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How to Survive a Horror Movie #BookReview

Title: How to Survive a Horror Movie | Author: Seth Grahame-Smith | Publisher: Quirk Books | Pub. Date: 05/01/2007 (physical), 05/18/2011 (Kindle) | Pages: 176 | ASIN: B004ZACEJ6 | Genre: Horror/Humour | Language: English | Triggers: Multiple (unnecessary) uses of the word ‘retarded’ | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Self-Purchased

How to Survive a Horror Movie

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
From ghosts, vampires, and zombies to serial killers, cannibalistic hillbillies, and haunted Japanese videocassettes, How to Survive a Horror Movie shows how to defeat every obstacle found in scary films. Readers will discover:
     •  How to Perform an Exorcism
     •  What to Do If You Did Something Last Summer
     •  How to Persuade the Skeptical Local Sheriff
     •  How to Vanquish a Murderous Doll
     •  How to Survive an Alien Invasion
     •  How to Tell If You’ve Been Dead Since the Beginning of the Movie
and much, much more. Complete with useful instructions, insane illustrations, and a list of 100 important films to study, How to Survive a Horror Movie is essential reading for prom queens, jocks, teenage babysitters, and anyone employed by a summer camp.


How to Survive a Horror Movie Review

I had How to Survive a Horror Movie sitting on my wishlist for a very long time. It looked like it might be funny and I liked the concept of it. But I will rarely pay over five dollars for a book. Particularly if it’s supposed to be more for humour than anything else because a lot of humour falls flat and there’s very little re-read value. And I’m cheap. I also wasn’t a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which is by the same author. So I’m doubly annoying – a cheap purist.

When How to Survive a Horror Movie went on sale though I figured, why not? I am glad that I waited for it to go on sale because it’s rather short for the price tag. I read it in an hour or so. I can’t say that I cared for the illustrations but that’s pretty subjective and it’s not like it’s bad, just not to my taste. Others may love it. I do love the cover and I’m always attracted to pretty (or blood-soaked) covers like Michael Myers after a babysitter.

 I found the humour to be so-so in How to Survive a Horror Movie. It amused me occasionally but never once made me giggle out loud (or even to myself, really). It wasn’t terrible, either. Just…middling. Except for the multiple and unnecessary uses of the word ‘retarded’ as an insult. an adult with a reasonable vocabulary should be able to come up with better. Like the chapter on Killer Hillbillies. Just exchange that word for inbred. Not so offensive and it still gets the point across.

It was also a bit repetitive in spots, particularly in the Babysitter Survival section. There’s also a lack of foreign horror. I’m assuming because of the year it first came out foreign horror was just entering the American market in a big way. But no mentions at all? Oh, there is one Ring reference and that haunted castles are charming but that’s about it.

Most of the ‘advice’ was pretty much what every horror fan has said before. And, if you’re not a longtime horror fan it’s unlikely you’ll get this book so a lot of the observations were ones that people have commented on for quite a while. In other words, there weren’t too many new observations or jokes in How to Survive a Horror Movie. This may be slightly picky but I think they’re a bit wrong on one article, also. One of the tips for surviving High School Horror is to blend into the background. Every horror fan knows that it’s the background teens that are the fodder. Also, the advice to blend into the background may be correct for males but for females to wear “a plain, knee-length skirt, unrevealing earth-top (preferably covered with a black cardigan) and ballet flats” is to plant yourself into the “Good Girl” trope. Who may or may not survive until the end of the movie. Your chances are good but not absolute.

There were also quite a few typos that, to me, are unacceptable in a book published by a larger publishing company and at that price. All in all it was an ok read but I don’t think I’ll be rereading it very often. In fact, it seems a bit like a quick cash grab after the success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. How to Survive a Horror Movie would have made a nice section in a larger book once all of the repetition was taken out. If you can find it a bit cheaper it’s worth a read but as it is it’s a little over-priced, particularly with the typos. 

Buy it on Amazon 

Published inBook ReviewsHorror Book ReviewsUnstarred Reviews


  1. Typos and errors really do need eradicating.

  2. This is a great premise. It’s a shame the humor is only so-so. This could have been pure gold. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the solid review. When I saw the title and cover I was eager to see what you thought. I’ll probably pass on this one. Might pick it up if I ever spotted a print copy in the used book store though.

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