Shock Value Intereresting but Flawed

Recently one of my best friends gave me a book called “Shock
Value” for Christmas. Written by Jason Zinoman, it chronicles the
birth of modern horror, beginning with “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Night of
the Living Dead” and continuing with the great horror films of the
1970’s including “Last House on the Left” and “The Texas Chain Saw
Massacre.” Directors such as George A. Romero, John Carpenter, Roman
Polanski, Brian De Palma, Wes Craven, Steven Spielberg, and William
Friedkin are chronicled.

While it is entertaining to read about the birth of modern horror and
these amazing, strong personalities, the book ends
up trying to cover too much ground. Only Hooper and Brian
De Palma come across as fully formed individuals; everyone else
(particularly Carpenter and Romero) seems too thin a character for the
pages allotted. Dan O’Bannon (writer of “Alien”) goes the other way;
we learn a lot about him personally but little about his filmmaking
techniques. Why, for example, does he think “Assault on Precinct 13,
one of the best films of the 1970’s, is a terrible movie? The book is
entertaining enough but I have a nagging feeling it should have been
better. Definitely check it out of your local library then, but only
purchase at a big discount. “Shock Value” needs more shocking