Book notes 359 This is how Mathias Clasen starts his book Why Horror Seduces and the first key ques- tion he asks is, ‘Why does horror seduce?’ (p. 2). He reminds us that horror is ‘one of the most consistently popular and profitable genres’ (p. 1). He defines it ‘as the kind of fic- tion that is manifestly designed to scare and/or disturb its audience’ (p. 3). The focus of the book is on supernatural horror, which ‘involves some kind of suspension or breach of physical law, usually embodied in or caused by some kind of supernatural agency such as an uncanny monster or a ghost’ (p. 4). Clasen uses an innovative evolutionary social science approach to explain people’s interest in horror fiction and the variations in horror fiction across time and across different cultures. He argues that horror fiction changes are due to a range of biocultural factors – ‘a possibility space constrained by human biology’ (pp. 4–5) and cultural differences. The book is divided into three parts. Part 1, An Evolutionary Theory of Horror, sets out the analytical framework. It consists of four chapters, which provide a definition of horror, explain how it works and discuss its
European Journal of Communication – SAGE
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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