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Book Review: Zombie Movies – The Ultimate Guide by Glenn Kay

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Zombie movies are the most excellent sub-genre of horror movie. Now they have their own book. Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide by Glenn Kay is an obsessively complete guide to zombie movies.

At its core, the book is a movie guide, with synopses of every major zombie film. Rather than just offer an alphabetical list of zombie movies, Kay has ordered the films chronologically, and introduces each decade with cultural and historical background for each era. The films get more in-depth analyses than most movie guide books. This of course varies on the importance of the film. Night of the Living Dead gets three pages, covering not just plot but history and cultural significance, but even lesser-known films like The Grapes of Death or The Frozen Dead get a full page of coverage. Each decade also gets a section of “brief reviews” for those zombie films that just don’t have enough content for more than a paragraph or two. Kay also devotes page space to zombie-related TV episodes (like “Go To The Head Of The Class” from Amazing Stories or “Treehouse of Horror III” from The Simpsons) and even music videos (namely Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”).

But Zombie Movies is far more than a movie directory. It is jammed full of interviews with important zombie-movie personnel, like FX master Greg Nicotero, legacy Antonella Fulci (daughter of director Lucio), FX makeup artist/actor/director/horror movie renaissance man Tom Savini, zombie movie historian Colin Geddes, and many more. There is also a foreword written by Stuart Gordon. Additional essays and sidebars include a look at the highest-grossing zombie films, weirdest zombie moments, a guide to knowing your monsters, and more. There is even a section that offers “zombieless zombie movies” – movies that are almost zombie movies, but don’t quite fit the “official” criteria. The book is also jammed full of hundreds of film stills and vintage movie posters. There is even a color-photo section.

Author Glenn Kay has certainly done his homework on the subject of zombies. His writing style is both knowledgeable and accessible. He has a tongue-in-rotting-cheek style that reminds the reader that just because you are dead, doesn’t mean you can’t have a sense of humor. Highly recommended.

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