Pleasures of Horror is a stimulating and insightful exploration of horror fictions-literary, cinematic and televisual-and the emotions they engender in their audiences. The text is divided into three sections. The first examines how horror is valued and devalued in different cultural fields; the second investigates the cultural politics of the contemporary horror film; while the final part considers horror fandom in relation to its embodied practices (film festivals), its "reading formations" (commercial fan magazines and fanzines) and the role of special effects.
Pleasures of Horror combines a wide range of media and textual examples with highly detailed and closely focused exposition of theory. It is a fascinating and engaging look at responses to a hugely popular genre and an invaluable resource for students of media, cultural and film studies and fans of horror.
"Matt Hills's newest book is a useful addition to the body of theoretical work surrounding the circulation and reception of horror texts...The first part of the book is devoted to an extremely thorough examination of and refutation of existing theories dealing with the horror genre...He provides an interesting and insightful examination of the horror-fan subculture as it manifests through censorship debates and online postings. His discussion of postings to horror-related message boards is particularly useful, as this is an area that has not been widely explored by theorists to date...this book contains a good deal of useful analysis and information...Hills's thorough explications of existing horror theory are particularly valuable, making the book not only interesting for the new insights into horror theory that it provides but also useful for anyone interested in gaining an overview of existing theories surrounding the horror genre." -Beth A. Kattelman, Cultural Critique, 2009