Mastering Fear

Halloween is just around the corner...

Mastering fear : women, emotions, and contemporary horror

Schubart, Rikke. Bloomsbury Academic, 2018
358p filmography bibl index, 9781501336713 $130.00, 9781501336720

Schubart (media studies, Institute for the Study of Culture, Univ. of Southern Denmark) offers a fascinating look at female viewership of horror, challenging the stereotype of horror as a male genre. Using the concept of play and the role of play in human/emotional development, the author demonstrates how women who view (and, contrary to gender politics, enjoy) horror film use horror as a form of play that ultimately benefits them by helping them master fear. Schubart confronts the idea of gender, addressing it as a stereotype that can be unlearned and looking at how contemporary horror television and film helps subvert gender stereotypes. Using clear and accessible examples from a variety of horror films and television shows—including Let the Right One In (2008), The Babadook (2014), and American Horror Story (2011–)—the author illustrates how horror can teach viewers (male and female) new ways to see female roles in society; this is especially the case for older females, who are often repositioned as visible and valuable. This is a landmark study.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.
A. F. Winstead, Our Lady of the Lake University
Subject: Humanities – Performing Arts – Film
Choice Issue: May 2019