For some readers what might be most scary about university press books is the sometimes seemingly inscrutable writing of the authors. However, here at Columbia University Press we have a few legitimate books that make for perfect Halloween reading.
First off is Ueda Akinari’s Tales of Moonlight and Rain, a collection of Japan’s finest and most celebrated examples of literature and the occult which was first published in 1776. The tales subtly merge the world of reason with the realm of the uncanny and exemplify the period’s fascination with the strange and the grotesque. The tales were also the inspiration for Mizoguchi Kenji’s brilliant 1953 film Ugetsu. In writing about this edition of the book, Japan’s English newspaper, the Daily Yomiuri writes, “Japan scholars and people who just like weird, spooky stuff should enjoy this new edition of Akinari’s classic.”
For those interested in horror films, there are several books that look at the genre, including: Shocking Representation, Historical Trauma, National Cinema and the Modern Horror Film, by Adam Lowenstein; The Horror Genre: From Beelzebub to Blair Witch, by Paul Wells; The American Horror Film: An Introduction, by Reynold Humphries; The Cinema of John Carpenter: The Technique of Terror, edited by Ian Conrich and David Woods; The Cinema of George A. Romero: Knight of the Living Dead, by Tony Williams; and Deleuze and Horror Film by Anna Powell.
And just for fun and to give you a taste of the atmosphere in Tales of Moonlight and Rain, here is the Japanese trailer for the film Ugetsu: