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Exclusive: Horror Movie Night Cookbook Offers Hair-Raising Recipes Inspired By Psycho, Jaws & More

Nosh on a health-boosting zombie kale salad while enjoying a killer Norman Bates cocktail.

By Josh Weiss
Janet Leigh with a tray of food in Psycho (1960)

Forget the boring old chips and salsa. It's time to up your horror movie snack game, and Richard S. Sargent is here to help with a cookbook of 60 ghoulish recipes inspired by some of the greatest movies to ever scare the collective pants off the general public.

"I have always been a fan and student of horror films," the author tells SYFY WIRE over email. "When my friends told me they thought horror was just pointless blood and boobs, I knew I needed to educate them on some of the best the genre had to offer, some of the most influential films, and some that are just really fun. When I started hosting my own horror movie nights, I knew I wanted to do three movies per night, themed if possible, so I could pair each with a course. I thought a lot about which films have impacted my own personal life as well as the genre as a whole and started narrowing it down from there."

RELATED: 'Psycho' vs 'The Birds': Here's how these two Hitchcock horror classics stack up

Hitting stands tomorrow from Ulysses PressThe Horror Movie Night Cookbook contains two separate recipes — a frighteningly delicious main course and a bloodcurdling cocktail — for each iconic film. The collection of titles found within the appetizing grimoire span everything from slashers (PsychoHalloween) to zombie outbreaks (Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead), to creature features (The Birds, Jaws), to supernatural possession (Poltergeist, The Conjuring).

"I started with things that are actually eaten in the films," Sargent explains of the writing process. "If something worked really well (i.e. popcorn for Scream), I would begin to develop my recipe, test things out, see what stuck. "If I couldn't find anything that I thought was a good enough representation of that particular film, I moved on to something a character might have said or done, the setting of the film, or even the character him/herself. Then I would figure out how to turn that into an interesting dish (i.e. a cultural dish from the Appalachias for The Descent). And, of course, each recipe has a cocktail pairing because horror movies are more fun when you're tipsy."

The Horror Movie Night Cookbook Cover

Head below for an exclusive look inside the cookbook, paired with a number of scrumptious insights from Mr. Sargent...

Psycho (1960)

"Psycho is one of the most influential films in the book and one of my personal favorites. As we peer into the room after Marion and Sam's afternoon tryst, she mentions that she would like to have a proper date night with her sister, broiling a steak for three. This felt like the perfect chance to recreate that date night, so I created a simple broiled New York strip steak served with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies. Like the movie, this meal is a classic. You can't go wrong with it. I then paired that with my twist on another classic, the vodka martini. 'The Mama's Boy Martini' is made with sugar snap pea-infused vodka, mint simple syrup, and a splash of club soda. It's clear like a traditional martini, so when your guests take that first sip, they'll have no idea what's about to hit them."

A recipe for "Mama's Boy Martini" from The Horror Movie Night Cookbook by Richard S. Sargent

The Birds (1963)

"The Birds is a Hitchcock classic that is near and dear to my heart as it is one I first watched with my mom, who essentially introduced me to horror. It has inspired so many other 'animals gone wild' creature features and never gets old. I chose to do a 'Bird's Nest Pie,' which looks really impressive but isn't that hard to make. This is a recipe that has been with me for a while, but took a lot of tweaking to get it just right. It is a mouth-watering pie filled with baked Asian pears and cinnamon-sugary cranberries in a nest of pudding cake. The smell of it alone will have you drooling like Cujo, but you'll be amazed at how much it looks like large bird eggs resting in a nest. I knew the drink pairing with this one had to have Grey Goose as its main liquor, so I came up with 'The Black Crow.' It is a fruity vodka cocktail that turns a nice black color when prepared."

