From Publishers Weekly
Viewing the horror genre through the lens of '90s style "family values," Jones, founder of Culture Wars magazine, believes that horror is an unconscious backlash against the Enlightenment and the evils of secular humanism. His argument involves a complicated causal chain with at least a few missing links: the Enlightenment subverted religion; without religion there can be no moral order; the absence of moral order has inevitably led to sexual liberation; and sexual liberation must lead to suffering and death. However, his proof for this unlikely progression remains unconvincing. Jones predicates much of his argument on the affair between Mary Godwin (future author of Frankenstein) and Romantic poet Percy Shelley. He states that their sexual immorality (i.e., free love and m?nage ? trois) grew directly out of their Enlightenment philosophy and contributed to the suicides of Percy's first wife and Mary's half sister. Mary was "consumed by remorse" over their deaths, according to Jones, and dealt with her guilt by creating the now iconic monster, now known as Frankenstein. In this fashion, the Shelley family melodrama is projected onto an entire age. Jones is fond of shooting at little targets to make big points: he grandly concludes that the forgotten 1997 horror film Mimic represents "a complete repudiation of the Enlightenment." On occasion, Jones makes astute observations, as when he links Bram Stoker's Dracula to the 19th-century fear of syphilis, but more often he is crippled by his political agenda, which leads him to describe evolution as "pseudo-metaphysics" and LBJ's Great Society as "a front for pushing contraceptives as part of the eugenic final solution to our race problem." (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Closely argued and erudite....Jones gives a stunning reading to Ridley Scott's 1980 film Alien." -- Insight
Jones's thesis shouldn't be all that surprising. Scholars and critics have acknowledged that horror is an artistic representation of our fears and anxieties. Jones' contribution is to tell readers that we are afraid and anxious because we know that out morality not only doesn't work, it's also the source of evil and suffering. Since, like Mary Shelley, we can't or won't acknowledge that fact, the monster will be hear to stay, and investigating strange noises will remain a bad idea. (Beliefnet, Aug. 2000) -- From Beliefnet