Andrea Blythe (blythe025) wrote,
Andrea Blythe

Review: Shock Value by Jason Zinoman

I'm a huge fan of horror movies and I love seeing behind the scenes of how movies are made, so it's no surprise that I would totally dig Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror, by Jason Zinoman. The book presents a history of how filmmakers, such as Wes Craven, Roman Polanski, George Romero and others, took the old schlocky stories (Frankenstein, Dracula, etc.) to the next level, with stories that push the boundaries of politics and social commentary, as well as gore.

Zinoman didn't go into deep analysis of the film (I'm sure there are plenty of other books that do), but explored the lives of the directors and writers that became known as auteurs in the industry (whether or not it was truth), revealing how they came to develop the movie that are now classics of horror. Keeping in mind that I did not live in the era and have not seen several of these movies (though I have heard and know about all of them), I can't judge whether the author's point of view accurately reflects the movies or the time in which they were made, but I can say that it worked for me. I was thoroughly fascinated and entertained, so much so that I plowed through the book in under two days. It was a great, fun read, and I now need to do a marathon and see all the movies that I have not seen.

The one flaw, for me at least as I have a deep love (read: obsession) of lists, is that the author did note compile of filmography of movies mentioned in the book. How else am I supposed to easily quantify which movies I have and have not seen?

So lacking a proper filmography, I skimmed through the book and made my own list of all the movies discussed. I have included the date, if relevant in context of the book, directors name and writer's name (assume director unless otheriwse noted). I also noted which ones the author considered flops. (Movies that I have seen are noted with a *, are those that I've seen in entirety.)

Main Horror Movies Discussed
Alien (1979), Ridley Scott (dir), Dan O'Bannon (writer)
*Carrie (1976), Brian De Palma
Dark Star (1974), John Carpenter (dir), John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon (writers)
*The Exorcist (1973), William Friedkin (dir), William Peter Blatty (writer)
Friday the 13th (1980), Sean S. Cunningham
*Halloween (1978), John Carpenter
The Hills Have Eyes (1977), Wes Craven
*Jaws (1975), Stephen Speilberg
The Last House on the Left (1972), Wes Craven
*Night of the Living Dead (1968), George Romero
Rosemary's Baby (1968), Roman Polanski
Targets (1965), Peter Bogdanovich
*The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Tobe Hooper

Rest of the Movies Mentioned
(not only horror, but also movies that acted as either inspiration for, inspired by horror, or important for the time period)

