Don’t let the title throw you off. This book is definitely safe to bring to work especially if you are a fan of Horror. Screaming for Pleasure: How Horror Makes You Happy and Healthy by S.A Bradley is a deep insight into how horror effects us as a whole. It also includes many recommendations of films, literature, and music that you may have not heard of before. As someone who dabbles in horror every now and then, it was quite an eye-opening book. S.A. Bradley is the host of the Hellbent for Horror and an avid Horror junkie. So this was a natural book for him to write as his first and he has an extensive background with the genre. He also happens to be a Bay Area Native!
Each chapter of this spine-tingling book tackles a different subject that deals with horror. The first talks about how horror begins captures us like a first kiss. By chapter four, Bradley is discussing devil music, horror, and how heavy metal got caught in the mix. In chapter seven, he even touches on how horror can echo real life and how we can use the genre to cope. There is even an entire chapter dedicated to female horror directors and how amazing they are. Most of the chapters though contain a multitude of film recommendations including some of Hollywood’s greatest horror films. One statement that Bradley made really stuck with me in regards to Horror films being either renamed or snubbed completely from award shows. “Hollywood loves horror, but it wouldn’t be caught dead admitting it. Horror is like Hollywood’s Prostitute, hidden away at the edge of town, used as a muse until Hollywood gets what it want, and leaves a few bucks on the dresser.” It’s true though Hollywood doesn’t give Horror the recognition that it deserves. Especially when “psychological thrillers” like Shape of Water, Get Out, and Us take the box office by storm. I would hope that award shows would start taking the genre more seriously in the future.
What I loved about this book is reminded, even me, that Horror is it’s own fandom. As we know most television shows, movies, books, and games have their own following. Horror is just like them. His description of attending his first horror convention was what most of us all experience when we go out to a convention whether it’s furries, anime, comic books, cosplay, or a fandom event. First, we are absolutely terrified and think it might not even be worth it. But, “Instead everything fell into place, and I came home with what I longed for: A community that made me feel like I Belonged, and one where I could bring as much value to as I received from other members.” Bradley sums up the fandom and convention life in a single statement.
If you are an avid horror fan, this book is the perfect addition to your reading list. Even if you aren’t a horror fan, it gives you an appreciation for the genre and really helps fans understand how it manages to get under our skin. Bradley does an amazing job of giving recommendations and explaining horror simply to everyone. You can pick up your copy on Amazon here!