Going to Pieces

The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film, 1978–1986


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SKU: 9780786469321 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

John Carpenter’s Halloween, released on October 25, 1978, marked the beginning of the horror film’s most colorful, controversial, and successful offshoot—the slasher film. Loved by fans and reviled by critics for its iconic psychopaths, gory special effects, brainless teenagers in peril, and more than a bit of soft-core sex, the slasher film secured its legacy as a cultural phenomenon and continues to be popular today.
This work traces the evolution of the slasher film from 1978 when it was a fledgling genre, through the early 1980s when it was one of the most profitable and prolific genres in Hollywood, on to its decline in popularity around 1986. An introduction provides a brief history of the Grand Guignol, the pre-cinema forerunner of the slasher film, films such as Psycho and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and cinematic trends that gave rise to the slasher film. Also explained are the slasher film’s characteristics, conventions, and cinematic devices, such as the “final girl,” the omnipotent killer, the relationship between sex and death, the significant date or setting, and the point-of-view of the killer. The chapters that follow are devoted to the years 1978 through 1986 and analyze significant films from each year. The Toolbox Murders, When a Stranger Calls, the Friday the 13th movies, My Bloody Valentine, The Slumber Party Massacre, Psycho II, and April Fool’s Day are among those analyzed. The late 90s resurrection of slasher films, as seen in Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, is also explored, as well as the future direction of slasher films.

About the Author(s)

Adam Rockoff, a lifelong horror enthusiast, is a film producer. He lives in Chicago.

Bibliographic Details

Adam Rockoff
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 223
Bibliographic Info: 108 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2002]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6932-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9192-6
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

“a surprisingly scholarly evaluation…Rockoff is no blood-in-his eye moron; he’s committed to preserving the slasher’s history, giving them their due…praiseworthy”—Classic Images; “amazingly well-informed, engaging, and liberally illustrated…fascinating reading…recommended”—Choice; “all kinds of surprises…good”—Cult Movies; “useful…excellent…the only book of its kind offering a detailed history of the slasher genre…fascinating…belongs in every university library…deserves a wide readership”—Journal of Popular Culture; “invaluable”—Cine Autopsis; “informative and funny…exceedingly well-written”—Green Man Review; “professional, witty and informative piece of film criticism…fascinating…highly recommended”—Hysteria; “excellent…fascinating…deserves a wide readership”—Hub Stuff; “no doubt the slasher fan will be rushing our to buy this book, which has much to offer. From detailed and engagingly written plot overviews, to interviews with leading slasher directors (including John Carpenter and Wes Craven), the volume displays a good mix of primary research and textual analysis…an exhaustively researched and enthusiastically written account that will have the slice and dice fan reaching for the bookshelf”—Kamera; “definitive…extremely well-written and well-researched”—Hitch; “makes old news seem fresh”—Fangoria; “the most impressive book devoted to the slasher film to date”—Culture Dose; “interesting”—The Times/Beaver Newspapers Inc.; “offers some interesting trivia facts”—Burlington Country Times.