Book Review: Eaten Alive, edited by Jay Slater


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!

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Tobe Hooper Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

This October, I am going to be using our 4 Shots From 4 Films feature to pay tribute to some of my favorite horror directors, in alphabetical order!  That’s right, we’re going from Argento to Zombie in one month!

Today’s director: the master of Texas horror!

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, dir by Tobe Hooper)

Eaten Alive (1977, dir by Tobe Hooper)

The Funhouse (1981, dir by Tobe Hooper)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (dir by Tobe Hooper)

2014 In Review: 20 Good Things That Lisa Saw On TV In 2014


So, I’m sitting here and I’m trying to make out my annual list of good things that I saw on TV over the previous year and I’ve just realized something.

I did not watch as much TV as usual last year.

It wasn’t a conscious decision on my part.  Up until this very moment, I was actually thinking that I watched too much TV last year.  But, honestly, 2014 was a busy year for me.  Between work and dance and family and romance and writing and seeing movies and shopping and being sick and getting well and the manic states and the depressive states, I just didn’t have as much time as usual to devote to television.

In fact, the only shows that I always made it a point to watch were two reality shows and that was mostly because I write about them over at the Big Brother Blog and the Survivor Blog.

That takes me by surprise because I love television.  I’ve never made any secret of that fact and I’ve never felt guilty about it.  When I’m writing, I find it helps to have the TV on in the background.  As well, knowing that a certain show is always going to be on at a certain time tends to help me deal with my Obsessive Compulsive tendencies.  I’ve always felt that, in a perfect world, I would have my own TV network.  It would be called the Lisa Marie Network (LMN) and I would be in charge of programming every single minute.

But, for whatever reason, in 2014, I didn’t watch as much as usual.  So, don’t consider the list below to be a comprehensive list of everything that was good on television last year.  Instead, consider it to just be 20 good things that I was lucky enough to see.

So, here’s the list!

1) Too Many Cooks on Adult Swim

You knew that I’d have to start out with this one, especially considering that I still find myself randomly singing the theme song.  “When it comes to the future, you can never have too many cooks!”

2) Figure Skating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

I actually enjoyed watching most of the 2014 Winter Olympics.  (Except, of course, when Bob Costas was there with his fucked up eye.)  But what I especially loved was watching the figure skating.  How couldn’t you love the chemistry between Charlie White and Meryl Davis or the amazing grace of Yulia Lipnitskaya or Ashley Wagner’s refusal to hide her disgust with the judges?

Figure Skating - Winter Olympics Day 1

3) Veep

Without a doubt, the funniest show on television.  Anyone who idolizes a politician should be forced to watch it.

4) Community ended its network run on a decent note

After a rough fourth season, Community made a comeback of sort during the fifth season.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep NBC from canceling the show but still, it was good to see a few more decent episodes of Community before the show moved over to Yahoo.

5) True Detective

True Detective has been praised so much that I really don’t have much more to say about it, beyond the fact that I found it to be endlessly fascinating.

6) Sharknado 2!

So, I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan of the first Sharknado.  (I was even less of a fan of the way the media seemed to believe that Mia Farrow was the first person to ever live tweet a movie, especially considering how lame most of Mia’s Sharknado tweets were.)  But I loved Sharknado 2!  Sharknado 2 was everything that the first Sharknado was supposed to be and more!

IZ in Sharknado 2

7) The Old People TV Networks

This is the year that I really made an effort to explore all of the channels that I have available to me.  What I discovered is that there are a lot of stations that are apparently dedicated to exclusively showing shows that were made long before I was even born!  For a history nerd like me, coming across these networks is a bit like accidentally digging up a time capsule.  Add to that, I’ve discovered that old TV shows make for perfect background noise.  I call these networks the Old People TV networks but I do so with affection.

8) Seeing my friend and fellow movie blogging Irish gal Kellee Pratt in the audience whenever TCM rebroadcasts that interview with Maureen O’Hara.

