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Dark Romance: Sexuality in the Horror Film

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The darkly handsome man gazes deeply into her eyes. She finds him irresistible, wants to experience the passion of the moment. He grins--the movie audience can see his lengthened lateral incisors--and bends to her neck. The eroticism is horrible, and compelling. Audiences are drawn to horror cinema much as the surrendering victim. Afraid to watch, but more afraid something The darkly handsome man gazes deeply into her eyes. She finds him irresistible, wants to experience the passion of the moment. He grins--the movie audience can see his lengthened lateral incisors--and bends to her neck. The eroticism is horrible, and compelling. Audiences are drawn to horror cinema much as the surrendering victim. Afraid to watch, but more afraid something will be missed. Since the horror film is the most primal of all movie genres, seldom censored, these films tell us what we are about. From the silent era to the present day, Dark Romance explores horror cinema's preoccupation with sexuality: vampires, beauty and the beast, victimization of women, "slasher" films, and more. Separate chapters focus upon individuals, like Alfred Hitchcock and Barbara Steele. Entertaining, and thought-provoking on the sexual fears and phobias of our society.


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The darkly handsome man gazes deeply into her eyes. She finds him irresistible, wants to experience the passion of the moment. He grins--the movie audience can see his lengthened lateral incisors--and bends to her neck. The eroticism is horrible, and compelling. Audiences are drawn to horror cinema much as the surrendering victim. Afraid to watch, but more afraid something The darkly handsome man gazes deeply into her eyes. She finds him irresistible, wants to experience the passion of the moment. He grins--the movie audience can see his lengthened lateral incisors--and bends to her neck. The eroticism is horrible, and compelling. Audiences are drawn to horror cinema much as the surrendering victim. Afraid to watch, but more afraid something will be missed. Since the horror film is the most primal of all movie genres, seldom censored, these films tell us what we are about. From the silent era to the present day, Dark Romance explores horror cinema's preoccupation with sexuality: vampires, beauty and the beast, victimization of women, "slasher" films, and more. Separate chapters focus upon individuals, like Alfred Hitchcock and Barbara Steele. Entertaining, and thought-provoking on the sexual fears and phobias of our society.

39 review for Dark Romance: Sexuality in the Horror Film

  1. 5 out of 5

    Flick

    A very interesting book but given more to case studies than I would have liked - everything was discussed in terms of specific films rather than general themes and concepts. Still, I did manage to find some useful information for my work!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I've previously read two other Hogan books, "The Three Stooges FAQ" and "Film Noir FAQ," both published by Applause/Hal Leonard. Going back to this earlier title (my copy is from 1986, and has the slight variant title of "Dark Romance: Sex & Death in the Horror Film," with a color still from Herzog's "Nosferatu"), it's neat to see that Hogan's style (full disclosure: Dave is a former co-worker of mine and a friend, too) was already mature several decades before. The structure is nearly identical I've previously read two other Hogan books, "The Three Stooges FAQ" and "Film Noir FAQ," both published by Applause/Hal Leonard. Going back to this earlier title (my copy is from 1986, and has the slight variant title of "Dark Romance: Sex & Death in the Horror Film," with a color still from Herzog's "Nosferatu"), it's neat to see that Hogan's style (full disclosure: Dave is a former co-worker of mine and a friend, too) was already mature several decades before. The structure is nearly identical to "Film Noir FAQ," with a huge pile of films sifted through twelve topics, including "Keeping It In the Family," "Turgid Teens," "The Horror of Duality," and individual chapters for Hitchcock, Corman, Ed Wood ("horror" gets a little nebulous at times), and H.G. Lewis, as well as actress Barbara Steele. Within each section are capsule summaries and analysis for dozens of titles from well known ("Psycho") to obscure ("Cult of the Cobra"). It's clear that Hogan has actually watched all these films, and speaks eloquently about plot pivots and crucial scenes as they relate to his bigger thesis. I can't say whether the 1997 edition updates the text at all, but the 1986 edition is interesting primarily because of where it ends. The last chapter, titled "The Shape of Sex To Come," gives us a rogue's gallery of would-be future auteurs of sex and death, including Brian DePalma (who Hogan spares in no way with films like "Obsession" and "Body Double"), Paul Bartel, David Lynch, and this young upstarted called David Cronenberg. The slasher era is mostly a disdainful period for Dave, but he gives credit where it's due to films like "Halloween" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" as great films amidst the mindless hack-n-slash. We disagree on the merits of "Maniac," but hey...I disagreed with Roger Ebert on the merits of "Death Race 2000," too. I don't have to be a perfect match with a critic to enjoy their thoughts on a subject, and Hogan is plenty consistent in his likes and dislikes. Considering the rather old cutoff point, this is hardly an all-in-one guide to modern horror and the sexual treats hidden within. However, it's superb as a reference that you can pick up and thumb through again and again when looking for recommendations, and with netflix and various on-demand services, I'll bet you could track down 95% of what's discussed here. If you care about horror as a film concept going back to the very beginning, from the silents through the '50s creature feature, the '60s exploiters, the Hammer horrors and the '70s drive-in schlock, you'll be amazed by Dave Hogan's breadth and depth of knowledge. Anyone who's sat through a whole 24 hour horror marathon at the Music Box, for example, would be a fool (and a ghoul) not to try tracking down a copy of this. Beware! Take care!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gothicromantic

    This is actually entertaining book, why I give it four stars. Hogan´s comments can be rather crappy - fat victims deserved to die (yep, murderess is sympathetic because she killed fat guy), and while he showed completely healthy admiration to female beauty, he attacked women interested with clothes as worthless, shallow characters. Women are only to be watched, but they have no right to enjoy beauty themselves.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Heather Domin

    Informative, well-written, and entertaining, even if the presentation was a little too cooler-than-thou for my taste at times. It's especially interesting to read the chapters on vampire film and the splatter/torture porn genre from an 80s perspective, before the revivals of the 90s and present day.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jason Coffman

    Surprisingly readable, considering how dry and academic it could have been. Instead, it's both intelligent and accessible, and my only real complaint is that since it was published over a decade ago it's missing a lot of important modern horror films. Otherwise, highly recommended.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  7. 4 out of 5

    Erik Kyle Loncar

  8. 4 out of 5

    Pam Hermes

  9. 4 out of 5

    John Ervin

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eugene Nomura

  11. 4 out of 5

    BatterberryaGmail.Com

  12. 5 out of 5

    Paul Cornelius

  13. 5 out of 5

    William Schoell

  14. 5 out of 5

    Didier Vanheusden

  15. 5 out of 5

    Paris

  16. 5 out of 5

    Isis

  17. 5 out of 5

    Frazer Lee

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alicia ☕️

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ellison

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Winstead

  22. 5 out of 5

    John-james Sargent

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  25. 4 out of 5

    Irene

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Knutson

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  28. 4 out of 5

    McFarland

  29. 5 out of 5

    Valentino

  30. 4 out of 5

    Judson

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jim Miller

  32. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

  33. 4 out of 5

    Diana

  34. 4 out of 5

    Chris.s

  35. 5 out of 5

    Shiori

  36. 5 out of 5

    Maikel Aarts

  37. 4 out of 5

    McFarland

  38. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  39. 4 out of 5

    Putri Elfishy

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