Glen Moss's Reviews > Danse Macabre

Danse Macabre by Stephen King
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's review
Jul 28, 11

I have been putting off reading this book for somewhere near fifteen years. It is not that I dreaded the task; I just never got around to it. Now, I kind of wish that I did not wait so long to read the book but I will discuss more on this aspect later.

To begin, the book is Stephen King’s analysis on the genre of horror in books, television and film ranging from 1950 until 1980. He even openly admits several times within the text that even attempting this feat would be a daunting task and that his fans may even backlash against him.

Overall, King does his best to try explaining and examining the horror genre. The complication is that he has a terrible habit of meandering through his explanations. The stories are typically interesting and often entertaining but they are rarely constructive in supporting his point. It is not that he is a poor writer; I just feel that he is a better novelist than a documentarian. I finished the book with no real better understanding of horror but I at least enjoyed myself.

The other major drawback, and part of this is my own fault, is that the vast majority of the material felt dated. It is now 2011 so there are actually thirty more years of horror material that could actually better support what King wrote in his book. In fact, there were several times that it felt that he was really trying to stretch to prove a point simply because there was not a great example. The book could actually use an overhaul that would incorporate sixty years of horror. The edition I read at least had a new introduction that did this to a certain degree but it would have been better worked into the book itself.

The book is still worth a read if for no other reason than King is a good story teller. He talks a bit about his childhood, events in Hollywood and back stories of other writers. The book does not do a very good job in explaining horror and why people create it and why the populace partakes in it.

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