‘Raging Bull’ meets ‘Rosemary’s Baby’

Jason Zinoman’s first book, Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror, is a kinky cousin to Peter Biskind’s best-selling Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.

Zinoman, who works as a theater critic for The New York Times (and probably doesn’t have a lot of trouble getting his phone calls returned), doesn’t skimp on behind-the-scenes stories, which he pulls from interviews with Dario Argento, Peter Bogdanovich, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Jamie Lee Curtis, Brian De Palma, Robert Evans, William Friedkin, Tobe Hooper, Dan O’Bannon, George Romero, Guillermo del Toro, Rob Zombie, and other industry players. (Horror’s a boy-heavy genre, and yes, this is a boy-heavy book.) “We were counterrevolutionary,” one of the subjects explains. “The revolution was new wave and experimental film, but they were all influenced by American genre pictures. We just skipped the step and went right to the source.”

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