Monday, August 09, 2021

Leatherface vs. Tricky Dick: ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ as Political Satire General Release Today!

It's an exciting day here on the farm, as today marks the official "street date" of my new book, Leatherface vs. Tricky Dick: 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre' as Political Satire!

The book has been available for a while already, actually, at the publisher's website, Headpress. However today begins the book's "general release," which means people can start ordering it via the usual outlets online like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the like.

There is a paperback version, an e-book, and an audiobook. There's also a cool hardbound version, though that one is available only at Headpress.

I've shared a bit about the book here already, and if you visit the Headpress site you'll find more about it, including excerpts and a couple of other posts. For poker people, there isn't a lot of poker in there, but there is some. The story of how the movie got its title does involve a poker game. And of course there are a couple of references to Richard Nixon's poker playing, which readers of this blog and/or Poker & Pop Culture already know is a special interest of mine.

On the whole, though, the book explores different ways the 1974 horror film appears to reference and even comment in a satirical way politics of the day, in particular the corrupt and criminal Nixon administration and the Watergate scandal that played out just as the film was conceived, written, shot, edited, and produced. Incidentally, today is the anniversary of Nixon's resignation (August 9, 1974) which came less that two months before the movie premiered.

If you're interested in Chain Saw or horror movies, generally speaking, the book definitely has something for you. Even hardcore fans should discover new items about the film, I think, as it presents a minute-by-minute "deep dive" highlighting its references to politics and Watergate but also other aspects of the film and how it was made.

If the most recent president's two impeachments and other scandals piqued your interest to learn more about Watergate, the book does that as well. I've been teaching a "Nixon class" at UNC Charlotte for the last several years in which we obviously cover Watergate, and the book takes a similar approach toward informing readers about the complicated scandal and its many wild details. You'll also learn about how Watergate was experienced by Americans as it played out, and how Chain Saw compares to other contemporary satire of the period criticizing Nixon and his co-conspirators.

I'm excited about a couple of other book-related activities I'm doing soon. One is to participate in this "international conference on slasher theory, history and practice" called the Slasher Studies Summer Camp.

The conference is online and entirely free to attend. It starts this Friday the 13th (natch) and continues Sat. and Sun. My talk about "Leatherface and the Nixon Mask: Political Satire in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is early Saturday the 14th at 7:00 a.m. ET / 12:00 p.m. BST.

There are tons of other great talks and guest speakers and panelists as well, especially if you're into academic inquiry into slashers. You can register for the Slasher Studies conference here.

I'll also be doing a less formal "Q&A" with Headpress on Tuesday, Aug. 17 at 2:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. BST. That one is also online and also entirely free. Actually that's an "author reading" as well, so we'll start with me reading a bit from the book, then answering questions about it. You can register for the Q&A here.

I'm also likely to appear on at least a couple of podcasts to talk about the book -- not a full-fledged "book tour," but a fun approximation, I guess. Looking forward to all of these and, of course, for the book to get out there once and for all.

If you do pick it up, thanks! And let me know!

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