The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror (Paperback)

The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror By David J. Skal Cover Image

The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror (Paperback)


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Featuring a new Afterword by the author.

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 decades, The Monster Show is a compulsively readable, thought-provoking inquiry into America's obsession with the macabre.

David J. Skal (1952 - 2024) was the author several critically acclaimed books on fantastic literature and genre cinema, including The Monster Show; Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen; Screams of Reason; Mad Science and Modern Culture; V Is for Vampire: The A to Z Guide to Everything Undead; and, with Elias Savada, Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning. With Nina Auerbach, he co-edited the Norton Critical Edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula. His writing appeared in a variety of publications, ranging from The New York Times to Cinefantastique, and for television, on the A&E series Biography. He wrote, produced, and directed a dozen original DVD documentaries, including features on the Universal Studios' classic monster movies, and a behind-the-scenes chronicle of the Academy Award-winning film Gods and Monsters. He lived in Los Angeles.
Product Details ISBN: 9780571199969
ISBN-10: 0571199968
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: October 15th, 2001
Pages: 448
Language: English
“Fascinating [and] entertaining . . . to understand a culture, you must know what it fears.” —Stefan Dziemianowicz, The Washington Post