"Horror Films of the 1990s", John Kenneth Muir's third effort to analyze by year and decade that most maligned of genres....Horror....follows in the path of his two previous tombs, "Horror Films of the 1970s/Horror Films of the 1980s". As a result, the book is a complete success. Informative and entertaining, the book provides a platform for Mr. Muir to voice his opinions, likes, dislikes and theories on the pieces of celluloid which landed on the movie screens and our television sets and attempted to terrify our dreams during the 1990s. Muir covers over 300 movies (around 312 I believe) in the book and offers us his personal critiques of each one....the good, the bad and the ugly.
The book outline pretty much follows the same format of his previous entries. Muir begins by trying to explain exactly what makes a film a horror film and ultimately, that is determined by the individual, so it is unlikely that you will find complete sympatico.(Indeed, there are a few films contained in the book that I do not consider to be horror films). He then goes on to explore how the events of the 90s helped to shape and define the images we watched. Next comes the movies themselves. Each year is begun with a list of important events which took place that year. Reviewed alphabetically, Muir gives us a cast and crew list, a brief synopsis of the film and then the author's commentary. The film is also given a rating (half a star to four stars) by Muir. He provides equal time to both the good and the bad that the decade had to offer. In his previous books, I found that I agreed with his ratings more often than not. Interestingly, with this offering, I found that I disagreed with him a lot more......at least on the four star movies.(He names "The Blair Witch Project" as the best movie of the decade. My ranking? Um...well....let's just say it's....somewhat lower. And it had nothing to do with it's marketing strategy). We do, however, primarily agree on the "stink bombs" of the decade. One word of warning. Mr Muir does occasionally reveal some SPOILERS in his reviews (unavoidable at times) so if you are planning on watching the movie in question, you may want to skip that critique until after you've viewed the movie.
The book closes with a brief look at the new millenium, several appendixes which include various things like ad lines from the films, actors/actresses who've appeared in multiple horror films and their titles, a list of horror cliches and which film used them. Mr. Muir closes the book with his list of the top ten best films of the decade.
If you've enjoyed his previous musings on the past two decades of horror films, you will no doubt enjoy this one. If you're a newbie, this is a fantastic reference manual and a fantastic starting point to formulating your own opinions on the twentieth centuries final decades of thrills, chills, guts and gore.