Book Review: Spaghetti Nightmares, edited by Luca M. Palmerini and Gaetano Mistretta

Do you love Italian horror?

If you answered yes, Spaghetti Nightmares is a book that you simply must own.  Actually, you probably already do own it.  You’re probably looking at it sitting on your book shelf right now.  And you’re thinking, “Gee, thanks Lisa.  Maybe next you’ll tell me that giallo is named after the cheap yellow paper that thriller novels were published on in Italy and then you’ll really blow my mind!”

Okay, well fine.  Make me feel bad.  That’s okay.  I hope you’re proud of yourself.  It’s a pretty good thing that we both love Italian horror because, if we didn’t, I’d probably never speak to you again….

Anyway, just in case you don’t own this book, you really should.  First published in 1996, Spaghetti Nightmares is a collection of interviews with some of the top figures in Italian horror.  Michele Soavi, Dario Argento, Ruggero Deodato, David Warbeck, Umberto Lenzi, Lamberto Bava, Luigi Cozzi. Antonio Margheriti, and many more answer questions about their careers, their artistic visions, and their feelings about the future and the past of the Italian film industry.  What makes this volume special is that it was written at a time when Italian horror was just starting to be appreciated.  So, the questions and the answers are a bit more honest than they probably would be now that everyone is a confirmed Italian horror fan.

This book also features what I believe was Lucio Fulci’s final interview before he passed away.  He describes himself as being Italian cinema’s “last zombie” and displays a strong knowledge of cinematic history.  Unlike some of the directors interviewed, who come across as being competent (if charming) craftsmen, Fulci comes across as being a true artist.  The interview with Michele Soavi is also poignant as he would soon abandon filmmaking to take care of his son.  (Fortunately, he has since returned.)

So, if you don’t own this book, get it!

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