The Philosophy of Horror

by Thomas Fahy, Phillip J. Nickel, Philip Tallon, Jeremy Morris, Jessica O'Hara, Amy Kind, Lorena Russell, John Lutz, Paul A. Cantor, Susann B. Cokal, Robert Gross, Ann C. Hall,

Series: The Philosophy of Popular Culture

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 0813173701
  • 9780813125732
  • 9780813173702
  • 9780813139548

Sitting on pins and needles, anxiously waiting to see what will happen next, horror audiences crave the fear and exhilaration generated by a terrifying story; their anticipation is palpable. But they also breathe a sigh of relief when the action is over, when they are able to close their books or leave the movie theater. Whether serious, kitschy, frightening, or ridiculous, horror not only arouses the senses but also raises profound questions about fear, safety, justice, and suffering.

From literature and urban legends to film and television, horror's ability to thrill has made it an integral part of modern entertainment. Thomas Fahy and twelve other scholars reveal the underlying themes of the genre in The Philosophy of Horror. Examining the evolving role of horror, the contributing authors investigate works such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), horror films of the 1930s, Stephen King's novels, Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining (1980), and Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). Also examined are works that have largely been ignored in philosophical circles, including Truman Capote's In Cold Blood (1965), Patrick Süskind's Perfume (1985), and James Purdy's Narrow Rooms (2005). The analysis also extends to contemporary forms of popular horror and "torture-horror" films of the last decade, including Saw (2004), Hostel (2005), The Devil's Rejects (2005), and The Hills Have Eyes (2006), as well as the ongoing popularity of horror on the small screen.

The Philosophy of Horror celebrates the strange, compelling, and disturbing elements of horror, drawing on interpretive approaches such as feminist, postcolonial, Marxist, and psychoanalytic criticism. The book invites readers to consider horror's various manifestations and transformations since the late 1700s, probing its social, cultural, and political functions in today's media-hungry society.

  • The University Press of Kentucky; November 2010
  • ISBN: 9780813173702
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
  • Title: The Philosophy of Horror
  • Series: The Philosophy of Popular Culture
  • Author: Thomas Fahy (ed.); Phillip J. Nickel (contrib.); Philip Tallon (contrib.); Jeremy Morris (contrib.); Jessica O'Hara (contrib.); Amy Kind (contrib.); Lorena Russell (contrib.); John Lutz (contrib.); Paul A. Cantor (contrib.); Susann B. Cokal (contrib.); Robert Gross (contrib.); Ann C. Hall (contrib.); David Johnston (contrib.)
  • Imprint: The University Press of Kentucky
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 0813173701
  • 9780813125732
  • 9780813173702
  • 9780813139548

In The Press

""It's precisely the extreme nature of horror that makes it such a lightning rod for debates about hot-topic issues within American culture -- like racism, women's rights, consumerism and sexuality -- along with broader issues of morality....Philosophy of Horror addresses the latter, with contributions about the hidden messages of everything from The Birds to Hostel."--Thomas Rogers,Salon" --

About The Author

Thomas Fahy, director of the American Studies Program at Long Island University, is author or editor of numerous publications, including Staging Modern American Life, Freak Shows and the Modern American Imagination, and two recent horror novels, Sleepless and The Unspoken. He lives in New York City.

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 0813173701
  • 9780813125732
  • 9780813173702
  • 9780813139548