By Jason Zinoman
Hardcover, 288 pages
Once delegated to dingy drive-ins and ignored by critics, horror movies made a major comeback in the 1970s-and became for the first time an integral thread in America's pop-cultural tapestry. The book's subtitle just about says it al: "How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror." The author, a New York Times theater critic, pinpoints the pivotal films and the players who took control of a tired, conventional genre with projects like "Rosemary's Baby," "Halloween" and "The Exorcist" and reshaped it into a new master at the multiplex. Anyone who's ever thrilled to a movie monster of any kind will find it frightfully entertaining.