions on many of the entries will not be shared by all readers (particularly in his general distaste for the Slasher films), his critiques are always justified and rarely biased. Coming in at over 400 pages, with over 450 black and white stills and an astounding 1,300 film reviews, The Encyclopedia of Horror Movies is an absolute must-have for every Horror fan. It is impossible to thumb through its pages without discovering a slew of exciting new films that may have been long forgotten, but it is integral to read the text from start to finish rather than simply using it as a petty reference tool in order to better one's understanding of the genre.

Rating: 10/10.
Number of reads: 1.


14 comments:

  1. Sounds like an awesome book! They should do an updated version! 23 years adds A LOT of horror flicks!

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  2. Very much agreed, the reason I most appreciated this one is specifically because it covered all of the back catalog of films released before I was born, gave me a TON of awesome new (well.. old) films to check out! Wings, there is a copy on Amazon for $1.20 right now, it is long out of print so I highly recommend grabbing it while its cheap, even if it is a library copy!

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  3. This is an *amazing* book and has a place of honor on my bookshelf and I refer to it often. I bought it 7 or 8 years ago, right around the time I first signed up for Netflix, and thus I was able to catch up with so many little-known, but still great, horror films. I love marking off the entries after I watch them. Indeed, I often wonder why it's not been updated.

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  4. This sounds like a must own. I need to get it and put it next to my copy of the encyclopedia of Christian music. That should freak out some people.

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  5. Will I have never found so many great titles I had never heard of before. Just picked up THE PHANTOM OF PARADISE and THE SENDER, both which should be arriving lately. Im so glad I didnt just flip through it and took the time to read every entry.

    Moving on to either Horrorhound, Book of the Dead, or Psychos, Sickos, and Sequels next!

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  6. Sounds interesting! I'll be sure to keep an eye out for it. You should try "Nightmare Movies" by Kim Newman, also published in the eighties.

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  7. My brother gave me this awesome book as a birthday present a few years ago, and it remains one of the greatest and most useful presents I have ever received! I love reading through it now and again to check off movies that I've seen, and also discover new ones that I may not have heard of otherwise. I do hope there is an update at some point, but for now I'm satisfied with it just being pre-1985. I also always enjoy the brief write-ups about the movies as well, even though I don't always share the same opinion as Mr. Hardy.

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  8. Its sitting in my wishlist right now along with The Official Splatter Movie Guide, cant wait to make my way through it someday!

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  9. See, Em, I wish my family knew me well enough to get such awesome gifts! =D

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  10. I can beat you on that mark. Besides my 800ish page compendium of drive-in/horror films, I have a nice hardback book on horror films. I was reading it one day and wondering why such films as 'Day of the Dead' and 'An American Werewolf in London' were not mentioned. Scrolling to the back, I found my answer: the book was printed in 1973!

    In hindsight, that explains why it refers to 'Dawn of the Dead' as a 'recent effort by George Romero.'

    Fun fact: the cover has scenes from Hammer's 'Night Creatures,' a film that's not really a horror film!

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  11. It's simply called 'Horror Movies' on the spine and it's by Alan G. Frank.

    If you see a hardback book with skeletal men over a black background, that's it.

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  12. This has been by my bedside for over a year now and I still never get tired of flicking though it. Would love to see a new edition that brings it bang up to date! Great review, Carl. :o)

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  13. I have this one, too, but mine goes up to 1984, but still has 408 pages. It has a pic of Nicholson peeking through the busted door from THE SHINING.

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