Book Review: Psychos! Sickos! Sequels! (1998)

To many, the 1980's served as the the greatest era in Modern Horror filmmaking due to the recent advances in special effects and the sudden boom in the sheer number of films that were released within the decade. Writer John Stell is a product of the 80's, a film fan who could be caught in the theaters every weekend watching (and re-watching) the latest monster movies and suspense thrillers as a teen.

Stell has gathered together a collection of key film reviews spanning throughout the 1980's in a book entitled Psychos! Sickos! Sequels! Horror Films of the 1980's, a printed tribute to this pivitol period in Horror. Ironically, for one who speaks so highly of the decade, Stell leaves no room for confusion when it comes to his feelings towards the Slasher cycle that was popularized in the 80's. His distaste for exploitative gore films like FRIDAY THE 13TH and MANIAC are clearly made evident, while their importance within the genre is still equally recognized. Stell often mixes his subjective feelings and fond remembrances of each film into the reviews, but these are matched with an educated understanding of the genre, along with an objective and thoughtful analysis. Undisputed classics like A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, ALIENS, THE THING, and FRIGHT NIGHT are covered in loving detail, however the most rewarding reviews are based on lesser known titles such as PIN, ALONE IN THE DARK, THE COMPANY OF WOLVES, MR. VAMPIRE, PAPERHOUSE, LADY IN WHITE, and the criminally-overlooked A CHINESE GHOST STORY. This is where Psychos! Sickos! Sequels! succeeds most, in bringing fresh new movies to audiences' attentions.

The author mentions that his goal would be met if one reader found one new film as a result of his writing, and this will surely be the case. Stell's style is entertaining and engaging, with enough personality to keep readers edging onward towards each new chapter. At 320 pages covering over forty films, Psychos! Sickos! Sequels! makes for a lengthy but worthwhile addition to any Horror fan's library.

Rating: 8/10.

Books like Psychos! Sickos! Sequels!:
Going to Pieces, Nightmare Movies, Fangoria's 101 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen.


  1. Read Robert Bloch 's book "Psycho II" he was displeased with the film of the same name...

  2. I will most certainly give it a go!