I’ll admit from the start that I’m a huge fan of this author. For a long time I’ve followed his website, Hysteria Lives!, which is an incredibly entertaining and in-depth slasher genre film site filled with reviews. I’m also an avid listener of Kerswell and his fellow hosts’ podcast, The Hysteria Continues! I can’t recommend it enough. It’s very funny and informative with a great dynamic between the hosts. Check out his site and download the podcast. Ok, to the actual book!
The Slasher Movie Book is arranged chronologically from the beginnings of the slasher genre to the present day. The major sections covered are The Golden Age of The Slasher (1978-84), Video Hell and The Franchises (1985-95) and Scream and Scream Again (1996 Onward). In each section the time periods are introduced and the pivotal films in the genre at the time are highlighted and discussed. You’ll find all the movies you would expect, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, but there is so much more. It was a trip down memory lane, reminding me of some of my favorite films, forgotten classics and movies I’ve never seen that I will now be seeking out. It was a nostalgic and entertaining read. Kerswell takes us behind the films, with the discussion going beyond reviews, although there is a review section at the back. The facts, context setting and clear passion of the author for the subject matter is where the book excels and in my opinion puts it above similar titles. There is a fun section featuring the top ten body counts in slasher films, as well as a section focusing on the slasher box office leaders.
Slasher movies are one of my favorite genres, particularly from the golden age of the 1980s. I’ve written before about my fascination growing up and going to the movie store and staring in awe at the video covers, my imagination running wild at the horrors that lay within. The forbidden movies I’d beg to rent denied to me, I’d usually end up watching a barely viewable copy of a copy of a copy that was circulating at school, but it was still such an exciting experience. All that goes some way to explain my love of this book. The presentation in the book is fantastic, lots of movie posters and some stills, and all the pages are colorful and vibrant.
If you’re a slasher genre fan or a horror movie fan in general you have to pick this book. A wonderful and entertaining reference book that no fan should be without!
Book Cover Blurb:
The slasher movie is the most reviled but successful of horror’s subgenres. Taking its cue from Hitchcock, grind-house movies, and the gory Italian giallo thrillers of the 1970s, slasher movies brought a new high in cinematic violence and suspense to mainstream cinema. For six bloody years (1978–1984)—the “golden age” of slashers—cinema screens and video stores were stalked by homicidal maniacs with murder and mayhem on their minds.
The Slasher Movie Book details the subgenre’s surprising beginnings, revels in its g(l)ory days, and discusses its recent resurgence. Packed with reviews of the best (and worst) slasher movies and illustrated with an extensive collection of distinctive and often graphic color poster artwork from around the world, this book also looks at the political, cultural, and social influences on the slasher movie and its own effect on other film genres.