5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good to help understand how horror really works...., 27 Dec. 2003
I mistakenly purchased this book believing it to be another piece of horror writing in the same vein as many other great King novels. I was at first disappointed to find it is King's personal comprehensive look at the horror genre (film, radio, novels etc) from post WW2 to 1980. It was written as a response to all those who have ever asked why somone should want to write this type of material - and some equally facinating concepts as to why we buy it!
Despite not being a big movie fan or knowing much else about horror apart from King's work I found the book largely enjoyable. King analyses many examples of classic good and bad horror writing and explains what he believes constitutes a quality horror story and why it actually works for the reader. Occasionally the chapters can drag a little too long; but largely the subject keeps moving to maintain interest.
Even if you are not a big-horror buff the titles quoted and referrred to are described in such a way that even those who have not seen / read the material can enjoy and benefit from King's criticism.
Many readers will be inspired to go and find new horror material which is highly recommended after the analysis in this book. Films and radio are similarly delt with - not just well known horror but the obscure and sometimes little-discovered gems waiting to be re-discovered.
Not too heavy or academic; interspersed with King's dry humour and oberservation, an approachable way to learn more about how horror really works and why we people are drawn to this subject.
Overall worth reading as a change from just fiction.