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Screaming for Pleasure: How Horror Makes You Happy and Healthy

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Horror has the gripping ability to captivate…and enthrall. It hooks you with unnerving stories of dread and evil, pushes your limits and pokes every phobia. Audiences love to be scared but behind every muffled scream is something deeper and even more fascinating. In Screaming for Pleasure, S.A. Bradley takes you on a wild journey exploring horror, where you’ll discover wh Horror has the gripping ability to captivate…and enthrall. It hooks you with unnerving stories of dread and evil, pushes your limits and pokes every phobia. Audiences love to be scared but behind every muffled scream is something deeper and even more fascinating. In Screaming for Pleasure, S.A. Bradley takes you on a wild journey exploring horror, where you’ll discover what is so tantalizing about terror, including: • Rare insights about some of the greatest fright directors of all time, like David Cronenberg, Guillermo Del Toro and John Carpenter, culled from hundreds of interviews. • An in-depth look at 6 of the most impactful horror films by women directors, plus a list of over 15 women directors you should be watching now. • Relive the most terrifying and shocking moments in horror film history with detailed breakdowns of over 100 films. Plus, you’ll uncover how horror lets you peek in at what may be lurking within yourself. Screaming for Pleasure thrills you with the beauty and depth of the horror genre, dissecting films, literature and music that reveals how horror constantly reinvents itself and reflects the anxieties of each generation. Whether you’re frightened to watch scary movies alone or a horror obsessive, Screaming for Pleasure is the entertaining guide to help cinephiles of all types fall in love with horror again. Early Accolades! “With masterful brilliance and fireside charm, Scott Bradley beautifully navigates horror’s past, present, and future with undeniable genius, biting wit, and keen observation. A must have for any and every horror fan.” - Soska Sisters directors of American Mary (2007) and Rabid (2019)


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Horror has the gripping ability to captivate…and enthrall. It hooks you with unnerving stories of dread and evil, pushes your limits and pokes every phobia. Audiences love to be scared but behind every muffled scream is something deeper and even more fascinating. In Screaming for Pleasure, S.A. Bradley takes you on a wild journey exploring horror, where you’ll discover wh Horror has the gripping ability to captivate…and enthrall. It hooks you with unnerving stories of dread and evil, pushes your limits and pokes every phobia. Audiences love to be scared but behind every muffled scream is something deeper and even more fascinating. In Screaming for Pleasure, S.A. Bradley takes you on a wild journey exploring horror, where you’ll discover what is so tantalizing about terror, including: • Rare insights about some of the greatest fright directors of all time, like David Cronenberg, Guillermo Del Toro and John Carpenter, culled from hundreds of interviews. • An in-depth look at 6 of the most impactful horror films by women directors, plus a list of over 15 women directors you should be watching now. • Relive the most terrifying and shocking moments in horror film history with detailed breakdowns of over 100 films. Plus, you’ll uncover how horror lets you peek in at what may be lurking within yourself. Screaming for Pleasure thrills you with the beauty and depth of the horror genre, dissecting films, literature and music that reveals how horror constantly reinvents itself and reflects the anxieties of each generation. Whether you’re frightened to watch scary movies alone or a horror obsessive, Screaming for Pleasure is the entertaining guide to help cinephiles of all types fall in love with horror again. Early Accolades! “With masterful brilliance and fireside charm, Scott Bradley beautifully navigates horror’s past, present, and future with undeniable genius, biting wit, and keen observation. A must have for any and every horror fan.” - Soska Sisters directors of American Mary (2007) and Rabid (2019)

