Nightmare USA: The Untold Story of the Exploitation Independents

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9781903254523: Nightmare USA: The Untold Story of the Exploitation Independents

From Quentin Tarantino (Kill Bill) to Eli Roth (Hostel), the young guns of modern Hollywood just can't get enough of that exploitation film high. That's because, between 1970 and 1985, American Exploitation movies went berserk. With censorship relaxed, and the gate to excess wide open, horror - the Exploitation genre par excellence - offered a vibrant alternative to the mainstream of American cinema. Luridly titled wonders like The Headless Eyes, Scream Bloody Murder and Hitch Hike to Hell were everywhere, from the drive-ins of Texas to the grindhouses of New York, touting a combination of mind-bruising violence, weird sex and drug-soaked delirium. Massively popular around the world, American exploitation movies added immensely to the richness of the nation's cinema, but they have remained persona non grata in most serious studies of American film. Until now...

Built on five years of research, Nightmare USA explores the development of America's subterranean horror film industry, spotlighting some of the wildest films imaginable from an era unchecked by censorship or 'good taste.' Ranging from cult favourites like I Drink Your Blood to stylish mind-benders like Messiah of Evil and ultra-violent shockers like Don't Go in the House, Nightmare USA goes where no other in-depth study has gone before, revealing the fascinating true stories behind classics and obscurities alike. Stephen Thrower, author of Beyond Terror, the definitive book on Italian gore maestro Lucio Fulci, has explored the attics and cellars of American cinema, delved beneath the floorboards, peered between the walls, searching for the strangest, most exotic cine-lifeforms... Nightmare USA is the reader's guide to what lies beyond the mainstream of American horror, dispelling the shadows to meet the men and women behind fifteen years of screen terror: the Exploitation Independents!

This massive overview of the Horror genre's development through the 1970s and 1980s features:

-- In-depth EXCLUSIVE interviews with twenty-five grindhouse movie makers, many of whom are discussing their work for the first time ever in print.

-- Over 175 individual films reviewed, with full cast and crew credits compiled by world-renowned cinema archivist Julian Grainger.

-- Vast quantities of previously unpublished stills, posters, press-books, plus behind-the-scenes photographs from the filmmakers' own collections.

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About the Author:

Stephen Thrower is a musician and writer, author of Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci, and editor of Eyeball Compendium, both published by FAB Press. He has also written about horror and 'off-mainstream' cinema in the following books: Shock Xpress Vol.1 (ed. Stefan Jaworzyn), The BFI Companion to Horror (ed. Kim Newman), Art of Darkness: the Cinema of Dario Argento (ed. Chris Gallant), Flesh & Blood Compendium (ed. Harvey Fenton), Ten Years of Terror (ed. Harvey Fenton & David Flint); Horror - A Century of Cinema on the Dark Side (ed. James Marriott), No Focus (eds. Barber & Sargeant).

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The 1970s were fertile years for American horror cinema, with movies such as The Last House on the Left (1972), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Halloween (1978) and Dawn of the Dead (1978) opening up bold new directions for screen terror. Nowadays these films are regarded as classics of the genre, but this wasn’t always so; in the 1970s they were just as likely to be attacked for being crude, nasty, despicable, and unnecessarily graphic. Part of the issue was snobbery about their origins: these were not the standard products of respected major studios, with name actors and prestige technicians. Instead they belonged to a subterranean film industry, the ‘exploitation’ arena, where some of the wildest and most shocking films imaginable proliferated, unchecked by censorship or the dictates of ‘good taste’.

Films like The Headless Eyes (Kent Bateman, 1971), I Drink Your Blood (David Durston, 1971) and Bloodsucking Freaks (Joel M. Reed, 1976) were recklessly bizarre journeys to the outer fringes of horror, and they thrived commercially thanks to a complex network of independent distributors and exhibitors. Gloriously unregulated, this network established a country-wide free-for-all where all that mattered was the hard sell. From Texas drive-ins to the grindhouses of New York, sex and violence ruled the roost, and the race was on to be more extreme, more horrific, more bizarre. With only potential profits to guide tone and content, the rulebook went out the window. Consequently, marginal or eccentric filmmakers found the exploitation industry the perfect place to explore their obsessions: as long as you made a buck, you could go as far out as you pleased! Of course the ‘exploitation independents’ also created some of the most hopelessly inept movies ever to run through a projector. Some are hilarious, others are dull beyond belief: what matters is that taken together, both good and bad constitute a parallel cinema where imagination and daring trump taste and respectability.

These movies added immensely to the richness of American cinema. In their oddness and imperfection, their cheapness and occasional amateurism, they provide a glimpse of a freer, less mediated film environment. Their great value was in challenging the notion that cultural power in cinema was located entirely in Hollywood, encouraging optimism and engagement in the medium at a local level. For these reasons the exploitation independents deserve our admiration.

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Thrower, Stephen
Editorial: FAB Press (2008)
ISBN 10: 1903254523 ISBN 13: 9781903254523
Nuevos Paperback Cantidad: 2
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Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, Estados Unidos de America)
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Descripción FAB Press, 2008. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P111903254523

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