Slasher Movie Book, The (Book)

Cover art:


The Slasher Movie Book (click for larger image)Written by J.A. Kerswell

Published by Chicago Review Press

Speaking in general terms, every horror fan loves at least one good slasher movie, right? Even if you’re only into the “well known” slasher films – Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc., etc., The Slasher Movie Book is a great place to get your fix on this particular corner of the horror genre.

I’m a massive horror movie fan (obviously), and not only do I relish the great scares that come from a well placed jump scene, but I love the history behind horror cinema. J.A. Kerswell does a fantastic job in The Slasher Movie Book of covering all aspects of the subgenre. For 203 pages The Slasher Movie Book takes you on a ride through Guignol plays to Hitchcock, and continuing into the 1970s, Kerswell is magnificent in laying out the roots of the slasher film before delving into the more mainstream films that everyone has heard of.

The book is laid out chronologically and offers a large variety of pictures from the films that Kerswell writes about, as well as their original movie posters. The artwork was one of my favorite parts of the book! I found myself fascinated with the posters of films that I knew well enough but never had a chance to see the marketing material for before these pages.

The Slasher Movie Book also contains one of the most interesting endings of any trivia book I’ve ever read. Kerswell takes the last several pages and adds stats on various slasher flicks – the body count, reviews, and famous actors that made appearances before they were actually famous.

I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable in horror films, and I found myself turning the pages quickly to find what else I could learn from this book. It’s a great guide for the person just starting to love horror films or for the veteran fan that just can’t get enough information. The Slasher Movie Book is a must have for any horror fan.

4 out of 5

Discuss The Slasher Movie Book in the comments section below.

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  • Scar Trek

    It’s a fine book, a definite 4 out of 5. Worth noting it’s been around since 2010 under the name “Teenage Wasteland: The Slasher Movie Uncut.” I’m not sure if this version reviewed has been cleaned up or updated at all, my big criticism of Teenage Wasteland was its dire need of an editor. I lost count of how many times the author used the word “literally” to describe a figurative event. Halloween “literally” exploded at a film festival, Tourist Trap “literally” comes alive, and Interior “literally” tore itself from newspaper headlines, according to this book. Add in a few repetitions of phrase within the same paragraph and good ol’ fashioned typos, and it all rather marred an otherwise fantastic book. Honestly, the only horror movie books I found more informative and enjoyable were Jamie Russell’s Book of the Dead, which does much like this book does but for the zombie movie genre, and Crystal Lake Memories, which is just (“literally”) mindblowingly comprehensive in its discussion of the Friday the 13th franchise. So this is at least in the top 3, which ain’t bad at all.

  • Jinx

    Great review, popkelture.

    I’ve gone back and forth as to whether or not I should pick this up, but now I’m convinced I must.


  • Vanvance1

    I never thought of A Nightmare on Elm Street as a slasher film.

    • Scar Trek

      Outlandish killer whittles down a group of American teens, killing them off one by one in over-the-top ways while they struggle to uncover his identity before one final girl manages to make a stand and vanquish her assailant… only for a final pre-credit scare to reveal the killer isn’t done after all.

      It may not use many of the visual contrivances of the genre (who could imagine a PoV shot of Freddy doing his thing?), but the structure is 100% there.