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

Jason Zinoman. Penguin Press, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-594203022
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)
Reviewed on: 08/08/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
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Paperback - 274 pages - 978-0-14-312136-7
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-0-7156-4298-6
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Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-101-51696-6
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