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‘Horror Films of 2000-2009’ (review)

Written by John Kenneth Muir
Published by McFarland

 

Going into reading John Kenneth Muir’s book, Horror Films of 2000-2009, I was unfamiliar with the author, but his previous books, as noted within, seem to peg him as a bit of an expert on “modern” horror films.

By modern, I mean from the past 50 years.

Me?

I am NOT all that big on modern horror films, or that up to date. I still catch some now and then but the more visceral they got over the years, the more the genre moved onto the backburners of my personal interest.

Now that I’ve gone through Mr. Muir’s latest, though, I definitely feel more connected to modern horror.

Well, at least up through fifteen years ago. Presumably the author is working on a follow-up.

Horror Films of 2000-2009 is divided into four sections. A learned Introduction is followed by an overview of the period the book covers. Those two segments take up less than 50 pages. Some 30 pages of backmatter include some fun appendices dealing with horror conventions, a hall of fame, memorable taglines, and a ten best of the period list.

In between, though, is the real meat of the book, consisting of nearly 600 pages that don’t just cover the major individual horror movies but also attempt to put each one in perspective of the times, both in the real world and the reel world.

Separated by year, and alphabetical within the annual sections, all of the mainstream genre films are covered, along with a slew (pun intended) of lesser-known movies, all treated with more respect than any mainstream critics would do.

The usual boxes are ticked for every listing—critical reception, cast and crew, synopsis, and then an informative and occasionally lengthy commentary. Writing about horror movies is clearly a labor of love for the author and he has here done a splendid job.

How much you would enjoy Horror Films of 2000-2009, though, depends on how much you actually enjoyed horror films from 2000 to 2009. In my case, though, I was very impressed with Muir’s writing even though I hadn’t seen nor had any real desire to see most of the movies herein.

Booksteve recommends.

 

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