The Horror of It All: One Moviegoer's Love Affair with Masked Maniacs, Frightened Virgins, and the Living Dead...

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Pop culture history meets blood-soaked memoir as Adam Rockoff, “a passionate fan of the horror genre in all its forms,” (The New York Times) recalls a life spent watching blockbuster slasher films, cult classics, and everything in between.

Horror films have simultaneously captivated and terrified audiences for generations, racking up millions of dollars at the box office and infusing our nightmares with chainsaws, goblins, and blood-spattered machetes. Today’s hottest television shows feature classic horror elements, from marauding zombies and sexy vampires to myriad incarnations of the devil himself. Yet the horror genre and its controversial offshoots continue to occupy a nebulous space in our critical dialogue. The Horror of It All is a memoir from the front lines of the horror industry that dissects (and occasionally defends) the massively popular phenomenon of scary movies.

Author Adam Rockoff delivers “the sharpest pop culture criticism you’ll find in any medium today,” (Rue Morgue) as he traces the highs and lows of the genre through the lens of his own obsessive fandom, which began in the horror aisles of his childhood video store and continued with a steady diet of cable trash. From the convergence of horror and heavy metal, to Siskel and Ebert’s crusade against the slasher flick, to the legacy of the Scream franchise, and the behind-the-scenes work of horror directors and make-up artists, Rockoff mines the rich history of the genre, braiding critical analysis with his own firsthand experiences as a horror writer and producer. Filled with mordant wit and sharp insight, The Horror of It All “is an amiable and often amusing guide” (Kirkus Reviews) that explains why horror films not only endure, but continue to prosper. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
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About the author

Adam Rockoff is the screenwriter of Wicked Lake, a film so depraved it caused Ron Jeremy to storm out of the theater in anger. However, his 2010 adaptation of the classic exploitation film, I Spit on Your Grave, received nearly unanimous praise from horror critics. His first book, Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film, 1978-1986, a critical examination of the slasher genre, was made into a documentary which premiered on STARZ. When he’s not getting his hands bloody, Rockoff runs the television production company, FlashRock Films.

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4.7
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
May 19, 2015
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781476761862
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Performing Arts / Film / General
Performing Arts / Film / History & Criticism
Social Science / Popular Culture
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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An enormously entertaining account of the gifted and eccentric directors who gave us the golden age of modern horror in the 1970s, bringing a new brand of politics and gritty realism to the genre.

Much has been written about the storied New Hollywood of the 1970s, but at the same time as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Ford Coppola were making their first classic movies, a parallel universe of directors gave birth to the modern horror film-aggressive, raw, and utterly original. Based on unprecedented access to the genre's major players, The New York Times's critic Jason Zinoman's Shock Value delivers the first definitive account of horror's golden age.

By the late 1960s, horror was stuck in the past, confined mostly to drive-in theaters and exploitation houses, and shunned by critics. Shock Value tells the unlikely story of how the much-disparaged horror film became an ambitious art form while also conquering the multiplex. Directors such as Wes Craven, Roman Polanski, John Carpenter, and Brian De Palma- counterculture types operating largely outside the confines of Hollywood-revolutionized the genre, exploding taboos and bringing a gritty aesthetic, confrontational style, and political edge to horror. Zinoman recounts how these directors produced such classics as Rosemary's Baby, Carrie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Halloween, creating a template for horror that has been imitated relentlessly but whose originality has rarely been matched.

This new kind of film dispensed with the old vampires and werewolves and instead assaulted audiences with portraits of serial killers, the dark side of suburbia, and a brand of nihilistic violence that had never been seen before. Shock Value tells the improbable stories behind the making of these movies, which were often directed by obsessive and insecure young men working on shoestring budgets, were funded by sketchy investors, and starred porn stars. But once The Exorcist became the highest grossing film in America, Hollywood took notice.

