These are the reference books (the bibles) about horror that I have read, devoured and enjoyed over the years ...
The Pictorial History of Horror Movies
During my early teens this became the prime source of information (they even had it I the school library - there as a big demand for it!) Sadly Denis Gifford died in 2000. This was the bible of horror movie writing; this book was great!
It begins with the silent films of George Melies and Jean Cocteau and then takes you on a journey through the decades as horror progressed, stopping off at Universal and Hammer along the way.
The book was full of stills and movie posters and I couldn't wait to see the films for myself when they were shown on the television. Back then it wasn't rare to see a black and white Universal classic on TV, or a Hammer or two.
The Movie Treasury - Horror Movies
Having said that (about the above publication) I always favoured this as an 12 and 13-year-old just-reaching-pubescent-era teen, because it had lots of photos of lovely buxom Hammer babes such as Ingrid Pitt and Kate O'Mara, it even had the odd glimpse of - shock-gasp-horror - female nipple!
So on photos this scores better than The Pictorial History of Horror Movies, but the writing is great too I should add.
The Essential Monster Movie Guide
This is a directory of monster movies, TV and video. Each film is reviewed and given a star rating. Over 4,000 entries (no I didn't count them - it says so on the back of the book!)
The information in this is incredible, but there are some blinding omissions I have discovered, some films that you are looking for aren't included.
As a bonus there is an introduction by renowned horror collecto-maniac and Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine founder Forrest J Ackerman.
Clive Barker's A-Z of Horror
Compiled By Stephen Jones
Clive Barker is my favourite author, although this encyclopaedia of horror was put together by Stephen Jones, based around the TV series of the same name.
Not strictly about horror movies alone, but horror in general. From HP Lovecraft to Zombies, from Ed Gein to legendary French theatrical horror, Grand Guignol. There's even a chapter on Shirley Jackson, the author of The Haunting of Hill House, on which the film The Haunting was based.
This has some great movie posters in it too!