Friday, May 1, 2009
You know who I completely forgot about? Joe Bob Briggs! How is that even possible? A couple of weeks ago, I managed to fight my way through Blood Sisters, a really pitiful slasher directed by Roberta Findlay. When it was over, I decided to check out Joe Bob’s audio commentary track. I ended up sitting through the entire movie all over again. The track was informative, especially about Findlay’s career and it was friggin’ hilarious. After it was over, I immediately pursued more Joe Bob, which led me to his book, Profoundly Disturbing.
In Profoundly Disturbing, Briggs examines 15 underground films that changed the world of cinema forever: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Mom and Dad, Creature from the Black Lagoon, And God Created Woman, The Curse of Frankenstein, Blood Feast, The Wild Bunch, Shaft, Deep Throat, The Exorcist, Isla: She-Wolf of the SS, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Drunken Master, Reservoir Dogs, and David Cronenberg’s Crash. He delivers a mountain of information regarding the production of these films as well as their critical reception but Briggs always manages to keep it interesting.
I was a little disappointed in the brevity of the Wild Bunch chapter only because after reading that amazing Peckinpah biography (If They Move . . . Kill 'Em!: The Life and TImes of Sam Peckinpah), I can never get enough Sam Peckinpah. I was a little confused about Drunken Master’s inclusion in the book only because I couldn’t figure out how it was profoundly disturbing. Even after reading the chapter (which was a good read by the way), I still don’t know. The most profoundly disturbing chapter however is the one on Deep Throat. The stories about how the most infamous porno of the 70s came to be and the troubled life of its star are pretty twisted. Reservoir Dogs gets the longest chapter mainly because Quentin Tarantino is a jackass and needs lots of explaining.
My biggest complaint about Profoundy Disturbing is that, even at 250 pages, I still want more. This book could be 50 of the most shocking films of all time and I’d be just as fascinated. For all the list-makers, there is a wrap-up at the end of each chapter called “For Further Disturbance” where Briggs spouts off another couple of dozen related films to check out. I highly recommend Profoundly Disturbing to all burgeoning film buffs out there and oh yes, you can be sure that I will be seeking out more Joe Bob Briggs books in the near future.