Horror Films FAQ
By John Kenneth Muir
Published by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2013. 383 pages.
With this title, we weren’t really sure what this book was actually about. The text on the front of the book says “All that’s left to know about slashers, vampires, zombies, aliens, and more”. Is it just a collection of questions answered that the FAQ in the title would imply? Actually no. But what it does give the reader is both a very interesting and entertaining read, as well as giving some great insight to some of our favorite movies.
Muir is definitely a scholar when it comes to horror reference books, so you’re going to learn something when reading his work, even if you’re a long time fan like myself. The book covers different subjects like alien movies, supernatural and ghost movies, as well as covering some notable directors. It doesn’t cover every movie in those sub-genres, but a few of what Muir considers important ones. And what he does choose to cover is interesting to read about.
What I like about this book is that when Muir discusses something about a film, such as one of the meanings or angles to it, he is not stating it as fact, but as his thoughts or theory. Nice to hear someone for once not trying to beat their ideas into our heads, but instead just putting it out there for us to ponder. Shame more writers don’t do that. But the ideas that he does bring up at least makes the reader put some thought into it. I think that is the most important part about any book on movies: to make the reader think. And with Horror Films FAQ, Muir gives the reader plenty enough to think about. The movies that he covers that we haven’t seen, we now want to seek them out. And even the movies that he covers that we’ve seen, for some reason we start to want to go back and revisit the film again. Well done, Mr. Muir.