Our bookshelves are not short of film guides, and this new one, written by David Flint and Keri O’Shea nestles nicely in among the best of them.
Horror Out of Control highlights genre movies released in the first two decades of the 21st century, and as pointed out in the introduction, this includes those that hit screens in the year 2000 - even though that technically doesn’t count as the new century. The way this is put to us pedants sets out the attitude of the writers: “You may be technically correct but no one cares. Let it go.” This approach is kept within the 400 reviews included. Modern sacred cows such as It Follows are not given an easy ride just because of reputation and it’s refreshing to have The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) revered as the best of the series (which it certainly is). Both reviewers give their thoughts eloquently, and as is usual with collections like this, it’s always interesting to see how your own tastes differ with that of the writers, allowing you to come away with a new perspective.
The book doesn’t attempt to cover every release, instead choosing a select bunch with the emphasis on the films that are not written about as often. There’s also no rating system. Sorry, folks, you’re going to have to actually read to find out what the writer thinks of each film. Each film is reviewed on its merits and given as much or as little space as the individual writer deems necessary, so there’s no filibustering to pad out word counts.
The book’s black and white illustrations are as good as we could hope in an A5-size format, but this isn’t meant to be a glossy coffee table guide. Horror Out of Control succeeds in what it sets out to do: provide a snapshot of where the genre is a fifth into a new millennium. You probably won’t agree with everything, but you’ll certainly find a few movies that you wouldn’t have come across without it. If your film collection is dictated by whether the Blu-ray has a slipcase or steelbook, however, you’ll likely want to avoid it.
Horror Out of Control is only available here.