30 review for Screaming for Pleasure: How Horror Makes You Happy and Healthy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    All too often people assume that those who read, write and watch horror are either socially awkward creeps, or psychos who get off on scary and disturbing things. This new nonfiction book aims to change that negative perception. After reading Screaming for Pleasure, whether you love it or loathe it, you'll never look at the horror genre the same way again. I still personally remember the first real horror film I ever watched. I'd always enjoyed shows like Eerie Indiana, Goosebumps and Are You Afr All too often people assume that those who read, write and watch horror are either socially awkward creeps, or psychos who get off on scary and disturbing things. This new nonfiction book aims to change that negative perception. After reading Screaming for Pleasure, whether you love it or loathe it, you'll never look at the horror genre the same way again. I still personally remember the first real horror film I ever watched. I'd always enjoyed shows like Eerie Indiana, Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? growing up, but when I was ten years old one night my parents allowed my little sister and I to watch Stephen King's Cujo. It was a cheesy film, but it sparked my interest in horror films targeted towards teenagers and adults. No, it didn't scar my childhood for life or anything like that - in watching Cujo and later other 1980's King films, I found that horror films carried much deeper themes than just scariness. Oftentimes these films were commentaries on the darker sides and underlying fears of modern society, and more than that, horror films often showed the importance of love, friendship, hope and resourcefulness. Screaming For Pleasure highlights some of my absolute favourite horror films, from the beautiful 1970's classic Don't Look Now to Steven Spielberg's thrilling and comedic cult film Jaws. However, the author doesn't just discuss the films themselves, but instead explores what it was like to grow up finding solace in these films and why it was such an integral and nostalgic part of life. Reading this book really made me wish I'd been around in the 1970's and 1980's to see some of these films for the first time. Beyond the films, this book looks at the psychology and purposes behind the horror genre, and it reveals that horror is about much more than just ghouls and gore and spooky soundtracks. Horror is a way to make friends, express yourself and become an adult. It was a lot of fun seeing references to so many films that I'd been surrounded by in junior high school: Silent Night, Deadly Night, The Thing, Rosemary's Baby and so-on. I loved how this book portrays horror as this inclusive club that anybody can join, and how it looks at how films connect people socially. The author discusses the first time in the theater watching The Thing with his father, and I can definitely relate - my sister and I go out to the Cineplex all the time to watch horror films (usually we're two out of a crowd of maybe five or six other viewers, so unfortunately theaters may be declining). Anyway, Screaming for Pleasure is excellent in that it really captures the essence of horror and why its bad rep is rather undeserved. Nowhere does this book get pretentious or claim that horror is something for an elite crowd of film geeks or anything like that. Instead, it's a welcoming book sharing the surprising joy beneath the guise of creepiness. I'd definitely recommend it if you're a horror fan or classic film fan yourself, especially if you like the history of famous directors like Spielberg, Polanski and Hitchcock. This book also looks at other media in the horror genre, including some of the author's favourite horror novels (I can totally agree with him on Pet Sematary), music like that of legendary performer Alice Cooper (who's actually a pretty nice guy contrary to his vampire-like stage appearance) and reoccurring themes in horror such as devil worship, which seemed to coincide with a societal aversion to anything deemed "unholy" or "sacrilegious" early-on, not to mention the tragic crimes committed by the Manson Family, which tainted society's view of the hippie counterculture. Charles Manson too is explored at length in Screaming for Pleasure.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Isaac Thorne

    I knew it! Horror really does make you happy and healthy. S.A. Bradley's book is the Danse Macabre for Generation X and later. Chapter after chapter, Bradley discusses different subgenres of horror film, how each affected him on his personal journey, as well as the general psychologies of the eras in which they were produced. Bradley is well-read, articulate, and witty as he guides the reader through horror and, in the end, explains why it is an important yet vastly underrated benefit to humanity I knew it! Horror really does make you happy and healthy. S.A. Bradley's book is the Danse Macabre for Generation X and later. Chapter after chapter, Bradley discusses different subgenres of horror film, how each affected him on his personal journey, as well as the general psychologies of the eras in which they were produced. Bradley is well-read, articulate, and witty as he guides the reader through horror and, in the end, explains why it is an important yet vastly underrated benefit to humanity. I've been a listener to Bradley's Hellbent For Horror podcast for quite some time now. Much of what has been discussed throughout the run of the podcast is revisited in some form in the book. However, the book is not a replacement for the podcast, nor is it a simple rehash. They are companions. I highly recommend this book for any fan of horror flicks, especially if you've ever felt like an outcast because of your fandoms.