2001: A Space Oddysey (1968), Stanley Kubrick
2001 Maniacs (2005)
Abby (blaxploitation, 1974)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Assualt on Precinct 13 (1976), John Carpenter
Audition (1999)
*Avatar (2009)
*The Birds (1963), Alfred Hitchcock
The Bird with Crystal Plummage (19700, Dario Argento
Black Christmas (1974)
Black Sabbath (1963), Mario Bava
*Black Swan (2010)
The Blaire Witch Project (1999)
Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)
The Blob (1958)
The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), Brian De Palma
Blood and Black Lace (1964), Mario Bava
Blood Bath (1966)
Blood Feast (1963), Hershell Gordon Lewis
Blow Out (1981), Brian De Palma
Body Double (1984), Brian De Palma
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
The Brood  (1979), David Cronenberg
*Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Cat People  (1942)
Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (1973), Bob Clark
Chinatown (1974), Roman Polanski
*A Clockwork Orange (1971), Stanley Kubrick
Count Yorga, Vampire (1970)
The Crazies (1973), George Romero
Creepshow (1982), George Romero
*Dawn of the Dead (1978), George Romero
Dead of Night (1974), Bob Clark
Deep Red (1975), Dario Argento
Deep Throat (porn, 1972)
Deliverance (1972)
The Devil's Rejects (2005), Rob Zombie
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Diary of the Dead (2007), George Romero
Dirty Harry (1971)
*District 9 (2009)
Dogs (1976)
Dracula (1931)
Dracula (1958)
Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)
Dressed to Kill (1980), Brian De Palma
The Drowning Pool (1975)
Easy Rider (1969)
*Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Eggshells (1969), Toby Hooper
El Topo (1970)
Eraserhead (1977), David Lynch
Eugenie...the Story of Her Perversion (1970)
The Exorcist II (1977)
The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), John Carpenter (writer)
Fantastic Voyage (1966)
*Fatal Attraction (1987)
The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967), Roman Polanski
Fosters Release (short, 1971), Terence Winkless
Frankenstein (1931)
Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), flop
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)
The French Connection (1971), William Friedkin
Frenzy (1972), Alfred Hitchcock
Friday the 13th, Part 2 (1981)
Friday the 13th, The Final Chapter (1984)
Frogs (1972)
The Getaway (1972)
Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972), Brian De Palma
Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter (1970)
The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1969)
The Godfather (1972)
Goodbye, Columbus (1969)
Gorgo Versus Godzilla (short, 1969), John Carpenter
*The Graduate (1967)
*Gremlins (1984)
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
High Tension (2003)
Hi, Mom! (1970), Brian De Palma
*Hostel (2005)
The House of the Devil (short, 1896)
*How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
The Howling (1981)
*The Hurt Locker (2008)
I Drink Your Blood (1970)
*I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
*Inglourious Basterds (2009), Quentin Tarantino
The Innocents (1971)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
It's Alive (1974)
It: The Terror from Beyond Space (1958)
*Land of the Dead (2005), George Romero
Let's Kill Uncle (1966), William Castle
Lifeforce (1985), Tobe Hooper
The Long Goodbye (1973)
Lovin Molly (1974)
Macabre (1958), William Castle
Macbeth (1971), Roman Polanski
Maniac (1980)
Marnie (1964), Alfred Hitchcock, flop
Martin (1976), George Romero
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
*Mission: Impossible (1996), Brian De Palma
Mission to Mars (2000), Brian De Palma
Monkey Shines (1988), George Romero
Murder a la Mode (1968), Brian De Palma
Music of the Heart (1999), Wes Craven
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Wes Craven
*No Country for Old Men (2007)
North by Northwest (1959), Alfred Hitchcock
*Nosferatu (1922)
The Omen (1976)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
*Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
Phantasm (1979)
Phantom of the Paradise (1974), Brian De Palma
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Planet of the Vampires (1965), Mario Bava
Play Misty for Me (1971)
*Poltergeist (1982), Tobe Hooper
*Psycho (1960), Alfred Hitchcock
Rabid (1977), David Cronenberg
*Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Stephen Speilberg
*Repulsion (1965), Roman Polanski
Reservoir Dogs (1992), Quentin Tarantino
The Resurrected (1992), Dan O'Bannon
The Resurrection of Broncho Billie (short, 1970), John Carpenter (writer)
Return of the Living Dead (1985), Dan O'Bannon
Revenge of the Collosal Beasts (short, 1962), John Carpenter
The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
Satyricon (1969), Federico Fellini
*Saw (2004)
Scarface (1983), Brian De Palma
*Scary Movie (2000)
*Scream (1996)
Scream and Scream Again (1970)
Scum of the Earth! (1963), Hershell Gordon Lewis
A Serious Man (2009)
The Seventh Seal (1957), Ingmar Bergman]
*The Shinning (1980), Stanley Kubrick
Shivers (1975), David Cronenberg
*The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Sisters  (1973), Brian De Palma
Slaves (blaxploitation, 1969)
Socerer from Outer Space (short, 1969), John Carpenter
The Spirit is Willing (1967), flop
Stanley (1972)
Star Trek (1966)
*Star Wars (1977), George Lucas
Straw Dogs (1971)
The Street Fighter (1975)
The Stepfather (1987)
The Stepford Wives (1975)
Survival of the Dead (2009), George Romero
Suspiria (1977), Dario Argento
A Taste of Blood (1967)
Taxi Driver (1976)
The Terror (1963)
Terror from Space (short, 1963), John Carpenter
The Thing from Another World (1951)
The Thing (1982), John Carpenter
Them (1970 - from France)
There's Always Vanilla (1971), George Romero
Thriller (short, 1983)
THX 1138 (1971), George Lucas
The Tingler (1959), William Castle
Together (porn, 1971), Sean S. Cunningham
Torn Curtain (1966), Alfred Hitchcock, flop
Torpaz (1969), Alfred Hitchcock, flop
*Twilight (2008)
Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971), Mario Bava
Two Thousand Maniacs (1964), Hershell Gordon Lewis
The Untouchables (1987), Brian De Palma
*Vertigo (1958), Alfred Hitchcock
The Virgin Spring (1960), Ingmar Bergman (inspiration for The Last House on the Left)
Wait Until Dark (1967)
The Wedding Party (1969), Brian De Palma
White Zombie (1932)
Willard (1971)
The Windsplitter (1971)
The Wolf Man (1941)
Woodstock (1970)

Welp, that took a colossal chunk of time, which may or may not have been worth it. Done nonetheless.

†Zinoman makes a compelling argument as to why No Country for Old Men is closer to horror as opposed to any other genre, noting that the murderer in the movie bears a close resemblance to Michael Myers in Halloween, because there is not rhyme or reason to why they kill.
Tags: book love, books, horror, list love, lists, movies, record keeping, reviews

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