Nonfiction


Horror and slasher films are often dismissed for their apparent lack of sophistication and dearth of redeemable values. However, despite criticism from film snobs who turn up their noses and moralists who look down upon the genre, slasher films are more than just movies filled with gory mayhem. Such films can actually serve a purpose and offer their audiences something more than split skulls and severed heads.

In Life Lessons from Slasher Films, Jessica Robinson looks at representative works that have been scaring audiences for decades—from Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal shocker, Psycho, to the cult classic Black Christmas and iconic thrillers like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Scream. In this book, Robinson examines common themes that have emerged in these films, their various sequels, and countless imitators—a maniacal and seemingly indestructible executioner, sexual encounters that invariably lead to death, increasingly gruesome ways to slaughter helpless victims, and a lone female survivor who finds a way to vanquish the killer—and looks beyond such tropes for what these films can teach us about life.

From practical advice (listen to your elders) to moral platitudes (teens never learn), each chapter considers a different “lesson” that these films teach. Robinson discusses how the events portrayed in slasher films can resonate with viewers and perhaps offer constructive advice on how to conduct our lives. A fun read for fans and scholars alike, Life Lessons from Slasher Films offers an entertaining and persuasive look at how life can imitate art, and what art can say about life.

Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Scarecrow Books.


Jessica Robinson's obsession with zombie films started when she was in junior high. Horror films are a great lens to examine concerns society has about modern science. Let’s face it, when it comes to horror movies, science has a bad reputation. Blind ambition, experimental serums, and genetic experiments are often blamed for the giant monster terrorizing the city or the reason aliens are taking human prisoners or the cause of the dead rising from the grave to consume living flesh.

Using film, literature, and interviews with experts, Robinson examines how zombies portray real-world fears such as epidemics, mind control, what may or may not exist in space, the repercussions of playing God, and the science behind the fears. Robinson's goal is to explore how zombies become a metaphor for our fears of science and what could happen if science gets out of hand.

Available from Amazon.


Lance Dale Robinson dreamed of one day owning his own ranch. Born and raised in a small town in Wyoming, ranching was all he’d ever known and it was all he ever wanted to do. But on his way to achieving that dream, WWII got in the way.

He was a heavy machine gunner for Company H of the 313th Infantry. He landed on Normandy Beach 6 days after D-Day, and tells a story of wading through bodies like seaweed to get onto land. He was part of the Battle of the Bulge, where he was almost court-martialed for thinking his sergeant’s life was more important than his weapon. He received a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and a British Military Medal.

When he returned home after his service, he went back into ranching. During his career, Dale worked with the University of Wyoming and Colorado State University to improve artificial insemination of cows. He traveled and lectured about the impacts that were being made in the process, and he helped advance science and ranching.

This is the story of Dale's life in Wyoming and in WWII.

Available from Amazon.