It’s Official! You Suck! The Non-Spoiler Spoiler Edition



You weak, pathetic internet writers! You suck!




Shao Kahn is furious.  While scouring the Earthrealm for those to punish and cast into slavery, he came across a number of horror writers on the internet.  Ready to smash these weak, pathetic fools with a Hammer Blow Fatality, he raised his weapon to deal the final blow.  But right before the hammer came down, from out of nowhere came…  Dude, are you kidding me?  I’m not telling you what happened.  That would be a spoiler.  And while we’re on the subject of internet horror writers and spoilers:  Shao Kahn says, You Suck!






About a week and a half ago, I came across something so astoundingly ridiculous and stupid I couldn’t believe it at first.  Apparently Lionsgate had either screened their new film CABIN IN THE WOODS for “critics,” or had sent out screener copies on disc.  That’s not the astounding part.  What sent me reeling was that out of nowhere, all these horror sites were announcing they had posted “spoiler free” reviews of the flick.  To which I reacted:




Here’s the deal.  I’m not formally trained in journalism.  In fact, I’ve never worked for a newspaper, not even my high school rag.  When I started writing horror reviews back in 2007, I had no experience as a reviewer of anything, officially.  But I am a voracious reader, and I’ve been reading movie reviews since I was in high school.  From all that reading, I knew when I started reviewing myself that you don’t ruin the story for your audience.  It’s a sin when somebody’s excited to see some new movie or read some new book, and a reviewer deflates that jazzed up feeling by spoiling the ending, giving away a twist, or blurting out crucial plot points from the second and third acts.  It also makes that reviewer a schmuck.  And no, putting ***SPOILERS*** in front of the dreck he’s spewing out doesn’t make it any better, or him any less a schmuck.




CABIN IN THE WOODS non-spoiled



The problem is, internet “journalism” is a joke.  I have a Master’s degree in language and ran a 4.0 GPA, but if I applied to the New York Times as a journalist, they’d laugh me out the door.  And I know how to write.  Most of these so-called “journalists” don’t.  They aren’t devotees of any school of writing;  they’re just fans with an internet connection.  Their writing skills are deplorable, and I have no idea why anyone would read them.  Anybody can start a website and call herself a “journalist,” and it’s an insult to real journalists.  Dozens of new horror sites are creeping up every week, and the sloppy writing degrades any real analysis of the genre.


But it’s not just the little guys.  A small number of sites make up the horror elite, and they’re just as bad.  One dude who’s been on TV shows as a horror “expert” spoiled so many movies in his reviews that I stopped reading him, and I’ll never go back.  Thing is, people see this guy on “Top 1,000 Terror Moments” or what have you, and the layman considers him an “expert.”  Because that’s what the show tells its audience.  When its audience becomes his audience, then horror fans suffer when he spoils films for them.


Now you may think I’m trashing everybody in all directions because I run a horror site, and that this is some “holier than thou” deal to puff up my chest.  Or I’m not a big shot, so here I am throwing sour grapes at people with an audience 10,000 times mine.  You’re entitled to your opinion, but that’s not why I’m writing this.  What I’m really saying is, you deserve better.  As a horror fan, you deserve to be respected.  The reviewer should appreciate you and the time you’re taking to read his review, enough so that he’s not going to tell you the ending of a movie.  It angers me as someone who loves literature and language that spoilers run roughshod across the internet.  It angers me as a horror fan myself that you and I don’t get the respect we deserve.



Michael Gingold, avowed non-spoiler




Fortunately, there are a few who know what they’re doing.  I hold Michael Gingold as the paragon of horror reviewers.  He’s bright, eloquent, and I’ve never read a single review of his where he’s spoiled anything for me.  Fangoria’s employed him for many years, and he’s a credit to both their magazine and website.  He understands how a review works, and how to treat his audience properly.


The reason I went apoplectic about a bunch of sites promising “spoiler free” reviews of CABIN IN THE WOODS was simple:  It’s supposed to go without saying that a review will be spoiler free.  All of them I’ve written for Death Ensemble are, so you’ll never see me making that statement.  And if you want proof, read my FRIDAY THE 13TH review.  You’ll notice I never identify the film’s killer, because even if you know who it is, some kid who’s never seen the flick won’t.  And I’ve got to respect her just like I respect you.


The next time you read a horror review and the reviewer has loaded his piece with spoilers, maybe you want to consider commenting to him that he’s taking away your joy with his words.  Let him know that he’s doing you a disservice by flapping his gums, and you’re unhappy about it.  And if that doesn’t work, or even if it does, tell him that Shao Kahn says… “It’s official!  You suck!”


-Phil Fasso

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