This is a very personal list, and as a result very controversial I’m sure. The dates listed are those of the most recent revisions of each title, as some are indeed over 20 years old, and above photo taken from my collection which I will endeavor to get some more shots of up soon.
See the bottom of the list for some very honorable mentions also.
1. Dario Argento: the Man, the Myths & the Magic
Alan Jones – FAB Press 2012
The definite insight into the career of one of the greats of Italian Cinema, and a stunning example of collector’s hardcover. Alan Jones is a stalwart in the realm of horror and fantasy critiquing and this is certainly a book any current or prospective fan of Argento cannot be without.
2. It Lives Again! Horror Movies in the New Millennium
Axelle Carolyn – Telos 2008
Essential reading for those interested in seeking out the best titles of the past decade – explores horror cinema the world over with a highly accessible structure and easily readable language. Also contains a vast array of attractive posters and film images.
3. Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen since the 1960’s
Kim Newman – Bloomsbury 2011
Kim Newman is one of the greatest of all film journalists/essay writers, and this is arguably his finest hour (although it will most definitely take a whole lot longer than an hour to read… its one of the thickest soft-covers I’ve seen!) The chapter titles alone spark a wry grin; Nightmare Movies has the ability to immediately warm the hearts of horror enthusiasts of all ages/genders.
4. Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds – the Dark Dreams of Dario Argento
Maitland McDonagh – Minnesota Press 2010
Another examination of Argento; although McDonagh’s exploration digs a whole lot deeper into the hidden themes and meaning lurking beneath the surface of the maestro’s catalog, with the eye of a true intellectual and passion of a true fan.
5. If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor
Bruce Campbell – Thomas Dunne Books 2002
It could be argued that this is not in fact a book on the horror film, but as it focuses largely on Campbell’s experience on The Evil Dead films, I believe an inclusion is warranted. Mr Campbell writes with the self-depreciating sarcasm that has made him a favorite among cult fans, and easily endears himself to the reader after the first paragraph.
Wes Craven: The Man and his Nightmares, Meat is Murder! European Nightmares: Horror Cinema in Europe since 1945, Cannibal Holocaust and the Savage Cinema of Ruggero Deodato, Men, Women and Chainsaws.