9) Opposite Worlds on SyFy

Opposite Worlds was a reality show that was broadcast on the SyFy Network.  Contestants were divided into two tribes.  One tribe lived in the luxurious future, complete with a fully automated house.  The other tribe lived in the past, which basically meant wearing furs and staying in a cave.  The two tribes competed every week.  Many contestants were seriously injured.  I was hoping that Samm would win, mostly because I share her struggle.  But I was okay with Frank eventually winning.  He turned out to be a nice guy.

(By the way, SyFy, I’m still waiting for a second season…)

10) Bates Motel

Bates Motel got better and better during its second season.  I still think Olivia Cooke needs a spin-off where she solves crimes.

bates-motel-season-2-freddie-highmore-600x412

11) True Blood ended before it totally went the way of Dexter.

To be honest, True Blood was definitely showing signs of its age.  I wasn’t really happy with the final season but I was relieved to see that it still ended on a better note than Dexter did.

12) Flowers in the Attic

2014 got off to a great start with Flowers in the Attic, one of the best movies to ever show up on Lifetime.

13) Lizzie Borden Took An Axe

In fact, the only that kept Flowers in the Attic from being the best Lifetime movie was the fact that Lizzie Borden premiered a week later.

Lizzie

14) The Way The Saved By The Bell and Aaliyah Movies Brought Us Together As A Nation

For two nights, our often troubled country was united by the power of mass snarkiness.

15) Coverage Of The Fact That Paul Rosalie Was Not Eaten Alive

There was something greatly satisfying about how, after spending weeks promising that he would be, Paul Rosalie failed to be eaten alive by an anaconda.  I think one reason I especially enjoyed this fact that I didn’t actually watch the special.  I thought the whole thing sounded stupid and crass.  That made the subsequent ridicule all the more satisfying.

16) Key and Peele

Without a doubt, the funniest sketch comedy program on TV today.

17) Talking Dead

To be honest, the only reason I watch The Walking Dead is so I’ll be able to understand what they’re talking about on The Talking Dead.

18) Daft Punk At The Grammys

It was great to see the Robots enjoying themselves.

Pharrell Williams, Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers

19) Weather On The Local News

“Folks, we’ve got a storm system approaching but don’t worry.  Channel 4 will keep your 4warned…”  Some things never change.  I’ve reached the point where I can find the humor in watching our local meteorologists panic every time that it starts to rain.  This past year, whenever I was stuck inside while a light drizzle fell outside, I knew that Pete Delkus, Larry Mowery, and David Finfrock would be there to amuse me with their dire warnings of a weather apocalypse.

"A storm's coming!"

“A storm’s coming!”

20) Degrassi!

Degrassi endures.  And we’re all the better for it.

Degrassi_Season_13_title_card

On one final note: GetGlue, R.I.P.  For five years, I enjoyed checking into tvs, movies, books, and emotions on GetGlue.  Sadly, GetGlue (or TV Tag as it came to be known) went offline on January 1st.  Goodbye, GetGlue.  It was fun while it lasted and I’ll always remember that week when me and that guy from Indonesia were violently fighting over who would get to be the guru of pepper spray. (GGers will understand.)

Tomorrow, my look back at 2014 continues with my ten favorite novels of the year!

Previous Entries In The TSL’s Look Back At 2014:

  1. Things Senor Geekus Dug In 2014 Off The Top Of His Head
  2. 2014 In Review: The Best of Lifetime and SyFy
  3. 2014 In Review: Lisa’s Picks For the 16 Worst Films of 2014
  4. 2014 In Review: 14 of Lisa’s Favorite Songs of 2014
  5. 2014 in Review: Necromoonyeti’s Top 10 Metal Albums of 2014

Your Love Consists Of 6 Trailers In A Blood-Stained Bamboo Cage


Hi there!  Welcome to the first edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Trailers for 2011.  All 6 of our trailers in this edition are Italian.  And, as always, most of them should be watched with caution and definitely not watched at work.   (Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if Youtube yanked one or two of them offline within a week or so.  So, watch while you can.)

