This is one of a series of Very Short Introductions
published by Oxford University Press. I love these lil books and have read a few of them, namely: Home, Madness, Dada and Surrealism, and Ritual (which was probably my favorite).
In this particular Very Short Introduction, Darryl Jones takes us through a catalogue of horror archetypes, from Monsters, to Body Horror, to Horror and Science. He does his best, in the short page count, to catalogue the significant tales throughout history, but the focus of the essay is heavily colored by the man writing it. The book is called: A Brief Introduction To Horror, but a better title would be: A Brief Introduction To Horror In The Western World
One funny byproduct of this narrow focus is that Jones kept referencing this British horror writer: M. R. James. He was bringing the guy up all the time, next to names like Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe and I was like “who is this M. R. James guy? I never heard of him! Why does he keep talking about this guy?” Then I read the back flap of the book and saw that Darryl Jones is writing a biography of M.R. James. So there you go!
That being said, the prose was light and fun and there were a lot of interesting ideas in there. I’ll probably never watch half of the movies referenced in this book because I’m a big baby, but I’ll certainly read the Wikipedia plot synopses with a fresh understanding.