  3. 4 out of 5

    KT

    Real serial killers aren't anything like those in the movies. Ever wonder why? And did you ever think that the Addams Family was the most well adjusted group of people portrayed in popular culture? If so, this book is for you. Horror is a safe outlet for all our worst excesses and fears, allowing us to explore them without being consumed by them. This book examines horror through both an analytical and a personal lens, giving plenty of perspective while providing cool information - and tips on h Real serial killers aren't anything like those in the movies. Ever wonder why? And did you ever think that the Addams Family was the most well adjusted group of people portrayed in popular culture? If so, this book is for you. Horror is a safe outlet for all our worst excesses and fears, allowing us to explore them without being consumed by them. This book examines horror through both an analytical and a personal lens, giving plenty of perspective while providing cool information - and tips on how to get your horror on. Excellent, breezy read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    John

    There are few authors who are able to communicate the vitality, the essential nature of their own medium like S.A. Bradley. For him, and for fans of Horror, Horror is more than a genre, it is a mode of storytelling in and of itself. In 'Screaming for Pleasure,' Bradley gives both personal and methodological accounts of how Horror can help us through the darkest of times, and perhaps shine a light towards a "happier and healthier" future. Horror cannot make us immune to trauma (nothing can), but There are few authors who are able to communicate the vitality, the essential nature of their own medium like S.A. Bradley. For him, and for fans of Horror, Horror is more than a genre, it is a mode of storytelling in and of itself. In 'Screaming for Pleasure,' Bradley gives both personal and methodological accounts of how Horror can help us through the darkest of times, and perhaps shine a light towards a "happier and healthier" future. Horror cannot make us immune to trauma (nothing can), but it can help inoculate us against it, help us prepare for the worst life as to throw at us. At the same time, Horror can give us a focal point to channel the trauma we are currently experiencing. S.A. Bradley is able to communicate the ideas in the book (just like on his outstanding podcast 'Hellbent for Horror') in a straightforward, elegant way that makes his message easy to relate to and process. Not to mention, the book is just a great, interesting read. A must for Horror fans, film fans, and for open-minded people who may not have given Horror the shot it deserves.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stmcw

    I am the person S.A. talks about in the book. Someone whom used to love horror and then forgot it along the way. This book is a wonderful reminder of the great horror films that I used to watch, and more importantly ones I missed. The author is passionate about this art-form.. an art-form dismissed and call out when done bad, and renamed when it is done well (i.e. Get Out). You can feel the excitement the writer gets talking about why this genre matters. For horror fans new and renewed, this was I am the person S.A. talks about in the book. Someone whom used to love horror and then forgot it along the way. This book is a wonderful reminder of the great horror films that I used to watch, and more importantly ones I missed. The author is passionate about this art-form.. an art-form dismissed and call out when done bad, and renamed when it is done well (i.e. Get Out). You can feel the excitement the writer gets talking about why this genre matters. For horror fans new and renewed, this was a most enjoyable read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jill Van

    A great read for horror lovers! An internal look at the genre with great detail and much love!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kenzi

    This book was the perfect way to start my 'More Books in 2020' resolution. This book sums up perfectly why the horror genre is great! It doesn't matter if you're a casual fan or a diehard like myself.

