"he happens to be a guy with the wherewithal and talent to make a movie like this"
I agree with "wherewithal," but disagree with "talent." I don't think the man is a filmmaker and his grasp of violence isn't very sophisticated or complex, unlike say, a Kurosawa or Peckinpah. Or even a Kitano.
As for shock cinema, well, I'm not a big fan of Noe or Miike, but they operate on a level above him. I AM a fan of Kim Ki-Duk, and he's a far classier provocateur.
And none of them can touch Romero, or above all, Pasolini.