Horror Show Book Review

VideoHound’s Horror Show: 999 Hair-Raising, Hellish, and Humorous Movies
Published by Visible Ink Press, 1998.  524 pages.

The Horror Show Guide: The Ultimate Frightfest of Movies
Published by Visible Ink Press, 2013.  477 pages.

Both titles written by Mike Mayo

This first volume by May came out the same year I started this website, back in 1998. So as you can see, we’ve both been around for a while! Hopefully we’re both still very relevant. But even Mayo’s first volume coming out so long ago, it just shows the beauty of these kind of reference books: teh subjects they’re on never change and this book is still just as useful today as it was when it first came out.

While most film guides have the basic info, such as cast & crew, synopsis & review, one of the things that we love most about Mayo’s book is the extra icing he provides. Throughout the book, you find movie quotes, trivia, advertising lines, and mini-bios of some of the more important figures in the genre. Add this with the 999 capsule reviews and you have yourself an interesting review book, that you can go back to time and time again and where you just might also learn something about the genre along the way. For that, we really think that this is a book that should be in every horror film fans library.

This original edition is still one of my favorite movie guides. I even included it in an article I wrote for HorrorHound magazine on the top horror reference books. Now 15 years, Mayo was able to update it with a brand new edition. But with this new volume, there are some changes. When talking about a series of movies, such as the Friday the 13th, they are all lumped together under one entry. It is the same information in the original edition, but just put together in one long section. I’m still on the fence about this new format. At first, I thought that it really does make sense to have them listed together. But if you were looking for a particular entry, then you’d have to browse through to find it. One of my rules to follow for any reference book is easy access. And I have to say that would make it a little tougher. Another change is that all the technical information is moved to the end of the book in an index, such as the director and cast. Again, if you’re looking for that information while reading about the movie, you have to skip to the back of the book. Not good.

One of the great things I liked about Mayo’s original version was all the little trivia tidbits throughout the book. There were quotes, little sidebar sections on different people in the genre, and just so much fun stuff that it made it a little more than a simple movie guide. The new version does have some quotes here and there, as well as some different “top” lists with some interesting categories, but it just seems like it is missing something. It does have some new titles in there that have come out since that first edition, but there are few that have been omitted from the original as well.

If you can find a copy of the original version, I still highly recommend you adding it to your library. If you can’t find the original one, this newest edition is a good book too, just not as fun. But in either case, you can tell that Mayo is a fan of the genre and treats it with respect.

2 thoughts on “Horror Show Book Review

  1. Definitely a great book. I strongly disagree with Mike’s dislike of slasher films, but every fan is different. As you may recall, I’ve made it my goal to see every movie in the book by the end of 2016. This has lead me to discover the book’s ONE shortcoming. Apparently to hit 999, he ha to rely on a fair number of obscure VHS releases that have not been in print for 20+ years. The “Witchcraft” sequels are hard to track down, and there is a vampire documentary called “Fangs” that nobody on IMdb has ever seen.


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