On May 22, 2018 from Black Vortex Cinema, came an interesting book from Christian Ackerman, who asked many contributors to take time out of their complex schedules to pen, their favorite horror movie, but sought not a review it rather what film shaped their future, how they found it to inspire, embracing the art. The filmmakers in these pages express the love for genre and to many the obsession that emboldens them to strive forward creating more gruesome, scary and frightening films. Christian known to many horror fans, truly needs no introduction, however here’s one anyway, he’s held possible every job title on a film, extensive films credits tallying over 153 projects, and 26 in the horror genre. He worked as a production assistant for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, worked the heavy metal band Slayer on two of their music videos “Pride in Prejudice” and “You Against You”. He’s earned multiple awards as did his films, such as Hell’s Belles (2012) and some his recent horror flicks Bethany (2017), 2 Jennifer (2016), and Death House (2018). The cover art is by Josh McKevitt an artist and painter creating his version of The Ring, coming out of the old-fashioned television screen to terrorize your nightmares and plague your daydreams. Lastly, a great quote from the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock “I want to give them pleasure…. from a Nightmare,” a wonderful way to open the book.
My Favorite Horror Movie a collection of “48 essays by horror creators on the film that shaped them” quoting the cover, but more exactly the celebration of how the singular viewing of a horror film can inspire someone to find their identity and passion for the craft. Featuring legends of horror including Fangoria’s Tony Timpone who covered Psycho (1960) and actress Cerina Vincent (Cabin Fever) who kicks off the first of 48-films with her entry of Soylent Green. Four filmmakers Sean James Decker, Michael Gingold, Matt Mercer, and Alex Napiwocki note the influence of John Carpenter’s Halloween upon their careers and passion in the creations. The strangest entry comes from Bill Shafer for his chosen film “Beaches” yes the Bette Milder one, it reminds of the twisted versions or spins of The Wizard of Oz or Mary Poppins or even Willa Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Gene Wilde the mad psychopath.
B.Harrison Smith (Death House, Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard) shared his love of Fright Night (1985) and Rolfe Kanefsky (Party Bus to Hell ) notes Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, especially cool (as I always say as he did) “they never meet him, they meet Frankenstein’s Monster”. In addition, on his page like others in the book, the authors featured in black and white photos, sometimes returning items from that film they honor. Two authors cover another very cool film The Return of the Living Dead, although this book contains so many very good films, alas one author Jack Bennett who recalled how he became attracted and later involve in the horror genre, noting the sneaky way around to watch these flicks as child (I did that too). His photo has him holding 3-ROTLD, one the clamshell VHS tape, who remembers these, how many do you still have, unsure what I mean please Google it.
The other author, Christopher Jimenez (Sinful Celluloid; Danzig: Last Ride; and Hellevator Man) of the movie related to his life, his surroundings, a film with comical lines (yet not a comedy), and boldly highlights the standout scenes in the film as well as a killer soundtrack. Throughout his essay, he notes lines and other references noting a great film and one that anyone new to the zombie subgenre needs to intently watch and enjoy. As one can tell there’s a wonder of abundance of information and stars (such as Felissa Rose and Sarah Nicklin) expressing their views freely, reminiscing to the past, especially their youth. Christian Ackerman finishes the book out with his contribution in the form of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.
As a writer, journalist, and Podcaster, I always ask not what someone’s favorite horror film is, a tad too easy, rather what film hooked them on genre. Hence, I found this book thoroughly entertaining, always discovering what gave a person (a filmmaker) the driving force to strive forward, into a genre welcoming of everyone, and yet fraught with so much negative from critics. One could hope for a sequel, because in horror “there’s gotta be one” Stu from Scream (1996) and this book delivers the goods for any horror fan whether a fan of the genre itself or of those in the book. Highly Recommended!
Baron’s Rating: 5/5