Horror Movie A Day: The Book (2016)

FEBRUARY 16, 2016


As a champion of physical media, I must say, there's something kinda great about the fact that up until last week I was still tinkering with Horror Movie A Day: The Book and today people are reading it (or at least buying it and going back to playing whatever game they play on their Kindle instead of reading. For me it's Final Fantasy III). I assume when an author puts their last touch on a book and sends it off for printing, there are several months before people can read it, so at least in this one regard, I'm very happy about the modern preference for digital media. You can read the book on a device and use that same device to call me an asshole for recommending Rise of the Dead! That's so neat!

I'm also happy that such media is cheap. When the book is printed, it will probably be 35 bucks. That's not an easy purchase to make; even I'd balk at it and I wrote the damn thing. But the Kindle version is a mere $4.95, which is the exact amount of money I spent on a Frappucino yesterday that took 30 seconds to make and was gone in a half hour. For the same price, you'll get 800 pages' worth of recommendations, all pulled from the 6+ years that I was watching movies every day. And they're not just the original reviews you all read for free - I only included an excerpt to give context. Otherwise, each entry (366 of em!) are given nice informative headers with the director's name and all that, a synopsis (something I usually didn't bother with), and an update to the review where I reflect on how I feel about the movie now. Some of the movies actually got negative reviews at the time, and now they've grown on me. So you can see me argue with myself!

And they're a very carefully selected group of movies. As explained here before, it's a year's worth of recommendations, grouped by theme. A month of Asian horror! A month's worth of slasher movies! One month is devoted to monsters, and another offers you a movie from a different country every day. They're all dated (today's movie is Forget Me Not, in fact), if you want a recommendation, but you can also just e-flip to whatever sub-genre interests you and see what gems you might have missed. Or you can just read it front to back if you want. Even though it's a "guide" book like Ebert and Maltin would do (albeit just horror), I took a lot of time to make sure it "flowed" and could just be read as any other book. Basically, I wanted it to work for however you wanted to use it, and retain the spirit of the site, which was always about discovering gems and talking about horror in general. Using a particular title to launch into a larger point about horror trends (found footage, possession movies, etc.), a particular filmmaker, or even non-horror topics like video games is something you'll see quite often in the book, so even if you have no interest in a particular movie based on my "pitch", it should hopefully still be fun to read its respective entry.

On that note, I want to stress again that it's mostly new material. For years people asked me to collect the reviews for a book, but I had no interest in that. They're still here for free, so I'm not going to ask anyone to pay to read them again in a different order (even if it'd still have some value of having all the bad movies weeded out). They're all linked within the new review in the book, so you can see the whole thing if you like, but you get your money's worth just in the writing, and that's not even counting the intros, the foreword by Todd Farmer, and the great artwork that adorns each chapter. I've included the one for March (Killer Kid month) below, which is by Jacopo Tenani who did a lot of the HMAD screening posters. If there's a better value for $4.95 on the Kindle store, please let me know. Seriously. I want to know how I could have made it better.

Now, I know a lot of you wanted the physical version. Believe me, no one wants to see it in print more than me, but alas that's not gonna happen unless the e-book sells well enough for the overlords (that'd be the great folks at Drafthouse) to justify the cost. It won't be a small book due to the length, and they don't have the money or presumably the space to be sitting on a bunch of unsold copies. So without downright begging, I just ask you keep that in mind if your instinct is to scoff at a digital version. I promise, PROMISE that I will do something to make it up to the folks who bought the ebook and will "have" to buy it again later, either with a coupon for the same amount off, or a bonus chapter for previous owners, or even both. Otherwise, if Drafthouse thinks it will be a waste of money to do it, I'll have to self-publish it, in which case it'll take a lot longer. If you don't own an actual Kindle, they have a free reading app for just about every device. If you just don't want to read on a device at all, I totally understand - but please send the link out to your friends who might be fine with it, hahaha.

