The Aesthetics of Horror Films

A Santayanan Perspective

Authors: Sopuck, Adam

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  • Provides a balanced treatment of the horror genre grounded in George Santayana’s theory of beauty
  • Considers how audiences derive pleasure from horror films
  • Explores horror’s potential educational or therapeutic roles
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-84346-5
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Hardcover 57,19 €
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About this book

This book analyzes the nature and functions of horror films from the vantage of a theoretical reconstruction of George Santayana’s account of beauty. This neo-Santayanan framework forms the conceptual backdrop for a new model of horror’s aesthetic enjoyment, the nature of which is detailed through the examination of plot, cinematic, and visual devices distinctive of the popular genre.  According to this model, the audience derives pleasure from the films through confronting the aversive scenarios they communicate and rationalizing a denial of their personal applicability.  The films then come to embody these acts of self-assertion and intellectual overcoming and become objects of pride.  How horror films can acquire necropolitical functions within the context of abusive systems of power is also clarified.  These functions, which exploit the power of anti-tragedy, downward social comparison, or vicarious emotion, work to remediate aggressive, ascetic, or revolutionary impulses in ways that are not injurious to the status quo.  This book champions horror as a source of self-empowerment and unmitigated beauty, but also attests to the potential social harms of the genre.

About the authors

Forrest Adam Sopuck was awarded his Ph.D. in philosophy at McMaster University in 2015.  His areas of specialization are early modern philosophy (with an emphasis on 18th century Scottish philosophy and Kant), philosophy of mind (with an emphasis on the philosophy of perception), and early 20th century philosophy (especially Santayana).  His current work explores how Santayana's philosophical views contribute to contemporary metaphysical debates surrounding non-mereological composition, individuation, substance, colour, and metaphysical fundamentality.

Reviews

"Sopuck’s book provides a much-needed expansion of our understanding of the artistic value and cultural role of horror films. Engaging with scholars in the fields of psychology, philosophy, and horror theory, he carefully extends the aesthetic views of George Santayana into a highly original framework that he dubs the 'sport model' of horror aesthetics. But more than this, he then uses this framework to further examine the potentially dangerous necropolitical implications of horror in the contemporary landscape. Eminently readable, with outstanding degrees of theoretical elaboration and numerous cinematic examples, the book deftly balances the worlds of scholarship and popular entertainment, providing a work that is not only thoroughly enjoyable and personally relatable, but is also sure to leave a lasting impact in the world of horror theory."

--Vernon W. Cisney, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies, Gettysburg College

Table of contents (5 chapters)

Table of contents (5 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook 46,00 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-84346-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 57,19 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-84345-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Aesthetics of Horror Films
Book Subtitle
A Santayanan Perspective
Authors
Copyright
2021
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-84346-5
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-84346-5
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-84345-8
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 131
Topics