Here we have two volumes from John McCarty celebrating precisely the kind of lowbrow trash I specialise in: splatter movies i.e. films in which the blood doesn't so much flow as gush uncontrollably. The covers say it all: Volume One (1989) shows a hand holding a bloody butchers knife while the copy exclaims 'more than 400 of the goriest, grossest, most outrageous movies ever made, and Volume Two (1992) depicts a gore spattered electric drill and promises hundreds more movies.
McCarty's reviews in Volume One vary from in-depth to frustratingly scant but they're written in a style that is easy to digest (he doesn't over analyse the films or try to find non-existent subtext) and make for an entertaining read. Volume Two features predominantly longer reviews in the same style. Together these books make perfect reading matter for those who particularly like their horror cheesy, trashy and drenched with gore.
Essentiality rating (for splatter fans): 8/10.
Comprehensiveness: 8/10 — There are always going to be omissions but the two volumes cover quite a lot of ground (with plenty of obscure 80s treasures).
Pretentiousness: 2/10 — McCarty writes intelligently but always keeps it real.