Regular readers know how long it took me to get this thing done. I started working on it almost as soon as I quit daily horror viewing on April 1st, 2013, and I literally just finished it last week. In that time I've conceived a child who is turning 2 years old in 12 weeks, lost both of my coworkers to layoffs (certainly didn't help speed things along), and finally finished the Mass Effect series. In the real world we lost Wes Craven, David Bowie, Gunnar Hansen, Robin Williams, Harold Ramis, and (apart from Wes most personally upsetting to me) Roger Ebert, who actually name-checked HMAD in a review once. Ebert was the first critic who made me understand movie reviewing didn't have to have an exact formula or format. He used "I" and and talked about things beyond the movie, and that was obviously a big thing about my own reviews. So even though he wasn't exactly flattering in his mention of me/the site, it was a huge deal to me to know he briefly knew of my existence. But back on point, this took a long damn time, and I hope you guys like it. (And if you REALLY like it, leave a 4-star review on Amazon. Not all 5's. You'll look like plants!)

If you don't like it, that's fine. I just want to urge you all to read the intros so you know exactly what kind of book it is. It's NOT the best horror movies of all time or even the best ones I watched for the site. You won't find Halloween or The Exorcist recommended within - I dug deeper and highlighted movies that maybe aren't perfect but were MEMORABLE, and that was an important thing to me as I spent the better part of a decade doing this every day. Better a movie have a few flaws but try to do something unique than a technically flawless one I can't remember two days later. You're not going to like every movie in the book. But you haven't SEEN every movie in the book already, and that's what's important to me. I wanted to champion the movies that helped me keep going while I was doing the site every day, and make sure you knew that they were out there.

I also wanted to once again try to convince you to watch Cathy's Curse.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. There's currently a minor glitch (one that's being fixed) where the book automatically opens up to the intro by Todd Farmer. Todd is great and I understand wanting to read something by a professional writer instead of my nonsense, but please flip back two pages to read the Special Thanks. A lot of great people volunteered their time to help me get this thing finished and I want to make sure you are aware of their contributions - unlike the site itself, this wasn't a one-man show. If you already have the book, you should be able to update it soon, I believe Amazon will send out an email when the updated one is ready to download. For everyone else don't let it stop you from buying, it's literally the only thing that changed. However, if you notice anything else amiss, or (god forbid, with THREE editors) a typo, just leave a comment or shoot an email to let me know for a future update. THANK YOU SO MUCH!


  1. I'm so excited the book has been released! Good timing too as tomorrow is my birthday, and so I decided it was necessary to purchase this as a birthday present to myself! I've already started reading it, and love it so far- getting into the February slashers right now! Thanks for all your hard work!

    P.S. I apologize if this is a repeat comment- I tried commenting earlier, but don't think it went through.

  2. Woke up this morning to the email that this had been downloaded to my Kindle. Can't wait to read it.

  3. Congratulations, and Thank you

  4. As someone who's been bugging you about this for years, I am duly excited to dig into this properly.

    As I read the intro & acknowledgements & thanks it fully dawned on me why it is I think you're one of the best writers about, not just horror, but film: your dedication to not half-assing it. You joke about your compulsive, obsessive tendencies, but it makes me trust you even when I don't necessarily agree w/ you.

    It would have been so easy to repackage a bunch of your "greatest hits" here & call it done. But you thought about the utility of the book, what would make it interesting to you, what could you provide to longtime readers & to newbies.

    As frustrating as it was waiting for you to get this over the finish line (a minor "frustration" to be sure, but you get my point), we're all the better for it.

    In the same way that Danny Perry's Cult Movies & P. Kaels books are an indispensable part of my view of the movies, and how I look at them, I'm glad to put this up there with them.

  5. I'm reading it sequentially and am halfway through January. Already added a couple of movies to my wishlist :)

  6. I'm really loving it. I think the formula is inspired, especially the themes-by-date thing (I always look forward to the reviews on the 23rd). And my birthday film is Who Can Kill a Child?, which happens to be one of my favourite horror films ever, so cheers for that!

  7. That's awesome! Happy birthday (soon)!


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