As our long time readers know, I absolutely love Italian horror. I was very lucky to discover the greatness of Italian horror when I was a teenager (it was a double feature of Suspiria and Blade In the Dark that did it for me) and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to spend the last few years studying everything that made the Italian horror films of the 80s and early 90s so memorable.
However, I do realize that not everyone has spent the past few years watching the films of Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Lamberto Bava, Michele Soavi, and Joe D’Amato. For those who are just starting to learn about the history of Italian horror cinema, I highly suggest Italian Horror by Jim Harper, a short but highly readable overview of the genre. Covering the years of 1979 through 1994, Italian Horror contains insightful reviews of films both famous (The Beyond, Dellamorte Dellamore) and infamous (Zombi 3 and so many others). Even better, there are reviews of several of the more obscure Italian horror films, the ones that actually take some effort to track down. For instance, I never would have seen Ratman if I hadn’t come across it in Harper’s book. And I know that you’re probably saying, “Would it be that a bad thing if you had never see Ratman?” Listen, Italian horror fans understand.
If you’re trying to start your studies of Italian horror off on the right foot, this is definitely a good book to start with. Read it and prepare to have a hundred new movies to watch afterwards.