Having just delivered Italian Cinema to the publisher Kamera for 2017, I was particularly interested to see how this intriguing new volume treated an area which I focused on in one section of my book – the Italian ‘giallo’ or glossy murder mystery — which often shaded over into the horror film — Dario Argento’s Deep Red and Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace are the two quintessential examples of the genre. And under the elegant stewardship of Stefanio Baschiera and Russ Hunter, the analysis and discussion of the genre here demonstrates both info-heavy enthusiasm and intelligence from the various contributors. But the book is by no means simply a re-examination of a field which is becoming ever more critically scrutinised; the socio-political aspects of Italian horror and crime cinema are newly anatomised here, along with the cinematic trends that they chanelled.
Italian Horror Cinema is affectionately and wryly frank about Italian cinema’s magpie tendencies. But those cheeky borrowings from other national cinema trends – a recurrent theme here – is (it’s noted) always reinvented and re-energised in the very idiosyncratic Italian model. What’s more, unlike most similar volumes (except, of course, my own!), 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 – and even the degree of repetition among the various contributors is a minor caveat.
Italian Horror Cinema Stefanio Baschiera & Russ Hunter, editors, Edinburgh University Press 9781474419680