Lending veracity to the long-held assertion that I only look at PLAYBOY magazine for the articles ;) is a discovery that I made in the August 2011 issue. An article by Jason Zinoman, Shock Value, profiled horror film director Wes Craven.
Always looking for a politcal or societal angle from which to hang their bunny ears, the editors add this subtitle to the article: "Wes Craven created films that became the bloody heart of cinema's New Horror -- box office killers that assaulted the audience's complacency and are populated by demons that are no match to America's own".
The feature focuses mainly on Craven's unsettling picture, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. I had the dubious fortune of seeing it in a South Bend, Indiana when it first played in 1972. I had graduated from High School that June and was traveling the country with my parents. We were in Michigan and my cousin and her boyfriend took me the few miles south to see the movie.
Like many other viewers, I found the violence shocking and was left wondering where were the monsters in this supposed "horror" film? That was Wes Craven's contribution that changed the way horror films were subsequently approached by filmmakers. The 100-mile-an-hour plus drive back to Benton Harbor in the boyfriend's Dodge Challenger all added up to a mind-bending night.
The article shown here turns out to be an excerpt from Zinoman's book, Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror, published by Penguin in July 2011.