Monday, August 22, 2011

BOOK: Shock Value (2011)

Just finished Jason Zinoman's book Shock Value, and I'm thoroughly satisfied with my experience. Zinoman's goal is to locate, trace, and analyze the transition from Old Horror (the costume dramas of Frankenstein, Dracula, etc., dominated by Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, et al.) to the New Horror. He uses Hitchcock's 1960 classic Psycho to define the inception of this transition to modern horror, and Targets (1968) as a killing-off of the Old Horror. From there, Zinoman dissects the innovation and progression of modern horror with Rosemary's Baby, The Last House on the Left, The Exorcist, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween, Carrie, Alien, and others. But more than just a history of modern horror films, the more intriguing, entertaining element of Shock Value is its abundance of anecdotes and bric-à-brac of behind-the-scenes tidbits taken from numerous interviews. Definitely a must-read for any horror fan.

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