Following a cursory examination of this new horror encyclopedia it becomes quite clear that any “horror movie freak” worth their weight in Anchor Bay DVDs would have already seen ninety percent of the films cataloged here.
Each section highlights roughly ten movies in any particular sub genre. As an example, “Abhorations of Nature” has twelve pages covering mostly animal attack movies and includes Jaws, the Birds, Black Sheep, Grizzly, Cabin Fever and the Ruins. Who hasn’t seen these movies? There’s little chance that someone referring to themselves as a “horror freak” would have missed these well known and successful films. The Birds came out in 1963 and in the subsequent five decades we only get six films in this book that focus on animal/nature attacks? Off the tip of my head I can think of Lake Placid, Rogue, Cujo, the Edge, Razorback, Squirm, Deep Blue Sea and the list goes on. Perhaps author Don Sumner was only trying to show us the best that the sub genres have to offer, but then what horror freak is looking for a book filled with classics and recent obvious candidates for classic status?I myself am not much of an Asian horror enthusiast, but even I had seen all of the chestnuts in his Asian Horror section.
The book is still filled with full color pages and as many photos as words and includes a DVD copy of Night of the Living Dead. Of course most “horror freaks” already have multiple copies or at least one of the many special editions already available.
There is even a beginner’s section (although it’s unclear why that would be necessary for “horror freaks”) that catalogs some of the less gruesome or explicit films. In the book, Sumner writes that these movies, “are typically separated from the rest of the collection and put on their own shelf so as to be easily identified”. Never before have I heard such ridiculous bullshit! Movies are separated by director, genre or even alphabetized, but they aren’t separated some kind of “wimp factor”. At least not that I’ve ever seen.
So if you’re looking for an obvious rundown of the movies you’ve already seen with one or two that you’ve been meaning to catch and almost none that you weren’t already previously aware of, then this book is for you! If you’re just getting into horror movies and you need a place to start that will show you the basics of the different horror genres, then enjoy. But if you really are a “horror freak”, you’ll likely be disappointed by this book that I’m sad to say was mislabeled as some kind of bible for real Horror enthusiasts but is in actuality nothing but a waste of time for the fans who already know their stuff.
In my personal opinion, two books on genre movies that are quite thorough and worthy of your collection are; Zombie Movies: the Ultimate Guide by Glenn Kay and Blaxploitation Cinema: An Essential Reference Guide by Josiah Howard. While neither of these books can boast as many colorful pictures as Horror Movie Freak, they both have thorough compilations of every movie from their respective genres and the pertinent information you’re looking for. Blaxploitation even collects ten interviews with the most influential directors. Horror movie freak only really makes one mistake and that was trying to convince real “Horror Freaks” that this book is worth buying. It should have been called “Don Sumner’s Beginner’s Guide to Horror.”