When a film gives you a real chill because you know that what's happening on screen could well happen in real life, you're watching a thriller. Thriller films aren't made safe by the trappings of fantasy and horror and, oftentimes, their protagonists are as dark as their villains. From early films such as M and Gaslight to modern day masterpieces such as Misery and Memento, Killer Movies: The Essential Thrillers serves as a guide to some of the best that this genre has to offer. If you like your plots complex, your heroes a bit on the dark side of things and the tension to be very, very real, you'll find plenty to enjoy in this book. Written for the viewer, it doesn't spend its time reciting well-known details about directors, productions and other technical information, but concentrates on the story and why these films tend to stay with people for a long time. After all, when you remember a thriller film, it's not because you caught an interesting camera angle or directorial technique. It's because, at the root of it, directors such as Hitchcock and others that he influenced knew how to scare an audience in a way that they'd never forget and, yet, in a way that also ensured that they'd come back for more. The films in this book are accompanied by detailed information on the tropes, conventions and story elements of these films that make them as powerful as they are, and that clue the audience in to what fear is really all about.