This Time It’s Personal: A Monster Kid’s History of Horror Memories and Experiences

BearManor Media. May 2022. 414p. ISBN 9781629339009. pap. $30. FILM
Indie horror filmmaker Smith (whose films includes Camp Dread and Death House) documents his love for the genre in his first book, which combines memoir and horror cinema history. Smith’s introduction to horror came courtesy of his grandmother and her devotion to late night monster movies. As a child, Smith stayed with his grandparents to escape an abusive home life, and he writes that onscreen terrors provided a catharsis from the domestic terrors he faced as a child. This section of Smith’s book is the strongest, especially after the peace at his grandparent’s farm is broken by an event that later becomes the basis for his first horror movie. He goes on to relate other childhood stories, interweaving them with discussion of the horror movies he saw, where he saw them, and who he was with. Movie posters, stills, newspaper articles, and personal photos lend the book a scrapbook-like effect. Smith describes this book as taking readers with him on a walk, and his extended diatribes and detailed accounts of high school jobs and his dating history make this walk more of a ramble.
VERDICT Smith exhibits his expertise on the topic of horror films but occasionally writes like an overly enthusiastic fan, resulting in sometimes-unfocused prose, all tinged with childhood nostalgia.
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