Published in the pivotal year of the slasher, Stephen King's Danse Macabre was a response to a phone call from his editor, Bill Thompson, who asked,
Why don't you do a book about the whole horror phenomenon as you see it?
King does a great job exploring horror from roughly the 1950s to the time of publication, his basic setup breaking his ideals into four categories: film, radio, television, and literature. He does an excellent job talking about themes explored in film, topics such as the suspension of disbelief, or the reasons why people are attracted to horror in any medium.
In his section on horror in literature, King becomes a bit wordy, and I personally, though I have a love of reading and literature, became quite bored at times. You can tell KIng is more well read than we thought here. He makes great points though, and if you can make it through some of the banter, you can learn some things about theme and some of the devices authors use while writing.
King makes a great point when discussing horror on the radio. Yes, most of know about Orson Welle's famous reading of War of the Worlds, but not a lot can say they remember it. Also, this is where he really discusses the suspension of disbelief and how the imagination is treated so much differently for the listener.
One of the biggest issues I had was that King kept talking about a duality, a compare and contrast of the Dionysian and Apollonian archetypes. I didn't do the research, but I didn't feel that his explanation was enough to really grasp what he getting at here. But that's just me. I might need a re-read.
Overall, this is a great book, even for those who prefer film over any other medium. Its a great commentary on the "horror phenomenon" and an interesting detour from KIng's other works.