Why Horror Seduces

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en Limba Engleză Carte Paperback – 16 Nov 2017
From vampire apocalypses, shark attacks, witches, and ghosts, to murderous dolls bent on revenge, horror has been part of the American cinematic imagination for almost as long as pictures have moved on screens. But why do they captive us so? What is the drive to be frightened, and why is it so perennially popular? Why Horror Seduces addresses these questions through evolutionary social sciences.Explaining the functional seduction of horror entertainment, this book draws on cutting-edge findings in the evolutionary social sciences, showing how the horror genre is a product of human nature. Integrating the study of horror with the sciences of human nature, the book claims that horror entertainment works by targeting humans' adaptive tendency to find pleasure in make-believe, allowing a high intensity experience within a safe context. Through analyses of well-known and popular modernAmerican works of horror—Rosemary's Baby; The Shining; I Am Legend; Jaws; and several others—author Mathias Clasen illustrates how these works target evolved cognitive and emotional mechanisms; we are attracted to horrifying entertainment because we have an adaptive tendency to find pleasure inmake-believe that allows us to experience negative emotions at high levels of intensity within a safe context. Organized into three parts identifying fictional works by evolutionary mode - the evolution of horror; evolutionary interpretations of horror; the future of horror - Why Horror Seduces succinctly explores the cognitive processes behind spectators' need to scream.
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ISBN-13: 9780190666514
ISBN-10: 019066651X
Pagini: 200
Ilustrații: 25 halftones
Dimensiuni: 158 x 235 x 13 mm
Greutate: 0.34 kg
Editura: Oxford University Press
Colecția OUP USA
Locul publicării: New York, United States


For decades, horror fans have smirked at pretentious interpretations of their favorite movies.... Why Horror Seduces is an attempt to understand the genre as 'powerful experience,' and a case for considering it in the light of evolutionary psychology ... Clasen's book comes as something of a revelation. The fact that it is also a burning manifesto for the benefit of scaring yourself witless makes me want to stand up and applaud as I read it ... In thebook's best moments I feel that the child inside, pulling his feet up under the cover to hide from the monster under the bed, is granted a form of vindication.
His book offers a welcome and insightful contribution to the field, which would be of use both to students and scholars as well as horror fiction fans more broadly.
I can't imagine what it must be like to have a brain as crowded with ideas as his must be! This is an academic book, and sometimes those can be dry, but that is not the case here. Clasen is clearly passionate and knowledgeable about his topic and his approach.
Over the course of thirteen brilliantly argued chapters, Mathias Clasen uses the sharp edge of evolutionary psychology to skin the horror genre alive and reveal the wet red tendons twitching under the surface. Why Horror Seduces is sure to provoke admiration, argument, debate, and delight among fans and creators. An essential read for anyone who cares about terrifying fiction.
Who would have thought that horror could be so delightful? Mathias Clasen sheds light on the paradox of terrifying entertainment, illuminating human nature and the nature of art.
Mathias Clasen's wonderfully exploratory and explanatory Why Horror Seduces should be read and enjoyed by anyone with an interest in this most misunderstood of genres.

Notă biografică

Mathias Clasen is Assistant Professor of Literature and Media in the Department of English, Aarhus University.