The Science of Women in Horror: The Special Effects, Stunts, and True Stories Behind Your Favorite Fright Films

by Meg Hafdahl (Goodreads Author), Kelly Florence

4 stars

If you like horror and you are a woman, or if you like horror and are in any way shape or form connected with reviewing, critiquing, writing, or producing horror– read this book. No, really. I mean it.

The breadth of knowledge and passion for horror writing and the exposing of the common tropes Horror uses when portraying women, as well as identifying and celebrating the female authors, producers, writers, and directors who bring those delicious thrills to us in this book are not only extremely informative and presented in lovely, chapter bite-sized digestible chunks, but also important for all of us to acknowledge and be culturally competent with.

Each chapter takes a move or TV series (author Meg Hafdahl is a huge X Files fan so no surprise that’s included) and unpacks tropes like the virgin survivor, or the healer etc. present in famous media horror entertainment, and peppers the chapters throughout with interesting interviews with women horror entertainment folks about their own motivations and perceptions of women. It’s quite readable and interesting.

And now I have about four horror movies on my to-be-seen queue to watch with this new information about historical representation and tropes in the forefront of my brain.

The science in this book is mostly, heavily, social science such as psychology and lit crit. There are a few drips and drabs of hard science, and I wished for a bit more of that, as well as (I read the Kindle version so possibly formatting contributed to this) was sometimes confused about the random hard science or history facts that appeared in call out boxes sometimes. The factoids didn’t always immediately connect to the chapter or theme being discussed.

Definitely a cool and informative book in terms of pop culture and feminist theory. As I said above, a must-read for female horror fans!