Modern Horror and the Origins of American Empire
The panoramic story of how the horror genre transformed into one of the most incisive critiques of unchecked American imperial power
The American empire emerged from the shadows of World War II. As the nation’s influence swept the globe with near impunity, a host of evil forces followed—from racism, exploitation, and military invasion to killer clowns, flying saucers, and monsters borne of a fear of the other. By viewing American imperial history through the prism of the horror genre, Dark Carnivals
lays bare how the genre shaped us, distracted us, and gave form to a violence as American as apple pie.
A carnival ride that connects the mushroom clouds of 1945 to the beaches of Amity Island, Charles Manson to the massacre at My Lai, and John Wayne to John Wayne Gacy, the new book by acclaimed historian W. Scott Poole reveals how horror films and fictions have followed the course of America’s military and cultural empire and explores how the shadow of our national sins can take on the form of mass entertainment.
The Great War and the Origins of Modern Horror
A historian and Bram Stoker Award nominee traces the birth of modern horror films and literature back to World War I, exploring how the conflict influenced H.P. Lovecraft, Franz Kafka, and other artists of the genre.
From Nosferatu to Frankenstein’s monster, from Fritz Lang to James Whale, the touchstones of horror can all trace their roots to the bloodshed of the First World War.
Bram Stoker Award nominee W. Scott Poole traces the confluence of military history, technology, and art in the wake of World War I to show how overwhelming carnage gave birth to a wholly new art form: modern horror films and literature.