A recipe for "Bird's Nest Pie" from The Horror Movie Night Cookbook by Richard S. Sargent
"Bird's Nest Pie" from The Horror Movie Night Cookbook by Richard S. Sargent

Jaws (1975)

"Jaws is a classic. When you think about Jaws, you think about how many people still don't go in the ocean because of this movie. I decided to do a floatie. I tried to figure out what might visually represent that nicely and eventually settled on a donut. It is a horror film, so we needed to make it a little bloody — with red velvet ice cream. This one is nice because it is a bit of a donut hack, using canned biscuits. Fry them up, add a little powdered sugar. It is super easy and super delicious. You could eat them just like that, but the red velvet ice cream adds another level. It is really smooth and full of flavor. If you have an ice cream maker, this recipe is also fairly easy. That dessert is served with a delicious blue cocktail that looks like you are drinking blood and chunks right from the ocean. You might need a bigger boat if you have more than one serving!"​​

RELATED: Watch: Viral Japanese Bath Bomb Inspired By Jaws Recreates Bloody Waters Off Amity Island

A recipe for "The Shark Bite" from The Horror Movie Night Cookbook by Richard S. Sargent

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

"Shaun of the Dead is one of the best zombie films ever made. It is a brilliant blend of comedy and horror and a lot of what makes it so smart is the sharp dialogue. I chose to develop these particular recipes from lines from the script — 'There is an I in meat pie' and 'a slice of fried gold.' Of course, a popular British dish is a steak and ale pie, so I knew that was going to be the main dish. A crusty, golden pie filled with chunks of meat, veggies and sauce, it's a great dish for a party. You can slice it into as many servings as you need, and it is super filling. I then paired that with a slice of fried gold — a slice of fried mac n cheese. These probably aren't the easiest recipes in the book, but they are paired with an ale drink that goes down really easily, so you can pretend you're the chef at the Winchester while you're prepping."

A recipe for "The Winchester" from The Horror Movie Night Cookbook by Richard S. Sargent
"The Winchester" from The Horror Movie Night Cookbook by Richard S. Sargent

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

"I chose the Dawn of the Dead remake, which I feel is a great example of how to make an exceptional remake while still honoring the classic that came before it. There are a few scenes that really stick with you as the credits roll. One is the zombie baby birth scene, so I chose to make a 'Zombie Baby Kale Salad' as an appetizer. Unlike the messy birth, this is a crisp, clean, refreshing salad with baby kale, roasted chickpeas, shaved parmesan and a zesty lemon vinaigrette. Very easy to make. It could even be served as the main course if you wanted to add a protein. That's what's so great about the book. Many of the recipes can be customized with a few creative changes. This is paired with 'The Flaming Zombie' cocktail. Yes, I used real flames. 'The Flaming Zombie' is a juicy, biting cocktail topped with gasoline — I mean, overproof rum — that you can light on fire and feel like you are killing zombies right along with them!"

RELATED: The first 10 minutes of Zack Snyder's 'Dawn of the Dead' are perfect horror

A recipe for "Zombie Kale Salad" from The Horror Movie Night Cookbook by Richard S. Sargent
"Zombie Kale Salad" from The Horror Movie Night Cookbook by Richard S. Sargent

The Horror Movie Night Cookbook: 60 Deliciously Deadly Recipes Inspired by Iconic Slashers, Zombie Films, Psychological Thrillers, Sci-Fi Spooks, and More goes on sale from Ulysses Press tomorrow — Tuesday, July 18. Pick up a copy right here

Sargent concludes with the reveal that he's "almost finished developing and recreating the recipes for Volume 2, and it is proof that not all sequels suck."

Jaws is now streaming on Peacock alongside its three sequels. Cannibal Holocaust, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Phantasm, Black Christmas, Prom Night, Train to Busan, The Changeling, Day of the Dead, When a Stranger Calls, The Exorcist III, Firestarter, Piranha, The Invisible Man, Night of the Living Dead, Terrifier 2, They/Them, The Turning, You Should Have Left, The Void, The Golem, and SICK are also streaming.