Killing for Culture

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

  • by David Kerekes and David Slater
  • Creation Books, 1994


The graphic portrayal of "death" on film, although exploitative, stems from many cultural influences. Killing for Culture: An Illustrated History of Death Film from Mondo to Snuff is by far the most in-depth study available on the subject. Authors Kerekes and Slater begin their discussion with the mysteries surrounding the Manson family and its greusome killing of Sharon Tate (and friends) in 1969. In addition, they examine the rumors of "the Family's" lost "snuff films" recorded in years prior to the Tate murders.

Other sections include an astounding survey of the Mondo explosion beginning in the mid-60s up through the early 90s with the final installments of Faces of Death. More than a mere discussion of film, this volume examines the stories behind the "shockumentary" genre and the directors who created these films (some who even experienced legal problems due to instigating crowds to provide scenes of violence for the camera).

Killing for Culture also extends its analysis to other genres of film including examples like Snuff (1976) and Cannibal Holocaust (1980), which played into the "death on screen" motif. The book surprisingly illuminates a wide range of exploitation film history and is illustrated throughout. Whether its in public or in the privacy of your home, this book is definitely worth the read. Unfortunately, an encyclopedic knowledge of "Death" film won't be nearly as sexy as it can be for other genres.

NOTE: This is Vol. 1 in Creation Books unofficial Cinema Collection.

Reviewed by Texploited March 2010

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