A Very Nervous Person’s Guide to Horror Movies

This Halloween, we apply a theoretical lens to horror films and examine how viewers can mentally prepare to watch the genre.

A Very Nervous Person’s Guide to Horror Movies

Clasen, Mathias F. Oxford, 2021
208p bibl index, 9780197535899 $99.00, 9780197535905 $19.95, 9780197535929

A Very Nervous Person's Guide to Horror Movies book cover. Man sitting in red chair dropping a bag of popcorn.

Theoretical study of horror is normally dry, but in this witty, engaging, and informative book, Clasen (literature and media studies, Aarhus Univ., Denmark) turns it into a fun exploration. He uses the questions that the “average Joe” who is a bit apprehensive about watching horror might ask regarding the genre and its impact on audiences. Clasen provides jargon-free, data-rich, knowledgeable answers to questions ranging from the mental impact on viewers to the societal perception of people who watch horror films. He even provides guidelines on how to watch a horror film, which he cautions should not be undertaken alone. Clasen examines the subject of viewership at individual and societal levels, presenting the pros and cons of the genre with clear, concise illustrations. Though obviously in the pro-horror camp, he lays out the facts about the impact and effects of horror film and allows readers to decide whether to venture into a darkened theater to partake in said genre. Either way, readers will find themselves well informed and prepared to face whatever awaits them when the lights go down and the creepy music begins.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.
Reviewer: A. F. Winstead, Our Lady of the Lake University
Subject: Humanities – Performing Arts – Film
Choice Issue: Dec 2022

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