Screaming for Pleasure
Published by Coal Cracker Press, 2018. 290 pages.
By S.A. Bradley
Full disclosure here, folks. I’ve known Mr. Bradley for three years now, ever since he happened upon of few friends doing our usual after-hours get-together at conventions to talk about horror movies. At the Flashback Weekend in Chicago in 2015, a group of friends were gathered in the lobby like we usually do and talk shop. Usually it is about what we’ve seen lately, though we do venture off on other topics. All of a sudden, here comes this guy, wearing a kilt no less, and stops and asks if we’re talking about horror movies and can he join in? No problem! Now, I’ll admit right off the bat that I tend to throw some comments/questions out there to see just how much this newbie might know. Needless to say, I was blown away at not just how much Scott knew about the genre, such as the movies that he’s seen, but even more so the way he could intelligently explain his opinions and thoughts, enough to make the toughest of critics step back and think “Damn…he’s got something there!”. Now three years later, after already creating and amazing podcast, Hellbent for Horror, Scott has taken this same approach and created a must-read book for any and all horror fans.
In Screaming for Pleasure, we get to learn how Bradley’s childhood and his learning and dealing with the horror genre affected his life. There are some stories about his youth that are very touching, and some downright scary. I think most of us that grew up as horror fans, while might not have gone through the same situations, will at least be able to feel a connection to it and can relate to it on some level.
This volume isn’t just about his life either, but about the movies that have affected him. His chapter on his “First Kiss” is gripping, especially the way he explains which film it was and how he describes it. When he discusses seeing Jaws for the first time, he had me reliving my own experiences upon my first viewing. I guarantee that after reading this section, you will immediately start to think back of what your “first kiss” was. And then it will probably put a smile on your face. That is one of the things that I love about Scott’s writing, in that he very easily gets his point across, but in a way that still makes an impact and makes you think.
This book isn’t just about movies either, since there is some talk about horror fiction. He lists quite a few book titles that he recommends (which I agree with) for fans of horror fiction. He also goes into detail about how, like the movies, reading can also be therapeutic. He writes, “Sometimes the most powerful thing a book can do is to let you know that you’re not alone in the world.” For us growing up and having trouble dealing with a variety of issues, books and movies can be a great escape, as well as helping you get through some rough times. So the subtitle of this book, “How Horror Makes You Happy and Healthy”, does have more than a little truth behind it.
If you’re looking for movie recommendations, there are plenty of those within these pages. He puts the spotlight on a variety of titles and sub-genres, as well as giving a shout-out to some women filmmakers who’s work needs to be sought out.
Saying that I recommend this book really doesn’t do it justice. I devoured this book inside of a weekend. It’s not that it’s one of those page-turning thrillers, but Scott’s voice is so captivating and his ideas and messages come over like warm butter on a hot biscuit, just melting into your brain and putting a smile on your face. It will spark your imagination and get that brain fired up. It might have you pondering about your own First Kiss, or how you started down your own path of a horror fan. And that is a good thing.