The Arts Bookstore of the Internet
created by Matt Zoller Seitz
“Outside of a Dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” ~Groucho Marx
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He directed The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, the most infamous and visceral horror film of all time. He directed Poltergeist, one of the most successful ghost stories of the 20th century. He was called a Master of Horror, and he worked with screen legends James Mason, Neville Brand, Karen Black, Fred Willard, Dennis Hopper, Anthony Perkins, Mel Ferrer & Marie Windsor. He elegantly navigated the works of pulp legends Ambrose Bierce, Stephen King, Cornell Woolrich, & Richard Matheson.
And yet Tobe Hooper is one of the most unsung film artists of the last fifty years.
How did the man famous for creating some of the most endearing images of terrible things, who did for the hardware store what Jaws did for the beach, become someone in need of rescue?
Scout Tafoya's Cinemaphagy is the study of an artist’s working life, his bountiful creativity, his ardent cinephilia, his prolific career in film and television, his lasting influence beyond the saw. Horror movie directors are too frequently pigeonholed as purveyors of the macabre but in truth Hooper was one of the most boldly experimental genre filmmakers in the game, fusing a Texan psychedelia with an earnest classical style gleaned from years watching classic films.
Every film Hooper made, no matter how thankless, no matter how silly the assignment on paper, became a rich, roiling text on the political underside of the American cinema. No one made movies about cinema less ostentatiously and with more love. Movies with lurid titles like Spontaneous Combustion and The Mangler hide essays about the history of labor, Cold War iconography, and the corrosive legacy of a culture built on lies. Tobe Hooper is still too often represented as a man with a monolithic legacy, the creator of one great film and nothing else. It’s well past time the depth and breadth of his obsessions and his gifts were discussed by a culture that ignored his years of hard work. Hooper directed The Texas Chain Saw Massacre but that is literally just the start of one of the most exciting, free, and expressionistic bodies of work in the American cinema.
All copies are new and signed by author Scout Tafoya.
MZS.Press is the online arts bookstore founded by author, critic, and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz. It offers a variety of new, used, signed, collectible, and rare books on film, television, music, photography, and the visual arts. The store was launched in 2019 under the direction of the founder's late wife, Cincinnati-based businesswoman and activist Nancy Dawson, and was originally hosted by Shopify until the platform became corrupt and started destroying independent merchants by freezing their accounts without explanation and making them jump through administrative and legal hoops before shutting them down and taking whatever was left of their money. This same fate was visited upon this store, prompting Seitz and his business partner Judith Carter to relocate here, the better to preserve a hospitable environment for the types of authors they like to champion: independent voices, often published by small presses whose extraordinary work tends to get swallowed up on giant platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The store's inventory of nearly 1000 volumes is currently in the process of being reconstructed after its relocation. The titles featured here are personally selected by a group of curators and advisors, including Seitz, Carter, and an array of critics, artists, journalists, educators, publishers, and arts mavens who are known for their ability to suss out what the author's jazz musician father once called "the good sh*t."
The plot thickens, as they say. Why, by the way? Is it a soup metaphor?
Matt Zoller Seitz
Critic, Author, Filmmaker, MZS Press Creator
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large of RogerEbert.com. He is also the TV critic for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. His writing on film and television has appeared in The New York Times, Salon.com, The New Republic and Sight and Sound. Seitz is the founder and original editor of the influential film blog The House Next Door, now a part of Slant Magazine, and the co-founder and original editor of Press Play, an IndieWire blog of film and TV criticism and video essays.
Seitz has written, narrated, edited or produced over a hundred hours’ worth of video essays about cinema history and style for The Museum of the Moving Image, Salon.com and Vulture, among other outlets. His five-part 2009 video essay Wes Anderson: The Substance of Style was spun off into the hardcover book The Wes Anderson Collection. This book and its follow-up, The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel were New York Times bestsellers.
Other Seitz books include The Sopranos Sessions, Mad Men Carousel, and the newly published by MZS Press, The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon. He also wrote the New York Time Best Sellers Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion, and TV (The Book). He is currently working on a science fiction puppet movie, a memoir about his two marriages, and an epic non-fiction television series covering 50 years in the life of his extended family.
His hobbies include exotic dancing, moonwalking, and affixing masking tape labels to every food item in the refrigerator, including eggs.
He has the attention span of a gnat.