Framing the Dark: Dread by Design in Motion Pictures

by David Aldrich


Cloth, 8 3/4" X 11 1/4". 140 pages, plus photo gallery


The science of fright. The arts and crafts of unsettling films.


A groundbreaking study of our mind at the movies becomes a manual for understanding how horror films work, and a complete working guide for making them.


“An extraordinary book: Wise, evocative, with astonishing visual selections.”
Roger Ebert, film critic


“Lively, insightful...looks below the surface to find what this genre’s all about.”
John Carpenter, director of Halloween


“Splendid... This is the essential ‘how’ of horror films.”
Mort Castle, horror fiction writer, editor of The Horror Writers Association's writing handbooks 


“Remarkable...a book any filmmaker and any film buff will learn from — and shiver with.”
Norman N. Holland, Ph.D., author of Literature and the Brain


“Certain small books-limited number of pages, that is-are very big books indeed. William Styron’s Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness is the cutting laser-light on clinical depression. Camus’ The Stranger fully defines ‘to be or not to be.’ And now there’s David Aldrich's Framing the Dark. This is the essential ‘how’ of horror films. In precise pose, Aldrich details what buttons of the psyche are pushed by what particular images and sounds (and more) to make horror happen. Aldrich’s examples are often personal, as is his obvious affection for fright films, and his insights are of the concerned critic and not the removed clinician. One more for the essential shelf: David Aldrich’s splendid Framing the Dark.
Mort Castle, horror fiction writer, editor of The Horror Writer Association’s writing handbooks


“In this thriller of a book, David Aldrich sets out to find the core fantasy behind all horror films. I won’t telegraph the punch of this remarkable treatise by telling you the formula, but Aldrich makes a strong case for a specific form of fear. Framing the Dark is something of a chiller itself as Aldrich recounts horror film after horror film, each eerier than the one before it. Skillfully written and handsomely illustrated, this is a book any filmmaker and any film buff will learn from—and shiver with.”
Norman N. Holland, Ph.D., author of Literature and the Brain, 
Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar Emeritus, University of Florida

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