  8. 4 out of 5

    F.C. Schaefer

    Sometimes the only thing more disdained than horror films, is horror film fans. If, like me, you have been one for life, then you know what I am talking about, the roll of the eyes, the dismissive groan, the “I hate those movies” retort when you mention that THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and THE SHINING are among your favorite films, and God help you when you say you’ve got the DVDs and have watched them dozens of times, that automatically makes you fit company for psycho killers. But the great co Sometimes the only thing more disdained than horror films, is horror film fans. If, like me, you have been one for life, then you know what I am talking about, the roll of the eyes, the dismissive groan, the “I hate those movies” retort when you mention that THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and THE SHINING are among your favorite films, and God help you when you say you’ve got the DVDs and have watched them dozens of times, that automatically makes you fit company for psycho killers. But the great consolation to all that withering scorn is other horror fans, and the joy that comes from meeting someone who shares your passions, someone who has suffered the derision of those who refuse to get it, and who understands why we love to be scared in the most wonderful way possible again and again. S.A. Bradley, to paraphrase the classic film FREAKS, is “one of us,” and his book, SCREAMING FOR PLEASURE, is a love letter to the misunderstood genre we revere so much, but more than that, a full throttled defense of horror films, music and books, and the people who are drawn to these works of art. I have been a fan of Scott Bradley’s podcast, Hellbent for Horror, for several years now, and this book is a good companion to the show, where he discusses the many aspects of the genre, and what it is about them that speaks to us so strongly. It is also a deeply personal book, as Scott details how a passion for horror films and books helped him through a less than ideal childhood, and some rough patches as an adult, and along the way gained a deep understanding of why horror connected with him, and more importantly, how it helped him cope with life. Scott also has a keen eye for why the genre has endured, how a film like THE EXORCIST spoke to the anxieties of the 1970’s, or how the 2004 remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD commented on the response to 9/11. He also does not waste time defending the un-defendable, such as the endless rip offs of HALLOWEEN and FRIDAY THE 13TH that glutted the slasher subgenre in the 80’s. He gives due deference to George Romero, Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter, and David Cronenberg, discussing their innovative works in detail, showing how they were onto something at a time when most other film makers had blinders on. There is a chapter devoted to the “Satanic Panic” of the 70’s and 80’s, when the likes of Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Black Sabbath horrified parents and teachers everywhere, and as someone who is not a fan of Metal music, I found this chapter most enlightening. Scott makes the case that horror is alive and well in the 21st Century, and shows how it has changed with the times, appealing to a new audience, now with the help of women directors who often bring a unique perspective to the horror films they make. The book is easy to read, there is no section that is not on point, or a view not coherently explained in plain language. Though many films are discussed in detail, Scott does not give away any spoilers, even to classics that have been out for decades, he clearly wants the uninitiated to seek them out for themselves and find out what he means. Both the podcast and this book have given me more than a few titles that have prompted a Netflix search, and I am certain more than one reader of SCREAMING FOR PLEASURE will do the same. I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER and THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE are but two horror masterpieces I probably would never have seen if Scott Bradley had not put me on to them first. The book is also filled with more than one great anecdote, but I think my favorite is Scott’s account of being taken by his father to see Carpenter’s remake of THE THING in 1982, and why the excursion did not turn out as expected. I loved his take on Jordan Peele’s GET OUT, and why it is a much better film about race relations in America than Kathryn Bigelow’s heavy handed drama DETROIT, while making the point that it is perfectly okay to enjoy the former as a straight up horror film and forget about the social commentary. Personally, I think GET OUT was overrated as both, and that is the kind of discussion SCREAMING FOR PLEASURE is trying to provoke. So rejoice horror fans, read SCREAMING FOR PLEASURE and go online and find Hellbent for Horror, you will be right at home.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mary Kay

    Screaming for Pleasure: How Horror Makes You Happy and Healthy is a genre-bending look at horror film, criticism of it, and personal narratives about how various films interest the narrator. This book is perfect for those either very well-versed in horror film or interested in becoming more familiar with it. He examines motifs of horror movies, their evolution and new applications, and uses his personal experiences with them to analyze them. I loved this book because--while it is OBVIOUSLY written Screaming for Pleasure: How Horror Makes You Happy and Healthy is a genre-bending look at horror film, criticism of it, and personal narratives about how various films interest the narrator. This book is perfect for those either very well-versed in horror film or interested in becoming more familiar with it. He examines motifs of horror movies, their evolution and new applications, and uses his personal experiences with them to analyze them. I loved this book because--while it is OBVIOUSLY written by a brilliant person, the complex ideas are still accessible.

