Cover image for Thrillers
Rubin, Martin, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiv, 319 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1995.9.S87 R83 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The thriller is perhaps the most popular and widespread movie genre - and the most difficult to define. Thrillers can contain gangsters or ghosts, space helmets or fedoras. They charge our familiar world with a spirit of exotic, old-fashioned adventure. They give us pleasure by making us uncomfortable - on the edge of our seats.Thrillers provides a comprehensive treatment of this genre, from silent serials to stalker films, from Alfred Hitchcock to Quentin Tarantino, from The Great Train Robbery to L.A. Confidential. This accessible, wide-ranging volume is designed to appeal to students and general filmgoers alike, and shows how this visceral, double-faced film genre has aroused our intense sensations throughout decades of American cinema.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Anyone who wants to understand the mechanism of the thriller would only have to study Hitchcock, as Rubin finally does. But he clutters the approach in his attempt to probe and widen the concept, after admitting that the term is too broad to constitute a genre. Rubin labors mightily to establish a critical overview, bouncing off G.K. Chesterton, Northrop Frye, John Cawelti, No"el Carroll, et al. in a sort of critical pin-ball game in which too few points are scored. A historical survey asserts that the thriller is a modern form that does not "fully emerge" in either literature or film until the early 20th century. This appears to be a book in search of a workable thesis, involving a great deal of sincere--if sometimes ponderous--scrutiny. The author scores some points in chapters treating the spy thriller, the detective thriller, and the police thriller. He praises William Friedkin along with Hitchcock. Suspense seems to be an essential ingredient, though Rubin finds this "element" lacking in The Big Sleep. Entering a critical maze "backward, inductively," Rubin attempts to make a clew out of his woolgathering. Though not exactly clueless, the study disappoints. The analytical chapters that conclude the book are the strongest and most satisfactory. Upper-division undergraduates and up. J. M. Welsh; Salisbury State University

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Critical overview
3 Historical/cultural overview
4 The detective thriller
5 The psychological crime thriller
6 The spy thriller
7 The police thriller