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Shock Value
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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 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 Times. He grew up in Washington D.C. and now lives in Brooklyn.

Reviews

"In Shock Value, New York Times scribe Zinoman attempts to give these directors the same treatment Peter Biskind gave Spielberg, Scorsese, and Coppola in his magnificent Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. In other words, he explains the filmmakers' importance while never letting his cultural theorizing get in the way of a good production yarn or intriguing biographical nugget. Zinoman succeeds monstrously well in this mission...there is plenty here to make the most knowledgeable of horror fans' head explode." -- Entertainment Weekly

"Not only is Shock Value enormously well-researched -- the book is based on the author's interviews with almost all of the movement's principals -- it's also an unbelievable amount of fun. Zinoman writes with a strong narrative drive and a contagious charisma." -- NPR.org "[Shock Value] fuses biography (in this case, of such masters of horror as Wes Craven, John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper), production history, movie criticism and social commentary into a unified and irresistible story...You should finish a great movie book with your dander up and your Netflix queue swelled by at least a dozen titles. And on that count, Shock Value more than delivers." -- Laura Miller, Salon.com "Zinoman...concentrates on a handful of films and filmmakers that brought the corpse back to life during the late 1960s and early '70s, and he convincingly conveys what made movies like 'Night of the Living Dead' and 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' different from anything that had come before: more unsettling, purer in their sense of dread...where Shock Value excels is in its primary research, the stories of how the seminal shockers of this era came to be." -- The New York Times "Impassioned, articulate prose...Zinoman is such a literate, intelligent defender of the cause that his arguments are well worth reading. Even better, he has a knack for finding the characters in behind-the-scenes theatrics." -- The Onion "Though in-depth character 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." -- Publishers Weekly starred review "Insightful, revealing, and thoroughly engrossing...Thoroughly researched, Shock Value is chock full of nuggets of insider details that even the most hardcore horror fan might not know." -- About.com "Between 1968 and 1976, all the films that redefined the horror movie were made: Night of the Living Dead, Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, Dark Star, The Last House on the Left, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Carrie. In fluent reporter's prose lent urgency by personal fascination, Zinoman tells how their creators made those paradigm-shifters...There are many good-bad and downright bad books about horror movies. Zinoman gives us the rare all-good book about them." -- Roy Olson, Booklist "May well prove to be the most indispensable overview of modern horror." -- Rue Morgue Magazine "Brisk, accessible and incisive...walks a tonal tightrope of entertaining prose and sobering deliberation." -- Fangoria Magazine "Five Stars. The most effortlessly enchanting treatise on the American horror film since Stephen King's Danse Macabre.... die-hard horror fans will worship it." -- BloodyDisgusting.com

Hard-core horror film aficionados may quibble with this emphasis or that omission, but for a solid introduction to the genre and its creative regeneration during the late 1960s and 1970s, it would be hard to beat Zinoman's title. He convincingly describes how innovators such as George Romero, Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, Roman Polanski, John Carpenter, William Friedkin, and Brian De Palma dispensed with the horror tropes of the early film era (vampires, werewolves, etc.) to produce such landmark films as Rosemary's Baby, The Last House on the Left, The Exorcist, Carrie, Halloween, Night of the Living Dead, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Narrator Pete Larkin offers an adequate, neutral reading that works well for this nonfiction content. Fascinating stuff recommended for all film collections. [The review of the Penguin hc was a bit more conservative: "Given the plethora of available books about horror films...scholarly ones such as Kendall Phillips's Projected Fears and Thomas M. Sipos's Horror Film Aesthetics, this will appeal mostly to readers seeking a general overview," LJ 5/1/11.-Ed.]--Kristen L. Smith, Loras Coll. Lib., Dubuque, IA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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