Illuminating the dark side of the American century, The Monster Show uncovers the surprising links between horror entertainment and the great social crises of our time, as well as horror's function as a pop analogue to surrealism and other artistic movements.
With penetrating analyses and revealing anecdotes, David J. Skal chronicles one of our most popular and pervasive modes of cultural expression. He explores the disguised form in which Hollywood's classic horror movies played out the traumas of two world wars and the Depression; the nightmare visions of invasion and mind control catalyzed by the Cold War; the preoccupation with demon children that took hold as thalidomide, birth control, and abortion changed the reproductive landscape; the vogue in visceral, transformative special effects that paralleled the development of the plastic surgery industry; the link between the AIDS epidemic and the current fascination with vampires; and much more. Now with a new Afterword by the author that looks at horror's popular renaissance in the last decade, The Monster Show is a compulsively readable, thought-provoking inquiry into America's obsession with the macabre.
|Publisher:||Farrar, Straus and Giroux|
|Edition description:||First Edition, Revised, With a New Afterword|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I purchased this book many years ago. As with many in my library, it sat on my shelf just waiting for the right mood to strike. I wish I'd read it sooner. It provided a wealth of entertainment; the kind that more likely than not, wouldn't have entered your mind on its own. Now, it all seems so logical. David J. Skal examines the horror genre, not only through the connections of stage performances and video, but the history made through the complicated eras they grew and passed through. If you're a fan of horror on any level, you owe it to yourself to approach the genre from a cultural point of view. It won't dissappoint.
My 2 Cents: I really got into this book while I was doing research for a film list that a friend of mine and I we watching. The thing I liked about it was that a) it took the genre seriously, but not too seriously (unlike most other genre critisisms that either repeat the terms "Kicked Ass" or "Sucked Nuts" or go way to indepth, past the point of being an enjoyable read.) Skal covers a nice range of films and topics that should make anyone interested in the genre happy.
This comprehensive study of horror in arts and culture manages to touch on subjects that cannot be reached in conventional reference manuals. While the scope of the subject matter is too vast to call any one book complete or inclusive, Monster Show is filled with revelations and interesting observations on all manner of horror, and is especially good at delving into causes of different trends in horror media. While certainly a book for enthusiasts, the curious will find it fascinating as well.