Eight things every horror movie needs, according to Bruce Kawin

Do you like scary movies? Bruce Kawin, a professor of English and film at the University of Colorado Boulder, likes them so well he's written a book, Horror and the Horror Film, on the topic. Covering hundreds of movies across the history of horror, the book explains what makes a movie scary and offers plenty of viewing suggestions for both newcomers and hardcore fans. It's no dry, academic textbook, either -- Kawin wrote it as a guide for everyone, including film fans who aren't sure whether horror is a genre worth consideration. "At one point in the book I said that we're still sitting around the campfire telling stories," he says. "The fire's become a movie screen and the darkness is still outside us, around our backs. The horror film goes to the heart of that situation."

Kawin will read from and speak about Horror and the Horror Film at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Boulder Bookstore. Before the event, we caught up with Kawin to get this eight-point guide to what makes a horror film tick.

See also: - A handy visual guide to horror movie tropes - List: Ten great Japanese horror movies - List: Horror's top five "final girls"

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Cory Casciato is a Denver-based writer with a passion for the geeky, from old science fiction movies to brand-new video games.
Contact: Cory Casciato