The classic horror films of the 1970s have now spawned a billion-dollar industry, but they have also penetrated deep into the American consciousness. Quite literally, Zinoman reveals, these movies have taught us what to be afraid of. Drawing on interviews with hundreds of the most important artists in horror, Shock Value is an enthralling and personality-driven account of an overlooked but hugely influential golden age in American film.
Over the last two decades, Japanese filmmakers have produced some of the most important and innovative works of cinematic horror. At once visually arresting, philosophically complex, and politically charged, films by directors like Tsukamoto Shinya (Tetsuo: The Iron Man [1988] and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer [1992]), Sato Hisayasu (Muscle [1988] and Naked Blood [1995]) Kurosawa Kiyoshi (Cure [1997], Seance [2000], and Kairo [2001]), Nakata Hideo (Ringu [1998], Ringu II [1999], and Dark Water [2002]), and Miike Takashi (Audition [1999] and Ichi the Killer [2001]) continually revisit and redefine the horror genre in both its Japanese and global contexts. In the process, these and other directors of contemporary Japanese horror film consistently contribute exciting and important new visions, from postmodern reworkings of traditional avenging spirit narratives to groundbreaking works of cinematic terror that position depictions of radical or `monstrous? alterity/hybridity as metaphors for larger socio-political concerns, including shifting gender roles, reconsiderations of the importance of the extended family as a social institution, and reconceptualisations of the very notion of cultural and national boundaries.ContentsList of Illustrations Acknowledgements Introduction: `New Waves?, Old Terrors, and Emerging Fears Guinea Pigs and Entrails: Cultural Transformations and Body Horror in Japanese Torture Film Cultural Transformation, Corporeal Prohibitions and Body Horror in Sato Hisayasu's Naked Blood and Muscle Ghosts of the Present, Spectres of the Past: The kaidan and the Haunted Family in the Cinema of Nakata Hideoand Shimizu Takashi A Murder of Doves: Youth Violence and the Rites of Passing in Contemporary Japanese Horror Cinema Spiraling into Apocalypse: Sono Shion's Suicide Circle, Higuchinsky's Uzumaki and Kurosawa Kiyoshi's Pulse New Terrors, Emerging Trends, and the Future of Japanese Horror CinemaWorks Cited and Consulted Index
John Carpenter’s Halloween, released on October 25, 1978, marked the beginning of the horror film’s most colorful, controversial, and successful offshoot—the slasher film. Loved by fans and reviled by critics for its iconic psychopaths, gory special effects, brainless teenagers in peril, and more than a bit of soft-core sex, the slasher film secured its legacy as a cultural phenomenon and continues to be popular today. This work traces the evolution of the slasher film from 1978 when it was a fledgling genre, through the early 1980s when it was one of the most profitable and prolific genres in Hollywood, on to its decline in popularity around 1986. An introduction provides a brief history of the Grand Guignol, the pre-cinema forerunner of the slasher film, films such as Psycho and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and cinematic trends that gave rise to the slasher film. Also explained are the slasher film’s characteristics, conventions, and cinematic devices, such as the “final girl,” the omnipotent killer, the relationship between sex and death, the significant date or setting, and the point-of-view of the killer. The chapters that follow are devoted to the years 1978 through 1986 and analyze significant films from each year. The Toolbox Murders, When a Stranger Calls, the Friday the 13th movies, My Bloody Valentine, The Slumber Party Massacre, Psycho II, and April Fool’s Day are among those analyzed. The late 90s resurrection of slasher films, as seen in Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, is also explored, as well as the future direction of slasher films.
"Spares no details." —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"An incredible read." —Richard Donner, Director

"People always ask me about life after childhood stardom. What would I say to parents of children in the industry? My only advice, honestly, is to get these kids out of Hollywood and let them lead normal lives." —Corey Feldman

The New York Times Bestseller
A deeply personal and revealing Hollywood-survival story.

Lovable child star by age ten, international teen idol by fifteen, and to this day a perennial pop-culture staple, Corey Feldman has not only spent the entirety of his life in the spotlight, he's become just as famous for his off-screen exploits as for his roles in such classic films as Gremlins, The Goonies, and Stand by Me. He's been linked to a slew of Hollywood starlets (including Drew Barrymore, Vanessa Marcil, and adult entertainer Ginger Lynn), shared a highly publicized friendship with Michael Jackson, and with his frequent costar Corey Haim enjoyed immeasurable success as one half of the wildly popular duo "The Two Coreys," spawning seven films, a 1-900 number, and "Coreymania" in the process. What child of the eighties didn't have a Corey Feldman poster hanging in her bedroom, or a pile of Tiger Beats stashed in his closet?

Now, in this brave and moving memoir, Corey is revealing the truth about what his life was like behind the scenes: His is a past that included physical, drug, and sexual abuse, a dysfunctional family from which he was emancipated at age fifteen, three high-profile arrests for drug possession, a nine-month stint in rehab, and a long, slow crawl back to the top of the box office.

While Corey has managed to overcome the traps that ensnared so many other entertainers of his generation—he's still acting, is a touring musician, and is a proud father to his son, Zen—many of those closest to him haven't been so lucky. In the span of one year, he mourned the passing of seven friends and family members, including Corey Haim and Michael Jackson. In the wake of those tragedies, he's spoken publicly about the dark side of fame, lobbied for legislation affording greater protections for children in the entertainment industry, and lifted the lid off of what he calls Hollywood's biggest secret.

Coreyography is his surprising account of survival and redemption.

New York Times bestseller—now a major motion picture directed by and starring James Franco!

From the actor who somehow lived through it all, a “sharply detailed…funny book about a cinematic comedy of errors” (The New York Times): the making of the cult film phenomenon The Room.

In 2003, an independent film called The Room—starring and written, produced, and directed by a mysteriously wealthy social misfit named Tommy Wiseau—made its disastrous debut in Los Angeles. Described by one reviewer as “like getting stabbed in the head,” the $6 million film earned a grand total of $1,800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. Years later, it’s an international cult phenomenon, whose legions of fans attend screenings featuring costumes, audience rituals, merchandising, and thousands of plastic spoons.

Hailed by The Huffington Post as “possibly the most important piece of literature ever printed,” The Disaster Artist is the hilarious, behind-the-scenes story of a deliciously awful cinematic phenomenon as well as the story of an odd and inspiring Hollywood friendship. Actor Greg Sestero, Tommy’s costar and longtime best friend, recounts the film’s bizarre journey to infamy, unraveling mysteries for fans (like, who is Steven? And what’s with that hospital on Guerrero Street?)—as well as the most important question: how the hell did a movie this awful ever get made? But more than just a riotously funny story about cinematic hubris, “The Disaster Artist is one of the most honest books about friendship I’ve read in years” (Los Angeles Times).
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