How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror
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.
-Mark Harris, author of Pictures at a Revolution
"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
"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
"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
"An engrossing look at an important cultural moment and a valuable addition to the canon of popular film history"
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