Book Review: Eaten Alive! Italian Cannibal and Zombie Movies – Author Jay Slater

Eaten Alive! Italian Cannibal and Zombie Movies
Edited/Co-written by Jay Slater
Published by Plexus Books, 2006
255 pages
US 19.95, UK 14.99

Think you know everything there is to know about the Italian zombie and Cannibal movies that made up such a fascinating chunk of horror history? Think again! This edition of this excellent book was originally released in 2006, and while the mentions of the modern era are a little dated now, the wealth of material and opinion on films both iconic and obscure is compelling and utterly engrossing. This an essential book for any fan of the zombie and cannibal movies that were the staple diet of so many of today’s best creators.

Editor Jay Slater has amassed a great range of material from a mixture of both journalists and movie-makers, including Brian Yuzna, Kim Newman, David J. Schow, Lloyd Kaufman and many more names that will be familiar to the hardcore horror fan.

The analysis of each movie is offered in a straightforward and welcoming fashion rather than a scholarly tone that would turn some readers off. It’s wonderful to enjoy the enthusiasm and respect that each writer has for the subject matter they’re covering, and while the films themselves may not be that brilliant, it’s fascinating to look into their construction and their most infamous scenes. All of the classics from Fulci, Deodato, Romero and more are present and correct, alongside the lesser-known entries and some that many people won’t even have heard of.

There’s a certain glee to the descriptions of ultraviolence and gore in the movies the book covers, so it’s not really for the mainstream reader (although you can probably tell that from the title, cover and the subject matter!). The book is blessed with a huge amount of visual treats, packed as it is with rare art, poster images, covers and stills.

There is also a succulent colour section featuring reproductions of posters for some of the definitive films of the genre and the time. Something I found of particular interest was the Of course, you may well disagree with a few of the reviews, but you can’t argue with the detail and the research that has gone into this book. Far from being a bore, Eaten Alive! Offers something substantial for the real fan of the Italian masters in all of their badly-dubbed, oddly-edited glory.

The book closes with some fascinating notes on the films covered, along with a comprehensive filmography, making it an indispensible guide to one of horror’s true cult subgenres.

Horror is an odd, demented genre, the history and origins of which elude many fans, but this is a wonderful look at one of the most revered aspects of the genre, including some of the most notorious films that have ever been made. It’s a pretty comprehensive look at one of the most bizarre times in the evolution of the horror film, and an entertaining and informative trip through some much loved gems of the genre as well as some true stinkers. Well, that’s corpses for you.

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About Andrew Hawnt

As well as Horrornews.net, Andrew writes for the UK's POWERPLAY ROCK AND METAL MAGAZINE and film geek site WEEKLY GEEK SPEAK. He is the author of books such as VHS ATE MY BRAIN, BAGGED AND BOARDED: LIFE ON PLANET GEEK, the novel A STOLEN FATE and several others. Andrew lives in Nottingham, UK. You can find him on Twitter as @andrewhawnt

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