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Italian Horror Cinema

Edited by Stefano Baschiera, Russ Hunter

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The first book-length academic investigation of Italian horror cinema, from the silent era to the present

In its heyday from the late 1950s until the early 1980s Italian horror cinema was characterised by an excess of gore, violence and often incoherent plot-lines. Films about zombies, cannibals and psychopathic killers ensured there was no shortage of controversy, and the genre presents a seemingly unpromising nexus of films for sustained critical analysis. But Italian horror cinema with all its variations, subgenres and filoni remains one of the most recognisable and iconic genre productions in Europe, achieving cult status worldwide. One of the manifestations of a rich production landscape in Italian popular cinema after the Second World War, Italian horror was also characterised by its imitation of foreign models and the transnational dimension of its production agreements, as well as by its international locations and stars.

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Chapter 1: Preferisco l’inferno: Early Italian horror cinema, Russ Hunter
Chapter 2: Domestic Films Made for Export: Modes of Production of the 1960s Italian Horror Film, Francesco Di Chiara
Chapter 3: The 1980s Italian horror cinema of imitation: the good, the ugly and the sequel, Stefano Baschiera
Chapter 4: Knowing the unknown beyond: ‘Italianate’ and ‘Italian’ horror cinema in the twenty-first century, Johnny Walker
Chapter 5: Bavaesque: The Making of Mario Bava as Italian horror auteur, Peter Hutchings
Chapter 6: The Argento Syndrome: Aesthetics of Horror, Marcia Landy
Chapter 7: Scrap Metal, Stains, Clogged Drains: Argento’s Refuse and Its Refusals, Karl Schoonover
Chapter 8: The Giallo/Slasher Landscape: Ecologia del delitto, Friday the 13th, and Subtractive Spectatorship, Adam Lowenstein
Chapter 9: Kings of Terror, Geniuses of Crime: giallo cinema and fumetti neri, Leon Hunt
Chapter 10: Political Memory in the Italian Hinterland: Locating the ‘Rural Giallo’, Austin Fisher
Chapter 11: The Horror of Progressive Rock: Goblin and Horror Soundtracks, Craig Hatch
Chapter 12: ‘The Only Monsters Here Are the Filmmakers’: Animal Cruelty and Death in Italian Cannibal Films, Mark Bernard
Chapter 13: Italian Horror cinema and Italian Film Journals of the 1970s, Paolo Noto

About the Author

Stefano Baschiera is Lecturer in Film Studies at Queen’s University Belfast. His work on European cinema and film industries has been published in a variety of edited collections and journals including Film International, Bianco e Nero, Italian Studies, New Review of Film and Television Studies.

Russ Hunter is a Senior Lecturer in Film & Television at the University of Northumbria. His research is focused upon Italian genre cinema, critical reception, and European horror cinema.


'Ready-made reading for the genre’s most fervent enthusiasts.’

- Rod Lott,

‘Some important rarely tackled topics finally get their much deserved academics treatment, such as the influences between Italian giallo and the American slasher, commonly taken for granted among fans and critics but rarely investigated in greater detail. Also helpful are essays on rural giallo, the neglected poor cousin of the more prominent urban type, and on animal cruelty in cannibal flicks, with its moral quandaries and aesthetic justifications.’

- Dejan Ognjanovic, Rue Morgue
'Under the elegant stewardship of Stefano Baschiera and Russ Hunter, the analysis and discussion of the genre here demonstrates both info-heavy enthusiasm and intelligence from the various contributors...the study is bang up to date in its examination of recent developments in the field, such as the gruesome Necrostorm product. For anyone interested in the genre, it's essential reading.'
- Barry Forshaw , Crime Time and DVD Choice

'This book is highly valuable for the scholars of Italian horror, and to horror scholars in general scholars seeking to expand their horizons. There are many original and well-structured arguments that certainly achieve the stated aim of being “part of an ongoing dialogue”. Especially considering that ongoing dialogue is still rather limited, this book is an essential read.'

- Cale Hellyer, The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

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