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Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror

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Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror Cover

ISBN13: 9781594203022
ISBN10: 1594203024
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Much has been written about the storied New Hollywood of the 1970s, but at the same time as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Ford Coppola were making their first classic movies, a parallel universe of directors gave birth to the modern horror film-aggressive, raw, and utterly original. Based on unprecedented access to the genre's major players, The New York Times's critic Jason Zinoman's Shock Value delivers the first definitive account of horror's golden age.

By the late 1960s, horror was stuck in the past, confined mostly to drive-in theaters and exploitation houses, and shunned by critics. Shock Value tells the unlikely story of how the much-disparaged horror film became an ambitious art form while also conquering the multiplex. Directors such as Wes Craven, Roman Polanski, John Carpenter, and Brian De Palma — counterculture types operating largely outside the confines of Hollywood — revolutionized the genre, exploding taboos and bringing a gritty aesthetic, confrontational style, and political edge to horror. Zinoman recounts how these directors produced such classics as Rosemary's Baby, Carrie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Halloween, creating a template for horror that has been imitated relentlessly but whose originality has rarely been matched.

This new kind of film dispensed with the old vampires and werewolves and instead assaulted audiences with portraits of serial killers, the dark side of suburbia, and a brand of nihilistic violence that had never been seen before. Shock Value tells the improbable stories behind the making of these movies, which were often directed by obsessive and insecure young men working on shoestring budgets, were funded by sketchy investors, and starred porn stars. But once The Exorcist became the highest grossing film in America, Hollywood took notice.

The classic horror films of the 1970s have now spawned a billion-dollar industry, but they have also penetrated deep into the American consciousness. Quite literally, Zinoman reveals, these movies have taught us what to be afraid of. Drawing on interviews with hundreds of the most important artists in horror, Shock Value is an enthralling and personality-driven account of an overlooked but hugely influential golden age in American film.

Review:

"New York Times critic Zinoman's illuminating book examines the period from 1968 to 1979 when a new breed of directors (including Wes Craven, John Carpenter, and George Romero) took a once mocked genre into the mainstream. In analyzing the transition from 'Old' to 'New' Horror, Zinoman suggests that all directors owe a debt to Alfred Hitchcock, who revolutionized the psychology of the serial killer plot, as well as those philosophers of fear, Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. Zinoman writes with zeal, weaving copycat killers, celebrity stories, and the Manson family into his contextualization of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Carrie, and Halloween. He notes that Night of the Living Dead 'did for horror what the Sex Pistols did for punk.' Though in-depth director bios and discussion of the changing movie business are fascinating, Zinoman's shot-by-shot descriptions of groundbreaking films and championing of understated gems are even more impressive. This volume reveals just enough to satiate horror aficionados, while offering plenty for curious fright-seekers who want to explore the formative years of what's become a billion-dollar industry. This is the golden age of horror — 'Welcome to a cracked world.' (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"If you think you already know everything you need to know about the '70s revolution in American film, think again, and take a trip to the (very) dark side with Jason Zinoman's astute, informed and vivid exploration of how the horror movie came back from the dead and walked among us once again....Aficionados should love it, and skeptics may find themselves giving this always disreputable genre the fair shake that, as this smart and savvy book makes clear, it deserves." Mark Harris, author of Pictures at a Revolution

Review:

"Vivid and fascinating, Shock Value chronicles a period that feels both close and, sadly, remote. It is the fresco of a brave, uncompromising era in genre filmmaking. Mavericks, madmen, mutants and monsters populate this entirely relevant book." Guillermo del Toro, Director of Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy

Review:

"If the soul of American cinema in the glory years of the 1970s belonged to names such as Altman, Coppola, and Scorsese, then its flesh and blood came from directors like Carpenter, Craven, Hooper, and Romero. Jason Zinoman shows us how and why by giving these pioneers of modern horror a chance to tell their own story, often in their own fascinating words. The result is a riveting history of fear and film that will thrill anyone who believes that movies can open our minds while they rip out our guts." Adam Lowenstein, author of Shocking Representation: Historical Trauma, National Cinema, and the Modern Horror Film

Review:

"This is a titillating, insider's guide to the most influential horror movies of our time, and the men who made them. Full of weird personalities, studio- screwage, and pesky mental breakdowns, Shock Value does for horror what Peter Biskind's Down and Dirty Pictures did for the studio system. Zinoman gives the genre what it needs most: an intelligent vivisection. I'll never think about Wes Craven or Brian De Palma in the same way again." Sarah Langan, author of The Keeper and Audrey's Door

Review:

"An engrossing look at an important cultural moment and a valuable addition to the canon of popular film history." Kirkus

Synopsis:

An enormously entertaining account of the gifted and eccentric directors who gave us the golden age of modern horror in the 1970s, bringing a new brand of politics and gritty realism to the genre.

