Reading Horror

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I just finished reading The Horror Film by Rick Worland, published by Blackwell. It is superbly written and potentially fascinating even for the horror anti-fan.

Worland discusses social factors that influence what horror films get made and repeated, and the ways in which horror has affected it’s audiences historically. He analyses the production of horror films during wartimes of the 20th century, also applicable to contemporary wartime horror film production.

The author gives excellent analyses of several pivotal slashers including Hallowe’en and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

He writes about horror and humour, referring to Le Théâtre du Grand Guignol which ran from 1897 to 1962 and featured bloody one act stagings of stabbings, rapes, electrocutions, and other horrors. Typically Le Grand Guignol mixed horror with humour. (p 111)
Suggesting that horror and humour can be combined only carefully to avoid a failure of both, he champions the bizarre 80s film Re-Animator for succeeding in creating a balance.

Maybe I’ve seen too many horror films, but the writing is so compelling that this book begs a sequel.

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