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Is horror a fundamentally nihilistic genre? Why are those of us who enjoy horror films so attracted to watching things on screen that in real life we would almost certainly find repellent? Do monster movies have a deleterious moral effect on their viewers? In seeking to answer such questions, as well as a host of related ones, Dark Thoughts reveals that our fascination with horror cinema, and the pleasure we take in it, is in the end simply a natural extension of a philosopher's inclination to wonder. This is a collection of highly engaging and provocative essays by top scholars in the increasingly interrelated fields of Philosophy, Film Studies, and Communication Arts that deal with the epistemology, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and genre dynamics of horror cinema past and present. Contributors include Curtis Bowman, Noël Carroll, Elizabeth Cowie, Angela Curran, Cynthia Freeland, Michael Grant, Matt Hills, Deborah Knight, George McKnight, Ken Mogg, Aaron Smuts, Robert C. Solomon, and J.P. Telotte. Over the past several years, one of the hottest topics in the realm of philosophical aesthetics has been cinematic horror. The emotional effects it has on audiences, the mysterious metaphysics of its impossible beings, the controversial ethics of its violent contents-these are just a few of the concerns to have drawn the attention of scholars and students alike. . .not to mention the genre's legions of fans. Since the publication of Noël Carroll's groundbreaking study, The Philosophy of Horror; or, Paradoxes of the Heart (1990), and including most recently Cynthia Freeland's The Naked and the Undead: Evil and the Appeal of Horror (2000), a plethora of articles have been authored by seemingly normal philosophers about the decidedly abnormal activities of the antagonists of fright flicks.
Chapter 1 Acknowledgments Chapter 2 Introduction Part 3 Horror, Tragedy, and Pleasure Chapter 4 The General Theory of Horrific Appeal Chapter 5 The Mastery of Hannibal Lecter Chapter 6 The Livid Nightmare: Trauma, Anxiety, and the Ethical Aesthetics of Horror Chapter 7 Aristotelian Reflections on Horror and Tragedy in An American Werewolf in London and The Sixth Sense Part 8 Horror's Philosopher-Auteurs Chapter 9 Heidegger, the Uncanny, and Jacques Tourneur's Horror Films Chapter 10 Hitchcock Made Only One Horror Film: Matters of Time, Space, Causality, and the Schopenhauerian Will Chapter 11 What You Can't See Can Hurt You: Of Invisible and Hollow Men Part 12 Philosophical (Horror) Investigations Chapter 13 On the Question of the Horror Film Chapter 14 An Event-Based Definition of Art-Horror Chapter 15 Haunting the House From Within: Disbelief Mitigation and Spatial Experience Chapter 16 Murder as Art/ The Art of Murder: Aestheticizing Violence in Modern Cinematic Horror Part 17 Horror and Reality Chapter 18 The Slasher's Blood Lust Chapter 19 American Psycho: Horror, Satire, Aesthetics, and Identification Chapter 20 Real Horror Part 21 Bibliography Chapter 22 Index Chapter 23 About the Contributors