The Horror Of It All by Adam Rockoff


The Horror Of It All by Adam RockoffThe Horror of It All: One Moviegoer’s Love Affair with Masked Maniacs, Frightened Virgins, and the Living Dead… is the follow up non-fiction work to Adam Rockoff’s successful Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film, 1978-1986. Going to Pieces was an insightful read and was later made into a documentary. With this book Rockoff widens the focus from slasher films to cover more of the genre.

The Horror of It All is personal, charming, and funny. Rockoff is a horror fan, just like the rest of us, and this book envelops you in a history of shared excitement about films and experiences. It’s obvious that he’s one of us and not just passing down a critique from on high. The personal perspective makes this very different from the usual horror movie non-fiction. It’s part biography and part horror history, which is really how we all experience horror, since we grow up during times of different sub-genres and movements. He has some great and often very funny stories related to horror movies. In addition to his own experiences, he also discusses the views of critics, the general public, and politicians’ reactions to the genre.

I can totally relate to many of the things he talks about from the standpoint of a horror fan, and I’m sure you will too. He talks about becoming a fear addict, with each new horror film being a test. This was exactly how I felt as I became interested in horror movies – at first terrified by the VHS covers in the video store, to finally being able to watch them.

The book is split into chapters, with each one covering a different topic. The chapters are inventive and I especially enjoyed his novel way of presenting a “best of” list, the slasher yearbook chapter. Entries included Most Annoying Character, Most Likely To Succeed (But Didn’t), and Most Sequel-Worthy Killer. You get the idea. Another chapter reviewed heavy metal’s ties to horror and the political witch-hunt of how this music corrupted society. There are so many movies and themes discussed in the book. It’s a wealth of interesting content, from torture porn and J-horror to zombie-mania.

The colorful mix of personal anecdotes, in-depth detail on horror, and Rockoff’s conversational writing style is a successful cocktail. This might be the least dry discussion of horror movies you’ll find – not that there is anything wrong with academic discussion of our genre – but Rockoff makes it fun without sacrificing depth. I highly recommend this entertaining and informative read.


Pick up a copy here:

Book Cover Blurb:

Pop culture history meets blood-soaked memoir as a horror film aficionado and screenwriter recalls a life spent watching blockbuster slasher films, cult classics, and everything in between.

Horror films have simultaneously captivated and terrified audiences for generations, racking up billions of dollars at the box office and infusing our nightmares with unrelenting zombies, chainsaw-wielding madmen, and myriad incarnations of ghosts, ghouls, and the devil himself. Despite evolving modes of storytelling and the fluctuating popularity of other genres, horror endures. The Horror of It All is a memoir from the front lines of the industry that dissects (and occasionally defends) the hugely popular phenomenon of scary movies.

Author Adam Rockoff traces the highs and lows of the horror genre through the lens of his own obsessive fandom, born in the aisles of his local video store and nurtured with a steady diet of cable trash. From Siskel and Ebert’s crusade against slasher films to horror’s Renaissance in the wake of Scream, Rockoff mines the rich history of the genre, braiding critical analysis with his own firsthand experiences. Be afraid. Be very afraid.