Danse Macabre

  • by Stephen King
  • Narrated by William Dufris
  • 18 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

It was not long after Halloween when Stephen King received a telephone call from his editor. 'Why don't you do a book about the entire horror phenomenon as you see it? Books, movies, radio, TV, the whole thing.' The result is this unique combination of fantasy and autobiography, of classic horror writing honed to an unforgettable edge by the best-selling master of the genre.
Danse Macabre ranges across the whole spectrum of horror in popular culture, from the seminal classics of Dracula and Frankenstein. It is a charming and fascinating book, replete with pertinent anecdotes and observations, in which Stephen King describes his ideas on how horror works on many levels and how he brings it to bear on his own inimitable novels.
There is a reason why Stephen King is one of the best-selling writers in the world - ever.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

So bad it eroded my respect for Stephen King

Would you try another book written by Stephen King or narrated by William Dufris?

I'm a big fan of Stephen King's voice as a fiction writer, both gruesome and otherwise. So I'll continue to buy his fiction writing. But if this is what a few hours in the company of King The Educator is like? I'm glad I never have to repeat the experience.

What was most disappointing about Stephen King’s story?

I'd love to hear Stephen King's view on the horror phenomenon - just not one that's 37 years out of date. This book was first released in 1981 and unless you're fully prepared for and happy with that you WILL be disappointed.

Simply put, this has aged INCREDIBLY badly. Here and now in 2017 King's recommendations are so outdated, misjudged and downright awful as to be almost comedic and his opinions on other people's work are just tragic faff he's clearly grown out of by the tone of his subsequent writing.

Allow me to provide just a taste of the phenomenally outdated choices and shocking poor taste on offer here.

King rhapsodises for a full hour and a half about Rosemary's Baby (which in 1981 was a pretty amazingly fresh piece of satire and horror but in the era of the 7th SAW movie is about as scary as an episode of any prime time Tv soap opera) while suggesting it's a GOOD thing William Peter Blatty never wrote a followup to The Exorcist (he did, it's called Legion and it's excellent).

He goes on for some time about how Harlan Ellison was so clearly right about the inability to deliver satisfying horror fiction on television, an opinion so completely blown out of the water in the last decade that one almost winces with physical discomfort at his naive certainty.

And that's just the tip of the giant reeking fetid pile of dead ideas on offer here. Here's another more specific example.

As a fan of werewolf fiction who is all too painfully aware that the genre has descended into a medium for soft core airbrushed eroticism for pre teens, I was truly excited to read a book described by King as perhaps the single finest werewolf novel ever written: "The Night Walker". Off I trot to find an audiobook version and enjoy King's recommendation.

Imagine my dismay when I found out just how unimaginably poor it was! It's a horribly campy late 70s pulp piece of nonsense filled with trite sexism, casual racism, nonexistent narrative and (most unforgivable of all from a Stephen King Horror Novel Recommendation) HORRIBLY poor writing!

Some of this wouldn't be such a problem if King weren't writing in his very best college professor voice, abundantly certain that he's speaking from a place of genuine authority. But hearing him ramble on aimlessly in such a smug close minded tone when the weight of subsequent years and works of fiction has proven him so embarrassingly wrong has actually ended up reflecting on my own personal enjoyment of his fiction.

The experience of listening to this book has been much akin to loving the work of a famous musician so much that you invite them over for dinner - only to find they are a horrible pretentious bore. You'll never quite enjoy their albums in the same way.

Sadly this entire book is so dated as to be rendered utterly useless as a critique of the horror phenomenon as it currently stands. If King wrote a second part here and now I'm sure I'd enjoy it, but as it stands the whole affair is a bit of a bad joke.

But his worst crime, the absolutely unforgivable error he commits again and again - is his continued bashing of various types of critics in a book created solely to offer NOTHING BUT CRITIQUE.

It's like walking into a kitchen wearing an apron with "ALL CHEFS ARE IDIOTS!" written across it. You're not really standing in the right spot to make that observation, and even less so when doing the job badly yourself.

It helps to understand why King has become a little less noisy about his own critics in later life to imagine that perhaps he listened back to this absolutely ghastly piece of undigestible stodge and realised what a poor critic he was during his one and only attempt at being one.

Quite genuinely ghastly. Avoid at all costs. I got a refund.

Which character – as performed by William Dufris – was your favourite?

William Dufris does his best with King's insufferably smug waffling, but ultimately he's only as good as the material he's given to read.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The only redeeming factor this book has is that Stephen King only wrote one of them.

Any additional comments?

Genuinely poor, upsettingly misjudged and lacking in every last scrap of the emotional intelligence, insight and fun present in his fiction.

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- Greg

Essentisl Reading for all horror fans

Excellent round up of the horror genre. Also provides a great reading list of the best horror books.
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- Susan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-08-2016
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton