Mathias Clasen, "A Very Nervous Person's Guide to Horror Movies" (Oxford UP, 2021)

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Films about chainsaw killers, demonic possession, and ghostly intruders. Screaming audiences with sleepless nights or sweat-drenched nightmares in their immediate future. Presumably, almost everybody has experience with horror films. Some people would even characterize themselves as horror fans. But what about the others—the ones who are curious about horror films, but also very, very nervous about them? In A Very Nervous Person's Guide to Horror Movies (Oxford University Press, 2021), Mathias Clasen, Associate Professor of Literature and Media Studies at Aarhus University, delves into the science of horror cinema in an attempt to address common concerns about the genre. He also asks whether horror films can be a force for good—do horror films have health benefits, can they be aesthetically and morally valuable, and might they even have therapeutic psychological and cultural effects? The book addresses these questions in short, readable chapters, peppered with vivid anecdotes and examples and supported by scientific findings.

Joel Tscherne is an Adjunct History Professor at Southern New Hampshire University. His Twitter handle is @JoelTscherne.

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