4 out of 5 stars

The horror film genre is filled with a variety of different off-shoots, but probably the most important of these is the old-fashioned Ghost Story. It’s an aspect of horror which can be adapted and morphed into whatever type of narrative a filmmaker wants. Ghost stories are inherent to the human psyche and they’re as old as humanity itself.  They’re as much about the mind as they are about the supernatural. 

Axelle Carolyn’s Fright Fest Guide – Ghost Stories (the third book in the Fright Fest series) takes a look at the sub-genre, offering detailed and well researched information into a variety of movies, from different countries over the last century. 

Belgium-born Axelle Carolyn is a film journalist turned writer-director and she has form with the ghost story, having written and directed the atmospheric 2013 chiller Soulmate. Here, Carolyn takes 200 films and looks into what made them work (or not work for that matter) breaking down how they fit into the horror sub-genre. The book features some obvious (or should that be essential) cuts (The Innocents, The Shining, The Changeling) but it also features films which might not necessarily spring to mind (like Ghostbusters and Sleepy Hollow). There’s something for everyone here. 

A great reference book which can be dipped into or read from cover-to-cover, Axelle Carolyn’s Fright Fest Guide – Ghost Stories deserves to sit on the bookshelf of all serious film fans.