If you were to ask me to recommend one book to someone who is looking for an introduction to the world of Italian horror, Eaten Alive is the book that I would recommend.
That’s largely because this book was my introduction. Way back in 2006, I came across a copy at Recycled Books in Denton, Texas and I bought it. I bought it because, at the time, I was already into horror movies. However, after reading the reviews and the essays in this book, I discovered that I wanted to learn much more about Italian horror. Outside of Suspiria and a few giallos like Blade in The Dark, the first Italian horror movies that I specifically tracked down and watched were the movies that I read about in this book. If not for Eaten Alive, I would never have seen the wonderfully macabre and disturbing Beyond the Darkness. This was book was also my first real exposure to Lucio Fulci. If not for this book, I never would have seen Zombi 2. I never would have discovered the Beyond trilogy.
In fact, considering that Arleigh and I first bonded over Italian horror, it’s doubtful that I would be writing for this site if I had not made that decision to buy Eaten Alive.
As for the book itself, it’s a comprehensive overview of Italian cannibal and zombie cinema. Along with containing information about every Italian cannibal and zombie film released in the 20th Century, it also features interviews with stars like Ian McCullough, Catriona MacColl, and GIovanni Lombardo Radice. (Radice even reviews one of the films himself.) The majority of the films are reviewed by Jay Slater but there are also contributions from writers like Ramsey Campbell and Lloyd Kaufman. (In fact, Kaufman writes a rather stirring defense of one of the more controversial films to be found in Eaten Alive, Cannibal Holocaust. Campbell, meanwhile, thoroughly destroys Nights of Terror.)
Seriously, if you’re interested in learning more about Italian horror or if you’re already a fan, this book is a must!