Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


THE HORROR OF IT ALL: One Moviegoer's Love Affair with Masked Maniacs, Frightened Virgins, and the Living Dead. Adam Rockoff. Scribner; 2015.

As a horror enthusiast and author in the field (fiction and non-fiction) I was intrigued by The Horror of It All. [Rockoff also wrote Going to Pieces, on slasher films.] I admit that I'm not quite certain what to make of this tome, as instead of a survey of All Things Horror it functions more as one man's memoir while discussing horror/slasher movies [mostly if not exclusively splatter films] and ruminating on everything from teachers he hated to political issues such as the death penalty to what he thinks of French people. I thought Rockoff was quite a good writer when he did Going to Pieces, and I appreciate the often tongue-in-cheek tone of Horror as he destroys some sacred cows, discusses the shortcomings (to put it mildly) of horror fandom, and dissects some movies he feels are over-rated. [I can't understand what he sees in the mostly dull Paranormal Activity, which could have used an ax murder or two.] Of course, there's a difference between a horror enthusiast and a horror geek and I don't mean it unkindly when I say that Rockoff appears to be the latter. Sometimes there is an adolescent approach to the material, with him settling old scores from years ago, and reminding the reader how he is heterosexual at least once in every chapter. But Rockoff does have some interesting things to say about horror films (if he likes horror fiction, such as Poe, Lovecraft or even King he never says so) and the book, despite some plodding sections, is a breezy read.

Verdict: For geeks, gore-hounds, and fringe horror fans who didn't get laid in high school. **1/2.

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