  10. 5 out of 5

    K. Thomas

    This book thoughtfully articulates what's fascinating about horror. If you love horror, you'll love this book and the way it digs into so many different sub-genres. If you don't like horror, this book will help you GET why people are taken with it. An excellent resource that covers a wide range of horror in the form of movies, books, music, comics, and more. I especially liked the idea of cross-breeding horror with other genres. The author does an amazing job of noticing what works, whether it's This book thoughtfully articulates what's fascinating about horror. If you love horror, you'll love this book and the way it digs into so many different sub-genres. If you don't like horror, this book will help you GET why people are taken with it. An excellent resource that covers a wide range of horror in the form of movies, books, music, comics, and more. I especially liked the idea of cross-breeding horror with other genres. The author does an amazing job of noticing what works, whether it's the performance in a scene or the way music creates tension or how the screenwriter explores themes on screen.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Clarissa Jacobson

    Page turner of a book that has insightful and intelligent thoughts on horror but also has humor. I loved how the author brought his own personal experiences to why he loves horror and the demons he fought with giving himself permission to love it. The author is also incredibly versed in all areas of horror from books, to films to music and has unique thoughts about the topic. It's just a very smart book that is also heartfelt and fun to read. I learned a lot and was also entertained.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kristyn Sees

    This was a very interesting and thought provoking book. I could never explain why I liked horror so much. S.A.Bradley showed me why. He explains the history behind horror. He mentioned so many movies I have not seen that I see myself binge watching a lot of horror movies. Good Job! I look forward to your next book!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Hambidge

    During the first half of the book, Bradley focuses on the fact that the horror genre is disrespected, insulted and ignored by most film critics and fans to the point that successful horror movies such as “Get Out” and “The Shape of Water” had to be rebranded by their creators in order to achieve proper recognition. This is a compelling argument for Bradley to make until he hypocritically decides to devote a large portion of one of his book’s chapters to disrespecting, insulting and writing off t During the first half of the book, Bradley focuses on the fact that the horror genre is disrespected, insulted and ignored by most film critics and fans to the point that successful horror movies such as “Get Out” and “The Shape of Water” had to be rebranded by their creators in order to achieve proper recognition. This is a compelling argument for Bradley to make until he hypocritically decides to devote a large portion of one of his book’s chapters to disrespecting, insulting and writing off the entire horror sub-genre of slasher films simply because he doesn’t feel intellectually challenged by them. In running-down slasher films, Bradley becomes the embodiment of the critics and fans he proclaimed to hate just two chapters earlier. While the book on-the-whole was enjoyable and insightful, Bradley’s own biases and hypocrisies hampered what could have been a beacon of hope for horror fans that feel the need to apologize for their love of the genre.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Heather Michele

    *I won a copy of this book thru goodreads giveaways* As a horror addict...this is everything that I try to convey to people that don't watch horror and don't understand why I do. loved this book from page 1 to the end.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cory

    I liked it. There was plenty I disagreed with, but to each their own. The important part, and point, of the book, is to start a dialogue about the importance and value of horror, and the book really succeeded in that.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lona

    RTC :)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Johnny

    Fun and insightful essays on horror from the creator and host of the Hellbent for Horror podcast. I especially appreciated his connections between horror films and heavy metal music (in particular the history of the tritone...the Gregorian Monks discovered it in the ninth century...who knew?).

  18. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ian

  20. 5 out of 5

    Robin Dickert

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jon Schafle

  22. 4 out of 5

    James Sabata

  23. 5 out of 5

    Arlene Allen

  24. 4 out of 5

    Peter

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tristan Fry

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nick Johnson

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Grecco

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christa Rose

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katie

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