Throughout history, human beings have been strangely fascinated by the monstrous and the macabre. In this study of the classic horror story, Dr Schneider explains the enormous attraction of these tales as a result of our thirst for the sacred, and identifies elements of the holy in familiar blood-curdling yarns. Schneider presents an outline and analysis of the underlying themes of "Dracula" ("A Study of Hyperconstriction"), "Frankenstein" ("A Study in Hyperexpansion"), "The Phantom of the Opera", "The Fall of the House of Usher", "The Invisible Man", "The Incredible Shrinking Man", "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde", "The Birds", "Forbidden Planet", "Vertigo", and "Alien". Horror appears when the mundane becomes unexpected and when the contained breaks free of its confining chains to become unlimited. Anything boundless tends to become terrifying, argues Schneider. "Ecstasy is a glimpse of the infinite; terror is full disclosure". Sheer bliss, paradise, or Nirvana, therefore, always has the potential to turn into horror, as limits fall away and the boundless expanses of inifinity open up. A spiritual understanding of life can be reached through horror.
Classic horror steers a path between fanaticism and despair - the path of wonderment. Horror teaches us that the human personality is paradoxical, that revulsion and disgust are the obverse of excitement and freedom, and that both poles are vital to individual, social and ecological well-being.
Publisher: Open Court Publishing Co ,U.S.