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Danse Macabre by Stephen King
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Danse Macabre

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,423472,601 (3.77)174
The author addresses the topic of what makes horror horrifying and what makes terror terrifying. King delivers one colorful observation after another about the great stories, books and films that comprise of the horror genre--from Frankenstein and Dracula to The exorcist, The twilight zone and Earth vs. The flying saucers.… (more)
  1. 40
    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Look here for Stephen King's take on The Haunting of Hill House.
  2. 40
    The Modern Weird Tale : A Critique of Horror Fiction by S. T. Joshi (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Another fascinating overview of the horror genre in the 20th century.
  3. 10
    Supernatural horror in literature by H. P. Lovecraft (artturnerjr)
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» See also 174 mentions

English (45)  Spanish (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
The author whose boundless imagination and storytelling powers have redefined the horror genre, from 1974, reflects on the very nature of terror - what scares us and why. Looks at films (both cheesy and choice), television and radio, and, of course, the horror novel, past and present. Informal, engaging, tremendous fun, and tremendously informative, Danse Macabre is an essential tour with the master of horror as your guide; much like his spellbinding works of fiction, you won't be able to put it down.
  Gmomaj | Dec 17, 2019 |
Great read, King makes great company on this journey through Horror fiction 1950-1980. ( )
  Shaun_Hamill | Oct 10, 2019 |
“The danse macabre is a waltz with death.”

"Danse Macabre" is a book that has been on my shelf for a looooong time. I'm not sure why I decided now was the time to read it, but I did. Also, it's interesting that the AMC channel is showing a series right now titled "Eli Roth’s History of Horror" that has King in it, and seems like the television version of this book, updated for 2018.

On these pages, King covers the horror genre for literature, film, and radio during the time period of 1950-1980. Most of this read feels like a essay, or textbook, and has a bit of a dry feel to it. I even found myself skimming some of the material. But I learned a bit, and added about ten new books to my reading list!

“The Last Waltz” is the gem in here. King's defense of the horror genre is peppered with real life examples of things that really happened, showing that reality is often worse than what appears in books, film, music, etc. People often ask me, "How can you read that stuff?" Well, Uncle Stevie has the answer that I'll be using from now on!

I also really enjoyed King's musings on how the ideas(s) for "The Stand" began! (Patty Hearst!!??!! - no friggin' way!!!)

So, it's non-fiction, sort of textbook-ish, and dry at times. But I'm glad I read it! And I'm glad he wrote it, especially this, at the end -

“Thank you again for coming with me, and rest you well. But, being who I am and what I am, I cannot find it in my heart to wish you pleasant dreams...” ( )
1 vote Stahl-Ricco | Oct 26, 2018 |
An intriguing look into Stephen King's insights and interpretations of what horror is about and why horror fiction exists. ( )
  trile1000 | Jul 1, 2018 |
This is an overview of horror movies, t.v. series, and books from roughly 1950 to 1980. King’s knowledge of the subject is both wide and deep, naturally.
Since King is two years older than I, much of the book was s great nostalgia trip for me. He’s very engaging here; reading this is like having a conversation with close but garrulous old friend.
Oddly, the largest part of the book is devoted to movies. There are some redundancies, some over-writing, some bs. But at its heart this is a fun book that doesn’t take its subject too seriously, but doesn’t treat it as trash, either.
Recommended if you’re a fan of the horror genre in any form, a fan if King, or interested in the era. ( )
1 vote bohemima | May 17, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dufris, WilliamReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gantt, SamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ibânez, LouisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Körber, JoachimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leonard, JamesAuthor Photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Litwack, LisaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lopes, Maria Claudia SantosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murail, LorrisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nesi, EdoardoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rostant, LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruoto, WilliamDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steenhouwer, AntonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turchetti, EmanuelaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zimmermann, NatalieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Enter, Stranger, at your Riske: Here there be Tygers.
"What was the worst thing you've ever done?"
"I won't tell you that, but I'll tell you the worst thing that ever happened to me...the most dreadful thing..." Peter Straub, Ghost Story
"Well we'll really have a party but we gotta post a guard outside..." Eddie Cochran, "Come On Everybody"
Dedication
It's easy enough--perhaps too easy--to memorialize the dead. This book is for six great writers of the macabre who are still alive. Robert Bloch, Jorge Luis Borges, Ray Bradbury, Frank Belknap Long, Donald Wandrei, Manly Wade Wellman.
First words
For me, the terror--the real terror, as opposed to whatever demons and boogeys which might have been living in my own mind--began on an afternoon in October of 1957.
Quotations
Have you ever stood in a bookshop, glanced furtively around, and turned to the end of an Agatha Christie to see who did it, and how? Have you ever turned to the end of a horror novel to see if the hero made it out of the darkness and into the light? If you have ever done this, I have three simple words which I feel it is my duty to convey: SHAME ON YOU! It is low to mark your place in a book by folding down the corner of the page where you left off; TURNING TO THE END TO SEE HOW IT CAME OUT is even lower. If you have this habit, I urge you to break it...break it at once!
Being who I am, I cannot find it in my heart to wish you pleasant dreams.
“I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I'll go for the gross-out. I'm not proud.”
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The French book Danse macabre is the translation of Night Shift, a collection of short stories. The English non-fiction book Danse macabre, on the other hand, was published in French translation under the title Anatomie de l'horreur.
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