Italian Horror Film Directors Review

Author: Louis Paul

I have to admit, I absolutely adore any Italian horror film that got churned out during the 70’s and 80’s. Even though they where – more often or not- cheaply made and quite tacky, with most having aging quite badly. But they were almost always enjoyable and over the years I have managed to view and collect quite a few of the previously banned or  forgotten titles, a few of which verge on the obscure.

Being a self confessed fan of directors like Lucio Fulci, Antonino Margheriti, Aldo Lado and Serigo Martino, I thought that I knew a fair amount about the Italian horror genre. When this mammoth tome – from cult film critic Louis Paul – landed on my doorstep, I quickly found I knew only a small percentage of what these interesting genre directors had produced.

This is an absolutely essential reference book for all those cult film fans or even fans of lesser known genre films. Contained within the opening pages are two forewords, the first by Italian filth maestro Jess Franco and second by Antonella Fulci. Both are insightful and a fantastic starting point to launch this comprehensive book from.

After the interesting forewords the book is then split into two large sections, the first covers the leading Italian horror film directors ranging from the well known – Mario Bava, Dario Argento and Michele Soavi – through to the cult film favorites – Ruggero Deodato, Umberto Lenzi, Bruno Mattei and the aforementioned Antonio Margheriti – all of which are given a detailed and comprehensive back catalogue review and short biography.

The second section details the lesser known – at least to British audiences – collection of Italian horror directors ,which themselves range from special effects wizard and Argento collaborator Luigi Cozzi through to sleazy king Aristide Massaccesi aka Joe D’amato.

Each of which comes with a full filmography with each of the films alternative titles and a short biography.

This is certainly the most comprehensive and detailed book I have yet found on Italian horror directors, particularly as it covers the various – and almost – unknown contributors to the euro horror genre. It is insightful reading for all horror film fans and no doubt will become a reference tool to use in the sourcing of rare or hard to find euro horrors.

The only minor gripe I have with the book is that most of the still images are low resolution and in black and white, but as I mentioned this is only a minor issue. It is also worth noting that it does contain a large number of interesting poster art works, each with their original titles. For any fan of trashy cult cinema it will truly set their heart a flutter with some of the classic images; particular standouts being the Spanish poster art for Anthropophagus, the German poster for Stage Fright and the Italian – full page – poster for Mario Bianchi’s Satan’s Baby Doll.

Highly recommended film reference book for cult enthusiasts and one which should stand pride of place on any serious cult film collectors mantelpiece, particularly those collectors who have enjoyed the recent DVD releases from Shameless Entertainment.

Dominic O’Brien

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