Tuesday, May 17, 2022

What I'm Reading: Nightmare Fuel

I have a review in the current issue of Booklist and it is nonfiction. Not only is it a nonfiction book about horror films, but I would classify it as a comp title for my book. This book uses a scientific frame to talk about the appeal of Horror films. More on the appeal below, but first, my draft review.

By Nina Nesseth
July 2022. 304p. Tor Nightfire, $25.99 (9781250765215). 791.43. 
First published May 15, 2022 (Booklist).

Nesseth, a science communicator whose focus is on understanding popular culture and its fans, specifically in the Science Fiction and Horror realms, tackles why people love Horror movies, From a history of Horror films to a discussion of the movie monster, from the role of soundtracks and violence, Nesseth surrounds her topic well, but this title shines when she actively applies scientific research to topics like why humans find Horror so appealing, why some scares stick with the viewer, and even honest advice about how to forget a particularly jarring scare. Insets entitled “Scare Spotlight” where Nesseth analyzes a specific film and those labeled “In Conversation With…” interviews with current Horror movie professionals, further enhance the chapters in which they appear. This is a comprehensive look at why people enjoy horror movies to be enjoyed by all-- novices to experts, but it is Nesseth’s narrative voice, her ability to balance a conversational tone with accessible science that makes this an educational, thought-provoking, and just plain fun read. Readers who love Horror regardless of format, will eagerly seek out this title, but it is also a great suggestion for fans of Mary Roach or Grady Hendrix’s Paperbacks from Hell.
YA/General Interest: Many teen-fave horror movies are discussed here, and technical details will appeal to science-loving high-school students.

Further Appeal: This was a fascinating read, especially because I prefer Horror in the written format, not the visual one. This book helped me to understand my own preferences much better. Every public library should grad a copy of this book, because while those studying film will need it, those with an interest in Horror in general will LOVE it.

It really has the perfect balance of authority and conversational tone.

Nesseth included a list of movies watched for the project alongside a bibliography. I liked that. Holding herself accountable as a fan and a scholar/scientist. I could not fit that information into the review due to word limit.

Three Words That describe this book: conversational, thought provoking, comprehensive

Further Readalikes: Besides what is mention in the review, and my book, mentioned at the top of the post you should also look to Danse Macabre by Stephen King or any other Science of Pop Culture titles. 

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