Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shock Value

If you have any interest in horror filmmaking in the 70s, you need to read the book Shock Value by Jason Zinoman, a theater critic for the New York TimesShock Value takes a look at the films and filmmakers who created modern horror and moved it beyond b-movie status.

In the 1950s and 60s, horror films consisted largely of men in rubber suits running around on cheap sets trying to scare bad actors. These movies were often fun, sometimes scary and usually relegated to b-movie status on double-bills. They were seldom taken seriously by critics and audiences. Certain directors, like Alfred Hitchcock, were able to parlay horror into box office success, with films such as The Birds and Psycho, but even Hitchcock films were starting to feel a little dated by the end of the 60s.

Rosemary's Baby changed everything when it was released in 1967. It was a huge success, was made by a skilled director, and had a downbeat ending in which evil seemed to win. It paved the way for other mainstream Hollywood horror releases, with major critical and audience successes such as The Exorcist and Carrie appearing in following years.

Shock Value looks at these films (and their filmmakers) and the other films that were nearly as influential, if not necessarily as critically accepted. George Romero is profiled as his Night of the Living Dead, a cheaply made zombie movie, is still influencing filmmakers. Wes Craven (Last House on the Left) and Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) also have substantial space devoted to them as does lesser-known Dan O'Bannon.  This book is not a deep read but if you are interested in what made your favorite horror filmmakers tick, you might want to take a look!

Check our catalog

No comments:

Post a Comment

We review all comments and reserve the right to remove comments based on: profanity, irrelevance, spam, personal attacks and anything else contrary to our guidelines.