Book Review: Terrifying Texts

Terrifying TextsTerrifying Texts: Essays on Books of Good and Evil in Horror Cinema
Published McFarland, 2018. 268 pages.
Edited by Cynthia J. Miller & A. Bowdoin Van Riper

When I came across this title, I was immediately intrigued by it because, strangely enough, I didn’t know of anybody else who had tackled this subject matter before. In fact, the more I read through it, I was amazed at that fact because there are more movies that deal with this subject that I had thought. It’s one of those that as you’re reading and they mention another movie, you immediately think “Oh yeah… I forgot about that one!” Needless today, I really enjoyed this one!

As a book person myself, this had me right from the opening Introduction, where it reads, “Books are revered – and feared – for their ability to affect the minds and hearts of humankind. We collect them, pore over them, commit their passages to memory, censor them, and even attempt to banish them from our midst, lest they lead us to ruin.” Any book lover is going to be nodding their head while reading that, knowing and agreeing with exactly what the authors are saying… or writing, technically.

At first, I was worried that this would be one of those Psycho-Babble titles where the author goes on and on about what certain things real meanings were about, but this is far from that. All the different authors included here are not only smart, but bring up some very interesting ideas about some of these movies we love and their connection to these ominous tomes that should never be opened and especially read from! The films covered here range from the classics like Murnau’s Faust (1926), to the many influences from H.P. Lovecraft’s work, as in The Dunwich Horror (1970) to John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness (1994), to more modern day special volumes, like in Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook (2014). There are even titles covered that you might not necessarily think would fit in here, such as David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows (2014), but it all makes sense on why it is included.

Covering movies like Evil Dead, both original (1981) and remake (2013), Fulci’s The Beyond (1981), The Prophecy (1995), Curse of the Demon (1957), to so many films, it is amazing on how many titles are connected with this subject matter. This also shows us of the importance of books, and how they are used in our society, both in reality, as well as in our fictional world. It has been a long time that I found a book so interesting in what it was covering. This volume will definitely have you thinking about certain movies a little bit more than next time you break it out. Plus, depending on how many movies you watch, this just make give you a few titles that you’re going to want to seek out after reading about them! And that, is never a bad thing.

You can order this directly from McFarland from their website at

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