Butler, Ivan. Horror in the Cinema. A. Zwemmer Ltd. 1970.

The Horror Film - Ivan Butler

In the 1950's British periodicals would write about horror films with regard to the psychology of the genre. At the same time, and into the 1960's French critics related horror films to surrealism. This book along with Carlos Clarens' Horror Movies an illustrated survey (1968) were two of the first books to argue the case of the horror film as art. Horror in the Cinema is a consideration of the use of horror, the power to shock and terrify in the cinema as a whole and not just a study of the horror film. Butler discusses why cinema is the ideal medium for horror and praises the unseen and atmospheric horror of Val Lewton (high grade, low budget) over shoddy sadism and eroticism (cheap sensationalism e.g. Hammer). He also reviews two very influential Italian horror films directed by Mario Bava, Blood and Black Lace (1964), and Black Sunday (1961).

Carroll, N. The Philosophy of Horror. Routledge, London. 1990.

The Philosophy of Horror - Noel Carroll

A serious study of the aesthetics of horror. The book examines the nature and narrative structure of the genre, dealing with horror as a 'transmedia' phenomenom. Carroll, a philosopher, cultural theorist and film scholar, tries to account for how we can be frightened by what we know does not exist, and how we can take pleasure from what horrifies us.

Clarens, Carlos. Horror Movies. An illustrated survey. Secker & Warburg. 1968.

Horror Movies - Carlos Clarens

This book along with Ivan Butler's "Horror in the Cinema" listed above, were two of the first books to argue the case of the horror film as art. A history of the fantastic film from George Melies and German Expressionism to Hammer, Roger Corman and Italian horror. Clarens analyses our fascination with the horrific.

Derry, C. Dark Dreams. The horror film from Psycho to Jaws. Thomas Yoseloff Ltd., London. 1977.

Dark Dreams - Charles Derry

Why do we like horror films? And why did the horror film resurface so powefully in the sixties? In his study of the evolution of the genre and its themes and iconography, Derry contends that the horror genre represents the most popular and accessible expression of our everyday fears. We learn about our society and psychology as well as about the films themselves. The book is divided into three cyles:

  1. The Horror of Personality (PSYCHO and psychological horror)
  2. The Horror of Armageddon (THE BIRDS, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD)
  3. The Horror of the Demonic (ROSEMARY'S BABY, THE EXORCIST)

Dillard, R.H.W. Horror Films. Monarch Press, New York. 1976.

Horror Films - RHW Dillard

Dillard first argued in favour of horror films in W.R. Robinson's book "Man and the Movies" in 1966. Over the course of the next ten years, many of the books mentioned here had appeared to further the cause of the genre. In this book Dillard closely analyses four films to examine just how the horror film is a valid and meaningful artistic genre directly related to our direct experience. The films discussed are:

Everson, W.K. Classics of the Horror Film. From the days of the Silent Film to The Exorcist. Citadel Press, New Jersey. 1974.

Classics of the Horror Film - William K Everson

Freeland, C.A. The Naked and the Undead. Evil and the Appeal of Horror. Westview Press, Oxford. 2000.

The Naked and the Undead - Cynthia J Freeland

Hogan, D. J. Dark Romance. Sex and Death in the Horror Film. Equation, UK. 1988.

Dark Romance - David J. Hogan

Huss, Roy & Ross, T., J. (ed). Focus on the horror Film. Prentice-Hall International, Inc., New Jersey, USA. 1972.

Focus on the Horror Film -  Roy Huss & T J Ross

One aspect of horror films - as of the film genres in general - that clearly invites further study is the difference in national approaches to the same set of conventions. Of particular interest in this book is the chapter dealing with Georges Franju's Les Yeux sans Visage (France, 1962) that includes a contemporary review of the film by Pauline Kael who speaks about a disinterested audience craving gore. This is a common scenario for anybody who has attended the screening of a film directed by Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci.

Hutchings, P. The Horror Film. Pearson Education Ltd, UK. 2004.

The Horror Film - Peter Hutchings

Jancovich, M. Horror. B.T. Batsford, UK. 1992.

Horror - Mark Jancovich

Newman, K. Nightmare Movies. A Critical History of the Horror Movie from 1968. Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd., London. 1988.

Nightmarte Movies - Kim Newman

Prawer, S. Caligari's Children. The Film as as Tale of Terror. Oxford University Press, London. 1980.

Caligari's Children - S.S. Prawer

Skal, D.J. The Monster Show. A Cultural History of Horror. Plexus Publishing, London. 1994.

The Monster Show -  David J. Skal