How to survive a horror movie book review
It may have been released until 2007, but the book How to survive a horror movie by Seth Grahame Smith has been a tremendous educator on my love of horror movies. Looking back on my 7th year. I didn’t know anything about horror movies. I was terrified of The Exorcist after my sister made me watch it when I was seven. Freddy Krueger always scared me more than anything. And I couldn’t bear to hear on Friday the 13th, “Jason noise”. So what made me want to read How to survive a horror movie? Well, I wanted to overcome these fears and know how to defeat these slashers, demons, and other supernatural beings.
Also, the blanket with a bunch of guts was a plus.
My copy is well worn, with a crease on the front cover, probably due to falling asleep on it. For a good six months to a year, this was my bible. It’s not a big book, and only has 175 pages, but it’s pretty dense with material. Now, I’m not going to go into the literary merits of writing a survival guide on how to deal with monsters and villains in horror movies, but it’s still a hell of a good read to this day. If Randy (Jamie Kennedy) wrote a book on how to survive in Scream, maybe it is this one. Also, oddly enough, one of the four true masters of horror, Wes Craven wrote the front of the book.
If he got the Wes Craven seal of approval then you got my money
By writing the front of the book, I mean, apologies for the book. The opening is titled “An Apology From Wes Craven”. Set in a universe where all horror movies reside, titled “Terrorverse”, the book gives you all the rules you need to survive. Craven, apologizes to the myriad of people he led to the massacre, for being disembowelled, beheaded, burned alive, tortured and more in his films. Unfortunately, a guide on how to defend yourself against the Terrorverse is not enough according to Craven. As he says:
No matter what I do, no matter what lead I give them, it seems my characters always end up on the wrong side of a long knife. And while I’m glad that someone has finally written a guide to help them survive, I wonder how much good this is really going to do.
Death finds a way.
How to survive a horror movie
Without doing this review only on Wes Craven and his films, this book owes a HUGE thank you to the film. Scream. This film gave viewers a taste of the rules and trials of horror films. He revealed all the secrets on how to survive horror movies. And at the end of the movie, it pays off for Randy and Sidney. However, this does not pay off more for the majority of the characters. Giving Wes Craven the first page is a sign of respect and it tells you everything you need to know about what’s to come in the book. Speaking of which, the table of contents should sell you the book before I do.
The table of contents sells itself
The table of contents of How to survive a horror movie Goes like this:
Welcome to the Terrorverse
Slasher Survival School – Masks, Gloves and Motels
Inanimate Evil – Artificial Instruments of Death
Crypt-Ographie – Ghosts, Zombies and the Reanimates
Fangs of Fury – Aliens and Beasts
Chapter 666: chapter 666
The satanic “versus”: curses, demons and the devil himself
What you are really reading is the goodness of the comedy horror movie
The book works the same as The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. Where this book goes into a lot of detail on literally everything you would need to know about fighting zombies, this book gives the impression of a grade 7 textbook to the procedure. You learn a bit more about all aspects of the various ghouls, ghosts, demons, slayers, and spirits you might find yourself facing in the Terrorverse.
What really makes this book perfect for any kind of horror fan is that it takes something that would terrify, say, a 7th grader, and that makes them hilarious. Much like the later sequels of the horror film franchises, the book is more humorous than scary. It pokes fun at the tropes of horror movies and makes them easy to digest. If you’re looking to write a horror movie, this book might be a better resource than most official versions on writing. After all, you can’t break the rules of horror. Everyone knows that.
A truly historic book for this horror fan
The long and short of the book is that it goes through everything you can imagine would make it a horror movie. Go to space ? He has that cover. Are you being attacked by a killer doll? You know this section is in the book. Do you face the Devil in person? This is the last section of the book, and oh boy, is that a doozy.
The book assumes that there are some things that just don’t work in horror movies. You, as a new resident of the Terrorverse, should know all the tricks of the trade. Are you in a tight spot and need a line that no one could say in a horror movie because it’s too intellectually dense? This book has a list of them.
A Personally Influential Book Every Horror Fan Should Read
As a horror fan and old / still scared cat, this book shaped my love of the genre. Once you see the absurdity of the horror genre, it quickly becomes something fun and less scary. Of course, you can still be wowed by the bizarre atmospheric horror or horror flick, but once you know the rules of engagement you can beat pretty much anything the Terrorverse throws at you.
So for all those terrified 7th graders, grab a copy of this book and join the rest of us in the Terrorverse, ready and waiting for whatever may be thrown at you.
THS Fright-A-Thon is a celebration of all that is horror, you can check out the entire Fright-A-Thon collection here!
For more on horror, slashers, ghouls, ghosts, or any other general pop culture, be sure to come back to That Hashtag Show.
You can buy the book here!