Holiday Gift Guide: <i>Reel Terror: The Scary, Bloody, Gory, Hundred-Year History of Classic Horror Films</i> by David Konow

It should not be surprising that the author of the definitive guide to heavy metal music should come back with another, similar guide, this time devoted to what some would say is the film world’s heavy metal equivalent.

Reel Terror: The Scary, Bloody, Gory, Hundred-Year History of Classic Horror Films (St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne) takes a long, loving look behind the scenes at the century long history of movies of the macabre.

Though contemporary works are given more space and love than the classics, Reel Terror still manages to infuse this ever-popular genre in the sort of lovelight that can only be generated by a true fanboy. In the introduction, author David Konow writes:

This book is not just a love letter to a great and underappreciated genre, but it also tries to show what makes a great horror film effective, even decades after it’s been made …. There’s a reason why the best horror films in the genre have lasted, and why many are still scary today.

Part handbook to the great films of the genre, part “love letter” to a part of film history that hasn’t had a great many of those, both fans of horror and classic film will enjoy many aspects of Konow’s well-researched and written book. ◊

Jones Atwater is a contributing editor to January Magazine.

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