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101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die

Books purporting to be the definitive list of films you should before you die are always going to be like waving a red rag to a bull or in this case, film lover.

Inevitably your favourite film is left out, ignored at the expense of some new kid contender on the cinematic block.

Happily though, Penguin's new book 101 Horror Movies You Must See before You Die (complete with its screaming front cover blurb "From the Creators of 10001 Movies You Must See Before You Die) is a pretty complete list.

Over 416 pages, in a handily compact book and from a myriad of contributors from a wealth of backgrounds (some internet critics, some academic researchers and some writers) 101 HMYMSBYD covers the cinematic offerings from 1910 to date.

Starting with 1919's The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and ending with 2008's Spanish horror, The Orphanage, the list is comprehensive.

Each film selected is given four pages - two of which are dedicated images from the film (be it either the poster or a shot from the flick in question) as well as details of where it was shot and which year it was released.

Every entry contains a minor discourse on the film, a brief discussion of the plot as well as comments down the side which discuss either the film's tagline or its appraisal on release.

Some may find the list predictable (I'm not going to reveal what's in there as that's the fun of discovering the contributors' choices) but suffice it to say, that some of the crowd pleasing (or stomach churning) favourites make it to the top 101 - and with good reasoning why.

Where this book succeeds is that it manages to pinpoint and reflect the changing attitudes to different kinds of horrors - in the latter stages of the years in question, it covers more foreign horror films which reflects how much of an influence the far Eastern efforts have invaded our consciousness.

It's good to find a book which demonstrates the path the genre's taken - and how it's been influenced by what's going on around it.

The book also scores because rather than include American remakes, it concentrates on the originals preferring to acknowledge the influence rather than rest on the inferior copies which have flooded Hollywood over recent years.

If anything this book will be a little erudite for people looking for just a springboard into the horror genre - however, if you're looking for a reference book to start a discussion among film buffs over what are the definitive horrors, then this is the tome for you.

RATING: 7/10

101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die
Publisher: Penguin
RRP: $30
Available: Now