10 Good Things about THE BOOK OF LISTS: HORROR

When I wrote about the forthcoming THE BOOK OF LISTS: HORROR (Harper Collins) last week, I didn’t yet have the book in hand.  Yesterday’s mail brought two contributor’s copies and I’m very happy now to be able to appreciate the fruit of my very minimal efforts.  The book itself, on a purely physical level, is one of those deliciously buttery trade paperbacks (if you read a lot, you know what I mean) which lays in your hand so perfectly and falls open so easily, inviting you to read as the Siren’s call beckoned Ulysses to the rocks.  It’s small enough to fit into a backpack, briefcase or the bellows pockets of your cargo shorts yet substantial enough that you’ll get props from onlookers and your fellow commuters for reading an actual book.  Seriously, it’s the best of all possible worlds.  I’ve barely dipped into THE BOOK OF LISTS: HORROR but I’ve already laughed out loud and learned a few things.  As the book streets on September 16th, I’d like to do a little drum beating for editors Amy Wallace, Scott Bradley and Del Howison (as well as for my fellow contributors) and provide a quick Top Ten List of the good things I’ve found so far within these pages.  So, in no particular order…

1.  Edgar Wright’s Top Ten “OUCH! I’m Sorry, But That Has Got To Hurt” Moments in Horror Films.  Excerpt:  “DAWN OF THE DEAD…  Foreheads have been sliced off, necks have had lumps taken out of them, and zombies have been chowing down on humans all over the shop (literally in this one too).  One of our protagonists, Roger, has already had a meaty chunk taken out of his ankle by a hungry flesh eater.  That’s quite an ouch already.  But later, salt is poured into that very gash when another equally ravenous zombie grabs poor Roger’s now-bandaged leg and needlessly fingers the open wound.  That’s just not cricket.  It’s pure ouch.”

2.  Ann Magnuson’s Twenty-Two Sexiest Movie Monsters.  Excerpt:  “THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON…  Green is my favorite color.  Plus… those abs!”

3.  Cerina Vincent’s Top Ten Horror Movies Too Scary for Little Girls.  Excerpt:  “ROSEMARY’S BABY…  I was one of those little girls who wanted a baby when I was still a baby.  Until I realized that it was possible to have Satan’s baby.”

4.  Stephen Volk’s Ten Movie Fates Worse Than Death.  Excerpt: “Ray Liotta in HANNIBAL… Perhaps the ultimate ‘look away’ moment in recent cinema, this scene shows Anthony Hopkins’s increasingly camp cannibal living up to his nickname, and taking epicorean delight in serving up loathsome Paul Krendler a tasty menu of his own cerebral hemispheres–while, of course, he is still alive.  Porridge anyone?”

5.  Tim Lucas’s Ten Horror Films That Aren’t Horror Films.  Excerpt:  “PINOCCHIO… I’ve seen screaming children carried out of screenings of this film.  Lampwick’s transformation into a donkey in the Pleasure Island sequence predates all but one werewolf transformation in the cinema (WEREWOLF OF LONDON, 1935) and, almost seventy years further on, it somehow remains more terrifying, more agonizing, than any otther attempted to date.”

6.  Adam Green’s Top Ten Horror Movie Actresses Who Should Have Gotten Naked… But Didn’t.  Excerpt:  “Jessica Biel in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remake… Okay, I know I am not alone when I say that Jessica Biel and her body deserved two separate credits in this film.”

7.  Six Stars Who Turned Down Famous Horror Movie Roles.  Excerpt: “Sterling Hayden in JAWS (1975)… Hayden was in the midst of legal problems due to unpaid taxes, and whis salary would have been subject to a levy by the Internal Revenue Service.  Although several ideas were considered to circumvent the problem, none were deemed viable and Hayden ultimately passed.  Veteran actor Robert Shaw (who called the script ‘shit’) took the role and delivered what many consider the single finest acting moment in the film… Quint’s monologue about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis.”

8.  Vince Churchill’s Top Ten List of Films in Which, Wow, The Black Guy Lived!  Excerpt:  “DAWN OF THE DEAD… Ken Foree decides suicide is not the answer, then kicks zombie ass… up tot he roof to hitch a ride with the pregnant helicopter-flying chick.  It ain’t his baby, so no sweat.

9.  James Gunn’s Nineteen Favorite Reasons God Made Humans So SquishyLike so many writings about the Almighty, this list by the director of SLITHER fails to illuminate anything useful — specifically why our corporeality is so pliable — and yet this roster of ooey-gooey  horror movie deaths is certainly something to chew on.  Excerpt:  “A fallling church steeple crushes Adam Buxton’s head into his body, yet he continues to stumble around for a few moments (presumably looking at his own intestines) in HOT FUZZ.

10.  Alan Beatts’s Five Common Tactical Errors in Horror Films.  Excerpt:  “Confirm your kills.”

My only complaint about THE BOOK OF LISTS: HORROR is that there’s no contributor’s index (blame for this oversight gets kicked upstairs to Harper Collins, who nixed the appendix), which I dearly need at this moment in order to find Neil Marshall’s Ten Best Movie Bovine Fatalities and Staci Layne Wilson’s Top Ten “Killed by Kitty” Moments in Horror Films and the contribution from my pal Kim Newman, whose list has thus far eluded me but, knowing Kim, will be worth the wait.

Again, THE BOOK OF LISTS: HORROR streets on September 16th at finer bookstores and can be preordered from Amazon.com

4 Responses 10 Good Things about THE BOOK OF LISTS: HORROR
Posted By medusamorlock : September 10, 2008 11:27 am

That Cerina Vincent comment made me laugh, especially. This looks like a terrific book and one that will provoke much frivolity. Congrats on being included in such a wonderful compilation!

Posted By medusamorlock : September 10, 2008 11:27 am

That Cerina Vincent comment made me laugh, especially. This looks like a terrific book and one that will provoke much frivolity. Congrats on being included in such a wonderful compilation!

Posted By rhsmith : September 11, 2008 1:21 am

This looks like a terrific book and one that will provoke much frivolity.

Yeah, until you get to my list Ten Horror Films That Suggest Life Is Unlivable!

Posted By rhsmith : September 11, 2008 1:21 am

This looks like a terrific book and one that will provoke much frivolity.

Yeah, until you get to my list Ten Horror Films That Suggest Life Is Unlivable!

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