Horror essays that read like Chuck Klosterman filtered through H. P. Lovecraft.
Slinging ectoplasm, tombstones, and chainsaws with aplomb, Be Scared of Everything is a frighteningly smart celebration of horror culture that will appeal to both horror aficionados and casual fans. Combining pop culture criticism and narrative memoir, Counter’s essays consider and deconstruct film, TV, video games and true crime to find importance in the occult, pathos in Ouija boards, poetry in madness, and beauty in annihilation.
Comprehensive in scope, these essays examine popular horror media including Silent Hill, Hannibal, Hereditary, the Alien films, Jaws, The X-Files, The Terror, The Southern Reach Trilogy, Interview with the Vampire, Misery, Gerald’s Game, The Sixth Sense, Scream, Halloween, The Blair Witch Project, The Babadook, the works of H. P. Lovecraft, Slenderman stories, alongside topics like nuclear physics, cannibalism, blood, Metallica, ritual magic, nightmares, and animatronic haunted houses.
This is a book that shows us everything is terrifying—from Pokémon to PTSD—and that horror can be just as honest, vulnerable, and funny as it is scary.
“The essays in Be Scared of Everything are the best body horror amalgam of criticism and biography.”—The Bookshelf
“Orwell wrote model essays: articulate without being overdone or impenetrable, and thoughtfully engaged with each subject so that the topic becomes interesting to any reader, even those who weren’t particularly invested at the start. That’s the kind of worthy writing I found here, in [Be Scared of Everything].”—Alex Boyd
“Counter’s brilliant essay collection Be Scared of Everything is a poetic and deeply thoughtful exploration of all the ways that horror permeates our everyday life, in ways both mundane and profound.”—Rue Morgue
“Be Scared of Everything is a command directed at everyone: punks, normies, horror film fans, UFO abductees, telemarketers, pet necromancers, you, no one will leave this book in their current form who permits the devious, curious, always-illuminating Peter Counter over their mental threshold.”—Meredith Graves
“Peter Counter’s Be Scared of Everything is a heady mix of memoir and critical essays. Discerning, unafraid to examine larger questions without easy answers, the collection is also warm and entertaining. The link between the essays and personal reflections on horror is empathy, which is why so many of us continue to be drawn to the genre.”—Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World
“Peter Counter’s writing on horror is thoughtful, lively, and strangely touching. From classic movie monsters, to personal demons, to a genuinely surprising (and funny) analysis of Frasier, Be Scared of Everything faces horror’s thrills, problems, and paradoxes, with shades of Noel Carroll, Eugene Thacker, and Stephen King circa Danse Macabre.”—John Semley, author of Hater: On the Virtues of Utter Disagreeability