1) Eaten Alive

This is actually one of Umberto Lenzi’s not that terrible movies.  Which doesn’t mean it’s good.  Just means that it’s not that terrible.  This is the movie in which Lenzi manages to turn the Jonestown Massacre into a cannibal film.  Ivan Rassimov, who looks like a Russian Charlton Heston, plays Jim Jones.  Also, you might recognize the music because it ended up being used in about a 100 different Italian exploitation trailers.

2) Andy Warhol’s Frankenstien

One of the most misleading titles of all time as Warhol had very little to do with this film beyond lending Paul Morrissey and Joe Dallesandro.  This is better known as Flesh For Frankenstien.  The trailer really doesn’t do justice to the movie but I had to include it because, even if it’s not my favorite trailer, it’s a classic exploitation trailer in just the shameless way that Andy Warhol’s name is used to sell the film.

3) Zombi 4

Believe it or not, this movie is actually a lot of fun.  One of the stars is apparently a gay porn star but I’ve never been able to figure out who he’s playing in the film.

4) Planet of the Vampires

Believe it or not, this is one of Mario Bava’s best.

5) Emanuelle Around The World

There’s no way I could do a series like this and not include at least one trailer from Joe D’Amato’s Emanuelle films.

6) Murderock

I had to finish out this all-Italian edition with a little Lucio Fulci.  And I had to go with Murderock because it features a lot of dancing.  The trailer is also memorable for revealing the identity of the killer. 

My Top Ten Books About The Movies


I love movies and I love books so I guess it would stand to reason that I love books about movies the most of all.  (I also love movies about books but there are far fewer of those, unfortunately.)  Below are my personal favorites.  I’m not necessarily saying that these are the ten greatest film books ever written.  I’m just saying that they’re the ones that I’m always happy to know are waiting for me at home.

10) Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture by Theodore Gershuny — This is one of the great finds of mine my life.  I found this in a used bookstore and I bought it mostly because it only cost a dollar. Only later did I discover that I had found one of the greatest nonfiction books about the shooting of a movie ever written!  Gershuny was present during the filming of a movie called Rosebud in the early 70s.   I’ve never seen Rosebud but, as Gershuny admits, it was a critical disaster that managed to lose a ton of money.  The book provides a fascinating wealth of backstage gossip as well as memorable portraits of director Otto Preminger and actors Robert Mitchum (who was originally cast in the lead role), Peter O’Toole (who took over after Mitchum walked off the set), and Isabelle Huppert.   If nothing else, this book should be read for the scene where O’Toole beats up critic Kenneth Tynan.

9) Suspects by David Thomson — A study of American cinema noir   disguised as a novel, Suspects imagines what would happen if George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life fell in love with Laura from the movie of the same name.  Well, apparently it would lead to Sunset Boulevard’s Norma Desmond having an affair with Chinatown’s Noah Cross and to one of George’s sons, sensitive little Travis, getting a job in New York City as a Taxi Driver.  And that’s just a small sampling of what happens in this glorious mindfuck of a novel.

8 ) Profondo Argento by Alan Jones — Long-time fan Alan Jones examines each of Dario Argento’s films (even Argento’s obscure historical comedy The Five Days of Milan) and proceeds to celebrate and (in many cases) defend Argento’s career.  Jones also interviews and profiles several of Argento’s most frequent collaborators — Daria Nicolodi, Asia and Fiore Argento, Simon Boswell, Claudio Simonetti, Keith Emerson, George Romero, Lamberto Bava, Michele Soavi, and many others.  Jones’ sympathetic yet humorous profile of Luigi Cozzi is priceless.

7)  Spaghetti Nightmares by Luca Palmerini — Spaghetti Nightmares is a collection of interviews conducted with such Italian filmmakers as Dario Argento, Ruggero Deodato, Umberto Lenzi, Lucio Fulci, and others.  Among the non-Italians interviewed are Tom Savini (who, as always, comes across as appealingly  unhinged) and David Warbeck.  (Sadly, both Warbeck and Fulci would die shortly after being interviewed.)  What makes this interesting is that, for once, Argento, Fulci, et al. are actually being interviewed by a fellow countryman as opposed to an American accompanied by a translator.  As such, the subsequent interviews turn out to be some of the most revealing on record.

