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Jason Zinouman is a critic and reporter covering theatre for The New York Times. He has also written regularly about film, television and books for publicatios including Vanity Fair, the Guardian, The Economist and Slate. He was the chief theatre correspondent for TimeOut before leaving to write the 'On Stage and Off' column in The New York Times/ He grew up in Washington, D.C., and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.
‘Jason Zinoman’s book Shock Value succeeds where countless trailers failed: it will convince people who dislike horror films that they are missing out on a vital school of art’ The Economist
‘Shock Value chronicles a period that feels both close and remote...a brave, uncompromising era in the genre filmmaking. Mavericks, madman, mutants and monsters populate this book. Vivid, fascinating and entirely relevant’ Guillermo del Toro, director of ’Hell Boy’ and ’Pan’s Labyrinth’
In the New Hollywood of the 1970s, just as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola were making their first classic films, a parallel group of directors was inventing the modern horror film. Wes Craven, George A. Romero, Roman Polanski, John Carpenter, Brian De Palma and others made films that were aggressive, raw and utterly original. They would go on to achieve massive box office success. Based on unprecedented access to these leading figures, and hundreds of other interviews, Jason Zinoman's Shock Value delivers an enthralling behind-the-scenes account of horror's golden age.
Films such as Rosemary's Baby, Carrie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween created the template used by horror films ever since. They exploded taboos and drew on their creators' deepest anxieties to bring horror a gritty, confrontational style and political edge. Shock Value tells the remarkable stories behind the making of these films, which remain misunderstood even by some avid fans. Shot largely outside the Hollywood system on shoestring budgets, they dispensed with traditional vampires and werewolves, assaulting audiences with the dark side of suburbia and a new brand of nihilistic violence. When The Exorcist became the highest-grossing blockbuster of all time, the big studios took notice and the cinema would never be the same again.
As the classic horror films of the 1970s conquered both the multiplex and the art house, thy entered the collective imagination and as Jason Zinouman shows, even taught us what to be afraid of. Shock Value is an enormously entertaining account of a highly influential era in filmmaking and Hollywood history.