Synopsis:

An enormously entertaining account of the gifted and eccentric directors who gave us the golden age of modern horror in the 1970s, bringing a new brand of politics and gritty realism to the genre.

Much has been written about the storied New Hollywood of the 1970s, but at the same time as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Ford Coppola were making their first classic movies, a parallel universe of directors gave birth to the modern horror film-aggressive, raw, and utterly original. Based on unprecedented access to the genre's major players, The New York Times's critic Jason Zinoman's Shock Value delivers the first definitive account of horror's golden age.

By the late 1960s, horror was stuck in the past, confined mostly to drive-in theaters and exploitation houses, and shunned by critics. Shock Value tells the unlikely story of how the much-disparaged horror film became an ambitious art form while also conquering the multiplex. Directors such as Wes Craven, Roman Polanski, John Carpenter, and Brian De Palma- counterculture types operating largely outside the confines of Hollywood-revolutionized the genre, exploding taboos and bringing a gritty aesthetic, confrontational style, and political edge to horror. Zinoman recounts how these directors produced such classics as Rosemary's Baby, Carrie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Halloween, creating a template for horror that has been imitated relentlessly but whose originality has rarely been matched.

This new kind of film dispensed with the old vampires and werewolves and instead assaulted audiences with portraits of serial killers, the dark side of suburbia, and a brand of nihilistic violence that had never been seen before. Shock Value tells the improbable stories behind the making of these movies, which were often directed by obsessive and insecure young men working on shoestring budgets, were funded by sketchy investors, and starred porn stars. But once The Exorcist became the highest grossing film in America, Hollywood took notice.

The classic horror films of the 1970s have now spawned a billion-dollar industry, but they have also penetrated deep into the American consciousness. Quite literally, Zinoman reveals, these movies have taught us what to be afraid of. Drawing on interviews with hundreds of the most important artists in horror, Shock Value is an enthralling and personality-driven account of an overlooked but hugely influential golden age in American film.

Synopsis:

Much has been written about the storied New Hollywood of the 1970s, but at the same time that Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorcese were producing their first classic movies, a parallel universe of directors gave birth to the modern horror film. Shock Value tells the unlikely story of how directors like Wes Craven, Roman Polanski, and John Carpenter revolutionized the genre in the 1970s, plumbing their deepest anxieties to bring a gritty realism and political edge to their craft. From Rosemary’s Baby to Halloween, the films they unleashed on the world created a template for horror that has been relentlessly imitated but rarely matched. Based on unprecedented access to the genre’s major players, this is an enormously entertaining account of a hugely influential golden age in American film.

About the Author

Jason Zinoman is a critic and reporter covering theater for the New York Times. He has also regularly written about movies, television, books, and sports for publications such as Vanity Fair, The Guardian, The Economist, and Slate. He was the chief theater critic for Time Out New York before leaving to write the "On Stage and Off" column in the Weekend section of The New York Times.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

John Foster, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by John Foster)
Shock Value is a well-written history of the "New Horror" and it's directors, writers, and producers. Jason Zinoman has done his research...(I saw this from the perspective of working in the SPFX makeup industry for a dozen years during the '80's and '90's...I was there...so I DO know the history of many genre films). Anyone who loves film regardless of genre should read this book. Wes Craven, John Carpenter, O'Bannon, De Palma...they're all here of course. But the author traces other not so famous filmmakers who made important contributions. Very thoughtful, candid and even funny at times. A wealth of recent horror film history. Come on buy this one...and be the life of any horror film history discussion!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594203022
Subtitle:
How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror
Publisher:
Penguin Press HC, The
Author:
Zinoman, Jason
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Film and Television-History and Criticism
Subject:
Modern - 20th Century
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20110707
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 pp. b/w photos on insert stock
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » Featured Titles
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Genres
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » History and Criticism
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Film, Television, and Media Tie Ins

Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 272 pages Penguin Press HC, The - English 9781594203022 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "New York Times critic Zinoman's illuminating book examines the period from 1968 to 1979 when a new breed of directors (including Wes Craven, John Carpenter, and George Romero) took a once mocked genre into the mainstream. In analyzing the transition from 'Old' to 'New' Horror, Zinoman suggests that all directors owe a debt to Alfred Hitchcock, who revolutionized the psychology of the serial killer plot, as well as those philosophers of fear, Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. Zinoman writes with zeal, weaving copycat killers, celebrity stories, and the Manson family into his contextualization of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Carrie, and Halloween. He notes that Night of the Living Dead 'did for horror what the Sex Pistols did for punk.' Though in-depth director bios and discussion of the changing movie business are fascinating, Zinoman's shot-by-shot descriptions of groundbreaking films and championing of understated gems are even more impressive. This volume reveals just enough to satiate horror aficionados, while offering plenty for curious fright-seekers who want to explore the formative years of what's become a billion-dollar industry. This is the golden age of horror — 'Welcome to a cracked world.' (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "If you think you already know everything you need to know about the '70s revolution in American film, think again, and take a trip to the (very) dark side with Jason Zinoman's astute, informed and vivid exploration of how the horror movie came back from the dead and walked among us once again....Aficionados should love it, and skeptics may find themselves giving this always disreputable genre the fair shake that, as this smart and savvy book makes clear, it deserves."
"Review" by , "Vivid and fascinating, Shock Value chronicles a period that feels both close and, sadly, remote. It is the fresco of a brave, uncompromising era in genre filmmaking. Mavericks, madmen, mutants and monsters populate this entirely relevant book."
"Review" by , "If the soul of American cinema in the glory years of the 1970s belonged to names such as Altman, Coppola, and Scorsese, then its flesh and blood came from directors like Carpenter, Craven, Hooper, and Romero. Jason Zinoman shows us how and why by giving these pioneers of modern horror a chance to tell their own story, often in their own fascinating words. The result is a riveting history of fear and film that will thrill anyone who believes that movies can open our minds while they rip out our guts." Adam Lowenstein, author of Shocking Representation: Historical Trauma, National Cinema, and the Modern Horror Film
"Review" by , "This is a titillating, insider's guide to the most influential horror movies of our time, and the men who made them. Full of weird personalities, studio- screwage, and pesky mental breakdowns, Shock Value does for horror what Peter Biskind's Down and Dirty Pictures did for the studio system. Zinoman gives the genre what it needs most: an intelligent vivisection. I'll never think about Wes Craven or Brian De Palma in the same way again."
"Review" by , "An engrossing look at an important cultural moment and a valuable addition to the canon of popular film history."
"Synopsis" by , An enormously entertaining account of the gifted and eccentric directors who gave us the golden age of modern horror in the 1970s, bringing a new brand of politics and gritty realism to the genre.
"Synopsis" by ,
An enormously entertaining account of the gifted and eccentric directors who gave us the golden age of modern horror in the 1970s, bringing a new brand of politics and gritty realism to the genre.

Much has been written about the storied New Hollywood of the 1970s, but at the same time as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Ford Coppola were making their first classic movies, a parallel universe of directors gave birth to the modern horror film-aggressive, raw, and utterly original. Based on unprecedented access to the genre's major players, The New York Times's critic Jason Zinoman's Shock Value delivers the first definitive account of horror's golden age.

By the late 1960s, horror was stuck in the past, confined mostly to drive-in theaters and exploitation houses, and shunned by critics. Shock Value tells the unlikely story of how the much-disparaged horror film became an ambitious art form while also conquering the multiplex. Directors such as Wes Craven, Roman Polanski, John Carpenter, and Brian De Palma- counterculture types operating largely outside the confines of Hollywood-revolutionized the genre, exploding taboos and bringing a gritty aesthetic, confrontational style, and political edge to horror. Zinoman recounts how these directors produced such classics as Rosemary's Baby, Carrie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Halloween, creating a template for horror that has been imitated relentlessly but whose originality has rarely been matched.

This new kind of film dispensed with the old vampires and werewolves and instead assaulted audiences with portraits of serial killers, the dark side of suburbia, and a brand of nihilistic violence that had never been seen before. Shock Value tells the improbable stories behind the making of these movies, which were often directed by obsessive and insecure young men working on shoestring budgets, were funded by sketchy investors, and starred porn stars. But once The Exorcist became the highest grossing film in America, Hollywood took notice.

The classic horror films of the 1970s have now spawned a billion-dollar industry, but they have also penetrated deep into the American consciousness. Quite literally, Zinoman reveals, these movies have taught us what to be afraid of. Drawing on interviews with hundreds of the most important artists in horror, Shock Value is an enthralling and personality-driven account of an overlooked but hugely influential golden age in American film.

"Synopsis" by ,

Much has been written about the storied New Hollywood of the 1970s, but at the same time that Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorcese were producing their first classic movies, a parallel universe of directors gave birth to the modern horror film. Shock Value tells the unlikely story of how directors like Wes Craven, Roman Polanski, and John Carpenter revolutionized the genre in the 1970s, plumbing their deepest anxieties to bring a gritty realism and political edge to their craft. From Rosemary’s Baby to Halloween, the films they unleashed on the world created a template for horror that has been relentlessly imitated but rarely matched. Based on unprecedented access to the genre’s major players, this is an enormously entertaining account of a hugely influential golden age in American film.

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