Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Monster Show

Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Monster Show

Article excerpt

The Monster Show by David J. Skal W. W. Norton, 432 pp., cloth, $25

David Skal prefaces The Monster Stow with a quote from the 1931 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: "I'll show you what horror means." Fredric March, in his monstrous Mr. Hyde makeup, growled those words prior to changing himself into Dr. Jekyll before the horrified gaze of the good doctor's best friend. This new opus sets out to accomplish a similar goal, at least where movies, the stage, radio and other forms of amusement are concerned.

Subtitled "A Cultural History of Horror," the hefty book points out the relationships between the public's appetite for horror entertainment and the larger issues of human history. It is noted that horror films have reflected the real horrors wrought by two world wars, the Depression, the burgeoning interest in plastic surgery, the fears of the Cold War era, the threat of deformed births brought on by increased use of drugs and the introduction of "the pill," the emergence of AIDS, and many another crises of the past century. …

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