Wednesday 30 January 2019

Dark Book Review: Screaming for Pleasure – How Horror Makes You Happy and Healthy

Dark Book Review: Screaming for Pleasure –
How Horror Makes You Happy and Healthy

Review by Casey Douglass

Screaming for Pleasure

I’ve always known that horror was good for me. Except when I was so scared that I struggled to sleep at night for fear of nightmares. I was young then though, and once I became interested in dark things, the fear was replaced by fascination, and also, the courage to look more closely. S.A Bradley’s book: Screaming for Pleasure – How Horror Makes You Happy and Healthy, as you would imagine, is focussed on the notion of horror being beneficial, but as in most good books, its scope is wider than you might imagine.

A quick perusal of the chapter headings soon shows the various areas into which the book delves, from the mechanics of horror, what it actually is, the way that horror handles certain themes such as sex and gore, all the way to the various forms it takes, from film to books and music. I must admit that going in, I didn’t realise how broadly the book would roam, and it was a pleasant surprise to be confronted with such a range of topics.

There were plenty of areas that I hadn’t really thought too deeply about before, such as what the communal experience of watching horror on a big screen brings the viewers, and also the way that we get into horror, the often illicit “your parents say you can’t” kind of thrill that watching a “video nasty” might provide. Ah VHS, you little plasticy bastards, with your cute plastic windows that let greedy eyes feast on your coiled insides, wondering what you might throw onto the screen. Good times. Each section of Screaming for Pleasure also ends with an info-box of recommendations or interesting facts, from notorious sacrilegious horror movies, to a list of horror movies and the phobias that they play on. This is a nice touch to round off the chapter, and a great way to learn about horrors that you may not have heard of.

Even though I enjoyed the author’s analysis of the more intellectual/mechanical sides of horror, it was his own stories about how it helped him that I found most gripping. From helping his younger self deal with the turbulence in his early home life, to the time in later life when the horror community proved to be a valuable tonic to his feelings of isolation. In my own experience, I know the sanctuary that a good horror can provide at those times that life seems especially shit, be that by way of book, film or music, so it was really interesting to see how it helped someone else in the same way.

Screaming for Pleasure – How Horror Makes You Happy and Healthy is a worthy read for anyone that views themselves as a horror fan, or anyone that would just like to understand what draws people to horror itself. The variety of sections and horror suggestions it contains, married to the author’s personal experiences of it enriching his own life, all add up to make a book that has been lovingly produced, and I am sure, will be lovingly read by those that read it.

Visit Hellbent for Horror at this link for more information and purchasing links.

I was given a review copy of this book.

Book Title: Screaming for Pleasure - How Horror Makes You Happy and Healthy
Book Author: S.A Bradley