I find lists endlessly fascinating.
Even lists of stuff I'm not really into.
I recently read a list of the top ten Russian ballerinas who have suffered from bulimia. I didn't need that information, but I was glad to have it.
What is the appeal of lists?
Is it the way they cut to the chase?
Is it their ability to distill intriguing information?
Or is it the fact that they answer the common question: "What do you think?"
I'm sure it's all three, and more.
The Book of Lists - Horror, edited by Del Howison, Amy Wallace, and Scott Bradley, distills over a century of anything horror-related and allows us to discover what a bunch of true horror practitioners really think.
It's heaven for horror fans.
We get Bob Burns's list of "Eight Worst Monster Movie Costumes" (The Creeping Terror wins), Bob Murawski's "Twelve Greatest Grindhouse Horror One-Sheets (Blood Feast takes the prize),
Anthony Timpone's "Ten Movies I Wish I'd Never Put On The Cover Of Fangoria (King's Maximum Overdrive comes in first), Barry Lost Highway Gifford's "Fifteen Favorite Late Night Tinglers" (Island of Lost Souls scores the touchdown), Johnny Ramone's "Top Ten Favorite Horror Movies" (in 1st place is Bride of Frankenstein), David Wallechinsky's "Six Overlooked Horror Films" (the Japanese Page of Madness gets the richly deserved top spot), Melissa Mia Hall's "Ten Favorite Horrifying Artists" (Paul Delvaux's The Village of the Sirens hits the finish line first) and Nacho Cerda's "Ten Most Profound Horror Experiences" (Jaws and George Grau's Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue don't go unnoticed).
There are hundreds more lists from names such as Gary Brandner, Leisure Books' Dan D'Auria, Victor Salva (who ruminates on the top ten things we have learned from horror movies), JF Gonzalez, Stephen King (naturally), Bentley Little (who shines a light on one-hit wonder writers such as Joan Samson and her amazing The Auctioneer).
The three editors, who also contribute lists, have done an amazing job of gathering a diversity of opinion and fitting it snugly between two paper covers you're going to flip open a lot.
It now joins my own dubious list of "Non-Fiction I Can't Live Without":
Killing For Culture (Kerekes/Slater)
Grammatically Correct (Stilman)
A Trip To The Light Fantastic (Hickman)
The Sex Films (Weisser)
The Misfits (Wilson)
Porn Gold (Hebditch/Anning)
A World of Imponderables (Feldman)
A Criminal History of Mankind (Wilson)
An Evil Love ( Wansell)
The Aurum Film Encyclopedia - Horror (Hardy)
Eros in Hell (Hunter)