PROFOUNDLY DISTURBING: The Shocking Movies That Changed History

Joe Bob Briggs, Author, Roger Corman, Introduction by . Universe $29.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7893-0844-3

Briggs, host of the long-running cable shows Joe Bob's Drive-In Theatre and Monstervision, is an acknowledged king of cult movie history. From Blood Feast to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Briggs analyzes 20 films and points out their cultural significance. The book is not, as the London Evening Standard put it, "beyond the bounds of depravity," but rather a wryly amusing, informative study of productions that some publicly disparage and privately relish. Roger Vadim's 1956 And God Created Woman broke down sexual barriers. His directorial shaping of Brigitte Bardot into a sex symbol, despite handicaps of coarse voice, cold manner and expressionless face, is a lusty and intriguing French version of Pygmalion. The Svengali theme also relates to Deep Throat, when Linda Lovelace, its star, became a steamy sex goddess in the hands of husband Chuck Traynor. These two movies permanently altered the way the world views celluloid sex, and Briggs demonstrates how Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch did the same for violence. Briggs touches thoughtfully on controversial interpretations that The Wild Bunch film elicited before placing it in perspective as an artistically daring forerunner of modern action films. Shaft unleashed the blaxploitation boom, while The Exorcist turned Satan into a Hollywood high concept. The author also writes with insight and affection about such lurid enterprises as The Curse of Frankenstein and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. The book merits attention from fans tired of high-minded essays about classics such as Citizen Kane, and explains why crass, tasteless pictures often make more impact than those released with the stamp of respectability. 50 illus. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/03/2003
Release date: 06/01/2003
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-85965-336-7
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-7893-0838-2
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!