The Invention of Modern Horror Movies

Monday, July 11, 2011

Jason Zinoman gives an account of the gifted and eccentric directors who ushered in the golden age of modern horror films in the 1970s. Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror tells how the much-disparaged horror film became an ambitious art form and box office draw. Directors such as Wes Craven, Roman Polanski, John Carpenter, and Brian De Palma—brought a gritty aesthetic, confrontational style, and political edge to horror with such classics as “Rosemary's Baby,” “Carrie,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and “Halloween.”


Jason Zinoman

Comments [11]


link to article by Tammy Oler

Jul. 11 2011 01:47 PM
Maude from Park SLope

Has author read the BITCH magazine article that comments on mostly 70s horror movies (Exorcist, Carrie, Firestarter, etc)
on our fear of girl's puberty? so interesting--not to mention fear of crazy or devil child (rosemary's baby, omen)
I love how generally horror movies are a lowbrow comment on society and our fears without the directors or writers even being aware of what they are doing.

Jul. 11 2011 01:40 PM
Angie from Queens

To Anne from Montclair: See "The Others" and (especially) "The Orphanage" (a movie from Spain).

Jul. 11 2011 01:30 PM
Anne from Montclair

Does anyone know of any classic ghost movies that are truly scary without resorting to shock editing and special effects?

Jul. 11 2011 01:28 PM
Maude from Park SLope

I think I watch horror movies b/c especially when I am depressed, it can sometimes get me out of the hole. I have a theory that maybe humans aren't in mortal fear in general, and horror movies, rollercoasters, etc give us that fear in a "safe" setting.

Jul. 11 2011 01:26 PM
Maude from Park SLope

I also think I watch horror movies as a way to prepare for disaster.

Jul. 11 2011 01:25 PM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

My (teenage) daughter LOVES horror movies, and I can hear her laughing and screaming stuff like "don't be stupid, don't go in there!". And she can watch these movies back-to-back.

Personally, anything remotely creepy gives me nightmares for weeks on end!

Jul. 11 2011 01:23 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I think of "Psycho"as more a suspense movie than a horror movie. Where would Mr. Zinoman draw the line between these types of movies? Does it have to do w/whether there are supernatural elements?

Jul. 11 2011 01:22 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Question: Why would any horrible person want to watch a sane movie?

Answer: They wouldn't.

Jul. 11 2011 01:19 PM
Bob from Queens


We are in complete agreement on the merits of the original "Thing" compared to John Carpenter's later version. The latter is a perfect illustration of "more is less."

Jul. 11 2011 01:15 PM
Ken from Soho

Question: Why would a sane person want to watch a horror movie?

Answer: They wouldn't.

Jul. 11 2011 01:12 PM

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