I reviewed this book recently over at Goodreads, but I wanted to share it here. This work by David Peak, is part of my ongoing research of the horror genre and cosmic horror at large. Enjoy!
Peak’s book is an excellent overview of various themes of the “new horror” that has arisen in recent years that not only defines the genre of film and literature but the horror of existence in our post-modern culture. I am only beginning to become acquainted with the ideas that Peak touches on from Ligotti and Thacker, but luckily my background in philosophy gives me an edge here.
The idea that humanity faces our own extinction is not new and comes specifically from the horror of “the bomb” and how we can quite effortlessly wipe out all life on earth. What Peak is examining is how horror has become more and more defined by this fact, leaving behind some of its more well-known tropes. No longer does horror look to “what was” in ghosts and other artifacts of decades gone, horror instead recontextualizes itself with humanity coming to the realization that we will *never* know everything and we will never *know* all there is in the universe.
Peak does an excellent job bringing in the heavy hitters in this line of thought, including Thomas Ligotti and Eugene Thacker as well as Lovecraft of course. He incorporates various films as well as John Carpenter’s Apocalypse trilogy that was begun by THE THING. Even if you haven’t seen the films, he pulls out the events that are necessary to understanding his point in a concise enough manner that it does not take anything away from his points.
All in all, I believe this to be a must read of any horror genre enthusiast who is looking for some theory behind the genre and wants a quick synopsis of some of these more broad topics in literary/film criticism and theory.