6) Sleazoid Express by Bill Landis and Michelle Clifford — Landis and Clifford’s book is both a history and a defense of the old grindhouse theaters of New York City.  Along with describing, in loving and memorable detail, some of New York’s most infamous grindhouses, they also write about some of the more popular movies to play at each theater.  Along the way, they also offer up revealing profiles of such legendary figures as David Hess and Mike and Roberta Findley.  Reading this book truly made me mourn the fact that if I ever did find myself in New York City, I won’t be able to hit the old grindhouse circuit.

5) Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci by Stephen Thrower — Fulci has always been a terribly underrated director and, indeed, it’s easy to understand because, in many ways, he made movies with the specific aim of alienating and outraging his audience.  It requires a brave soul to take Fulci on his own terms and fortunately, Stephen Thrower appears to be one.  Along with the expected chapters on Fulci’s Beyond Trilogy and on Zombi 2, Thrower also devotes a lot of space to Fulci’s lesser known works.  Did you know, for instance, that before he became the godfather of gore, Fulci specialized in making comedies?  Or that he also directed two very popular adaptations of White Fang?  Thrower also examines Fulci’s often forgotten westerns as well as his postapocalyptic sci-fi films.  And, best of all, Thrower offers up a defense of the infamous New York Ripper that, when I read it, actually forced me to consider that oft-maligned film in a new light.  That said, Thrower does admit to being as confused by Manhattan Baby as everyone else.

4) Immoral Tales by Cathal Tohill and Pete Toombs — Tohill and Toombs offer an overview of European “shock” cinema and some of the genre’s better known masters.  The book contains perhaps the best critical examination of the work of Jean Rollin ever written.  The authors also examine the work of Jesus Franco and several others.  This is a great book that reminds us that the Italians aren’t the only ones who can make a great exploitation film.

3) Eaten Alive by Jay Slater — This book offers an overview of the Italian film industry’s legendary cannibal and zombie boom.  Along with reviewing every Italian movie to feature even the slightest hint of cannibalism or the living dead (this is one of the few books on Italian cinema that discusses both Pasolini and Lucio Fulci as equals), Eaten Alive also features some very revealing interviews with such iconic figures as Catriona MacColl, Ian McCullough, and especially Giovanni Lombardo Radice.  Radice, in fact, also contributes a memorable “guest” review of one of the movies featured in the book.  (“What a piece of shit!” the review begins.)  Memorable reviews are also contributed by Troma film founder Lloyd Kaufman who brilliantly (and correctly) argues that Cannibal Holocaust is one of the greatest films ever made and Ramsey Campbell who hilariously destroys Umberto Lenzi’s infamous Nightmare City.

2) The Book of the Dead by Jamie Russell — If, like all good people, you love zombies then you simply must do whatever it takes to own a copy of this book.  Starting with such early masterpieces as White Zombie and I Walked With A Zombie, Russell proceeds to cover every subsequent zombie film up through George Romero’s Land of the Dead.  Russell offers up some of the best commentaries ever written on Romero’s Dead films, Fuci’s Beyond Trilogy, Rollin’s Living Dead Girl, and Spain’s Blind Dead films.   The pièce de résistance, however, is an appendix where Russell describes and reviews literally ever zombie film ever made.

1)  All The Colors Of the Dark by Tim Lucas  — This is it.  This is the Holy Grail of All Film Books.  If you’ve ever asked yourself if any book is worth paying close to 300 dollars, now you have your answer.  This one is.  Tim Lucas offers up the most complete biography of director Mario Bava ever written.  In fact, this may be the most complete biography of any director ever written!  Lucas examines not only Bava’s life but also every single movie that Bava was ever in any way connected to, whether as a director or as a cameraman or as the guy in charge of the special effects.  This is 1,128 pages all devoted to nothing but the movies.  This is the type of book that makes me thankful to be alive and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Tim Lucas for writing it.