Cinema doesn’t have to be stodgy, even during serious discussion. After reading books of dry film theory and tepid reviews, Joe Bob Briggs’s Profoundly Disturbing was a cool drink of water. Hyperbolically subtitled “Shocking Movies That Changed History,” Briggs covers fifteen films that made a significant dent in the side panels of cinema. Presented in chronological order, the book chronicles cinematic mavericks from THE CABINET OF DOCTOR CALIGARI to CRASH.
While the chapters on THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and THE EXORCIST may feel a little light, Briggs delves deep into MOM & DAD, AND GOD CREATED WOMEN, and THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Standout reviews include BLOOD FEAST, SHAFT, and RESERVOIR DOGS. Always close to my heart, Briggs’s take on RESERVOIR DOGS managed to be fresh, giving equal time to both the film’s production and the ire raised by its controversial director. After having read everything on the film that I could lay my sweaty paws on, that Briggs managed to break new ground for me is quite a feat.
Briggs gives even the schlockiest film the respect it deserves while keeping his wit razor sharp. His mix of levity and earnestness is always a welcome contrast to the dour self-serious cineastes that glut the bookshelves. - MW