The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Hooper, 1974) & Shivers (Cronenberg, 1975):
Roxy Bar & Screen, London Bridge, 7pm & 9.30pm
Here's the introduction to the evening: A special event tonight with author Jason Zinoman over from the US to talk about his new book and introduce a special horror double-bill plus shorts. Jason Zinoman is a critic and reporter covering theatre for the New York Times. He has also regularly written about movies, television, books and sport for publications including Vanity Fair, the Guardian, The Economist and Slate. He was the chief theatre critic for Time Out New York before leaving to write the ‘On Stage and Off’ column in the ‘Weekend’ section of The New York Times.
His new book SHOCK VALUE: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror is the first book to look in depth at the years roughly between 1968 and 1979 when a handful of outcasts and oddballs revolutionised the horror industry. With unprecedented access to directors, producers, actors, and most other major players, Zinoman vividly recreates the entertaining, behind-the-scenes stories of how Wes Craven, Roman Polanski, William Friedkin, and John Carpenter, among others, took one of the most potent and influential emotions in our culture—fear—and turned it on its head. With never-before-told stories about the makings of such classic horror films like The Exorcist, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween, and Alien, SHOCK VALUE is an enthralling, personality-driven account of one of the most influential periods of American film-making.
Chicago Reader review of Texas Chainsaw Massacre:
'Tobe Hooper's 1974 bloodbath cheapie acquired a considerable reputation among ideologically oriented critics, who admired the film's sneaky equation of middle-class values with cannibalism and wholesale slaughter. The plot, such as it is, concerns a group of teenagers who fall into the hands—and knives, and ultimately chain saws—of a backwoods family of homicidal maniacs. The picture gets to you more through its intensity than its craft, but Hooper does have a talent. With Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen, Ed Neal, and John Dugan.' Dave Kehr
Here is the trailer.
Time Out review of Shivers:
'This first commercial feature by a former underground film-maker offers a heady, if finally muddled, combination of globs of horror and social criticism. Despite its exploitation format, even the British censor discerned a moral to the tale and passed it uncut. Best is the way Cronenberg deliberately manipulates his synthetic cast and bland visuals, whose plastic surfaces erupt to reveal their repressions and taboos beneath; slug-like parasites (a mix of aphrodisiac and venereal disease) rampage through a luxury tower block, turning the inhabitants into sex-craving zombies. But exactly what is its moral? One suspects Cronenberg is laughing up his sleeve, as some (like the censor) read Shivers as an attack on permissiveness, while others take it as an indictment of the whole of modern society. Often, however, the film stops little short of wholesale disgust at the human condition. Misanthropic, indeed, but the black humour and general inventiveness place it high above most contemporary horror pictures.' Chris Peachment
Here is the trailer.