THE BASEMENT BOOKSHELF: “The Fright File: 150 Films To See Before Halloween” by Dustin Putman

Movie review books. Those film guides that present to you an assortment of movies reviewed by a complete stranger. How do you know which ones to buy and which ones to avoid like the plague? This is really a tough question to answer, especially since we all have our own personal tastes (as do the authors of these books). It seems that a new guide comes out on an almost weekly basis and all have mixed reviews. So again, how do you know which ones to buy? I guess it really depends on what you are looking for.

I am not a big fan of the movie guide that features every genre of movie. The reason for this is because, like I said earlier, everyone has their own personal taste and it may not agree with your own. Some people may love dramas but hate horror, so that will reflect in the book. So what do you do; give a book a negative review because the author’s opinion doesn’t match yours? I have actually seen this happen!

The key to enjoying a movie guide is to keep an open mind and realize that we do all have our own personal tastes and just because the author may not like a movie you love, it does not make the book bad. When I buy a movie guide I am looking to see what that author liked or disliked about my favorite movies and if he dislikes something, I am very interested in why he dislikes it. Thankfully we are also seeing an increase in genre-specific movie guides, especially when it comes to horror and science fiction, two of my favorite movie types. This review is on one of these books, “The Fright File: 150 Films To See Before Halloween.”

What attracted me to this book, and its author Dustin Putman, is how the book originated. First off, Dustin has his own website called The Film File where he reviews movies. I felt a connection to Dustin since I do the very same thing right here. Dustin takes it a step further though and collected 150 of his favorite horror films “The Fright File: 150 Films To See Before Halloween.” These movies all get positive reviews, for various reasons, and are all highly recommended by the author (and this author as well).

Dustin immediately eliminates people getting mad at him for not liking one of their movies, a very clever ploy. He then gathers the best of the best in a nice, compact, 492 page book that is a lot of fun to read. This really is one of the best movie guides I have ever gotten and is one I was able to read cover-to-cover. I know that I personally have an assortment of movies that I pull out every October to watch to get me in the Halloween spirit and now, thanks to this book, I have added many more titles to that list. Dustin has been doing reviews for over 20 years and he really does know his stuff!

What makes this book a welcome addition to any book collection is that it is written by a fan of the genre and believe me when I say this, it helps a lot! Why read a book about horror movies authored by someone who hates the genre? I found some films in here, that upon initial release I was not a big fan of but thanks to Dustin’s insights, I will now be re-watching. I cannot recommend this book enough and hopefully Dustin will release other books in the future! I would love to see his list of 150 favorite science fiction films.

This book is invaluable, especially around the beginning of September when thoughts start going to Halloween. Get your copy today! Don’t forget to read other entries in my BASEMENT BOOK SHELF series!

~David Albaugh

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