Deformed and Destructive Beings

The Purpose of Horror Films


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SKU: 9780786463077 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

Why are audiences drawn to horror films? Previous answers to that question have included everything from a need to experience fear to a hunger for psychotherapy. This critical text proposes that the horror film’s primary purpose is to present monsters, best understood as deformed and destructive beings. These monsters satisfy the audience’s desire to know these beings, in particular those beings too fantastic and dangerous to know in real life. The text illuminates many aspects of the horror film genre, including epistemology, ethics, evaluation, history, monster taxonomy, and filmmaking techniques.

About the Author(s)

George Ochoa is the author or coauthor of more than thirty nonfiction books. He is currently a medical writer at Applied Clinical Education in New York. Please visit his blog at

Bibliographic Details

George Ochoa
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 235
Bibliographic Info: 48 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6307-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8654-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1


1. Purpose      5

2. Knowing      18

3. DDB Profile      28

4. Structure      38

5. Essential Elements      47

6. Ethics      61

7. Meaning and Significance      72

8. Evaluation of a Good Horror Film      83

9. Evaluation of a Bad Horror Film      96


10. Genres      107

11. History: Beginnings to the 1950s      117

12. History: 1960s to the Present      131

13. Reputation      143

14. Taxonomy      151

15. Techniques      168

16. Directors      181

17. Stars and DDBs      194

18. Other Directions      201

Notes      209

Bibliography      215

Index      219

Book Reviews & Awards

“a lively and interesting read…contains many rare film stills. Monster movie addicts will love it”— “when it comes to horror films, Ochoa knows his stuff”—Scarlet.