Planks of Reason: Essays on the Horror Film
Scarecrow Press., 2004
Christopher Sharrett, Ph.D.
Department of Communication and the Arts
The original edition of Planks of Reason was the first academic
critical anthology on horror. In retrospect, it appeared as a kind of
homage to the "golden age" of the American horror film, as this genre
played an increasing role in film culture and American life. The
original material represented the history of the genre through the
early 1980s and is a crucial part of the book's value, then and now.
The first edition helped legitimize academic writing on the horror
genre by addressing breakthrough works of such directors as John
Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, George Romero, David Cronenberg, and Wes
Craven. This revised edition retains the spirit of the original, but
also offers new takes on rediscovered classics and recent developments
in the genre. In addition to reprinting 17 essays, including Robin
Wood's "An Introduction to the American Horror Film," this revised
edition features a new essay on the yuppie horror film by editor Barry
Keith Grant, as well as an updated analysis of The Texas Chainsaw
Massacre by co-editor Christopher Sharrett. Other new essays focus on
William Castle's The Tingler and Roger Corman's Pit and the Pendulum
and the recent wave of Japanese horror films.