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Shock Value: A Tasteful Book About Bad Taste Paperback – April 5, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press; 3rd edition (April 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560256982
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560256984
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The memoirs of John Waters are as outrageous and entertaining as his films."

More About the Author

John Waters is an American filmmaker, actor, writer, and visual artist best known for his cult films, including Hairspray, Pink Flamingos, and Cecil B. DeMented. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By MortensOrchid on September 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
John Waters is fantastic. His true talents are not in his films, but in his writing. He can take the mundane and make it extraordinary, the creepy and strange and make it funny, and the ugliest of the ugly and make them things of beauty. Though he's an old man now, and his movies have gone mainstream, this book is a look back at his hilarious youth and all the mischief making that made him and the Dreamland cast stars.

This book covers the making of all his films, the biographies and interviews with his famed cast members, as well as his inpirations (ex. Rus Meyer). You enjoy their antics and feel as if you are right along side them in the making of their hilarious movies and tasteful adventures in bad taste. You can't put it down and are actually laughing out loud as you read. And he even writes about his family. How punk rock!

One thing he taught me to do was to love my hometown. People never seem to like their hometowns, whether they are in the most flashy of cities or the tiniest one horse town. Life is what you make of it, and John put the hairdo capital of the world (Baltimore) on the map with his hijinx and adoration of all things weird and wonderful. He takes his enemies and makes them into glowing monsters we can all throw rotten tomatos at in his absence. The creepy weirdos aren't monsters, they're glorious, misunderstood creatures we are to embrace. Look for the scariest, craziest places and have the most rip roaring time with the clientele. I've taken his advice and now have the ability to talk to anyone, because there are loads of lonely lunatics out there just dying to be friends with you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Genevieve Hayes on January 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
John Waters is a very funny, albeit very warped, man, but if you're considering buying this book, you probably already knew that. In this book he tells his life story (up to about 1980, when this book was first written), focussing on the making of his movies; on his friends (such as Divine, Mink Stole, Edith Massey etc) who became his regular cast and crew; and on some of his more unusual hobbies and obsessions (such as his fascination with high profile criminal cases and his love of Baltimore); and it is every bit as hilarious as his movies (although slightly less disgusting). In addition, it also includes interviews with Divine and Waters' heroes, Russ Meyer and Hershiell Gordon Lewis; a brief biography of Edith Massey (the egg lady from "Pink Flamingos"); and a large number of black and white pictures.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, although I did find the interviews to be a bit tedious, particularly since I am not a fan of Meyer or Lewis (to me they felt like filler, put in solely to make the book a publishable length). Nevertheless, this book should appeal to all fans of Waters' work, and to anyone interested in the process of film making.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lukas Jackson on August 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
Much impressed by the gonzo grotesqueries of "Pink Flamingos," I picked up this book to learn more about the mind behind the madness. I wasn't disappointed-- you get John Waters' strange youth and the stories behind his early freak film experiments in the 1970s. Some of my favorite quotes:

"Parents should worry if their children haven't been arrested by the time they turn sixteen. Being a juvenile delinquent is a birthright and as much a part of a healthy adolescence as smoking cigarettes or getting pimples."

"Whenever I hear a friend casually mention an interest in a sporting event, I immediately reconsider our friendship. . . . All sports are contemptible."

I absolutely love how compleletely unconcerned young Waters was with societal expectations. While most young boys worry about grades, sports, or the pretty girl, young Waters fetishized the street-fighting bad girls and ditched school to drop acid and watch trashy low-budget horror films. And best of all, his alternative education seems to have worked out wonderfully for him, as he gathers an appreciative cult of like-minded freaks around him and takes the world of underground cinema by storm!
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By Beanu on September 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one wild book! If you have a twisted sense of humor (like me!) you will be laughing your butt off.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Just Another Reader on May 26, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was hoping to learn more about John Waters, the man, when I bought this book, and I was far from disappointed. This book is a great memoir of his life from start to finish, with lots of juicy inside info on all of his films. Throughout the book the reader meets all of the outrageous and delightfully politically incorrect characters that inhibit his movies and his life. There are lots of inside stories about Mink Stole, Divine, and everyone else ever seen in a Waters film, as well as the sweet low-down on that famous poop scene as well everything else you've ever wondered about. Waters is surprisingly honest about all sorts of rude and criminal acts that I'd never have known about if I hadn't read it. Underneath it all he shines through as a lovable guy who adores his hometown of Baltimore as well as the genre of trashy movies. If you love Waters, or even don't particularly like him but want to know more about him anyway, you must read this book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Callinan on September 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book itself is great, but I was very disappointed by the quality of the paper stock used for the cover, it was very flimsy and not worth the money.
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