Book Review: A Companion to the Horror Film

companionhorrorfilmA Companion to the Horror Film
Edited by Harry Benshoff
Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 2014. 588 pages.

My first thought about this book of collected essays was the cost, retail price of $180. Now, this is a very thick and heavy hardcover book, close to 600 pages, written by a group of people that have Professor or other intellectual monikers before or after their names. But is any book worth that much? Are you going to get that much out of it? Well, right away, Tim Lucus’ Bava book comes to mind and yeah, I do think that is worth the heavy price. Plus the fact that Lucus’ tome is quite a bit larger in size, and is chocked full of amazing color photos. With a price of $180, it is going to take a special collector and fan to afford this volume for their collection. But even if you have the money, is it still worth buying?

For me personally, there were a few things that I found very interesting, such as Aaron Smuts chapter “Cognitive and Philosophical Approaches to Horror”. He discusses what is known as the Paradox of Horror, which is a slight take-off of the Paradox of Tragedy, which asks the question of why we would want to indulge in, like reading or watching something, that is “likely to arouse negative emotions.” He asks the age old question of why horror is popular. But at the end of essay, all he does is recap his and others theories but never answers the question that he posed. But none the less, I enjoyed what he was discussing.

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