Joe Bob Briggs is a well of horror knowledge, and in “Profoundly Disturbing,” he is filled with amazing stories about some of the most game changing films in movie history. He re-visits the grindhouse and the drive-in once again to profile some truly incredible and unique films. Rather than explain why the movies altered cinema, he also discusses interesting facts about their productions and the odd effects they had on pop culture. Did you know on “The Exorcist” that the actress who could projectile vomit sued the studio for not crediting her as the vomiter? Did you also know Ellen Burstyn had at least five different stage names before she was Ellen Burstyn?
One of my favorite chapters is the exploration of “Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS.” Not only does Joe Bob explore the production troubles and the reason for casting the utterly sexy Dyanne Thorne, but Joe Bob relays the entire history of the female Nazi officer Ilse was based on: Ilse Koch. If you ever were curious about the actual Ilsa, author Joe Bob Briggs basically explains in gruesome detail how she lived, and how she eventually died. We also find out what became of Dyanne Thorne who, at 70 at the time of the book’s publication, was still receiving over two hundred fan letters for “Ilsa.” There’s a fine chapter on “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and how it changed horror films forever as one of the first horror films involving teenage characters. Joe Bob also discusses where the cast of the film ended up and how the man who played the hitchhiker gets enraged just speaking of the film.
You also have to feel sympathy for the cast as they received only a little under thirty dollars from millions of profits earned from the movie, as their distributor headed by the mafia ran off with literally all of the profits. There’s also the sad fate of Tobe Hooper who could never escape his reputation as a horror director. Along the way we also garner a wonderful look at my favorite Universal horror movie “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” and how it turned a veritable slew of minor actors in to big stars, and Joe Bob also tries to figure out why “Deep Throat” was such a massive pop culture sensation, considering the production qualities were terrible and it wasn’t even the first porno to be featured in theaters.
It’s all so much fun and incredibly insightful. Joe Bob spares no real detail and is never afraid to take readers deep in to the film’s beginnings and the long lasting effects they had on the world and their cast members. At over two hundred and fifty pages, author Joe Bob Briggs ventures in to “Shaft,” “The Wild Bunch,” “Drunken Master,” and yes, “Reservoir Dogs,” the Sundance movie that barely made a ripple at the festival but changed filmmaking forever. For the better, and very much for the worse. This is a movie lover’s bible, an excellent inside guide for fans of these groundbreaking cult films, and it’s highly suggested for folks who want to re-visit these masterpieces by way of the great Joe Bob Briggs.