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I am a huge admirer of European—specifically Italian—horror films. I love them for their decadence, for their wide-eyed, saturated melodrama, exaggerated violence and glorious music and sound design. And when I say “huge admirer,” what I’m really trying to articulate in a more respectable and somber manner is that I f**king worship Eurohorror so much that a great deal of my outlook on life is creatively informed by them. Pay attention to current and upcoming features in FANGORIA, and you’ll see me always carving out space for some of the greatest works and filmmakers behind them. Self-indulgent? You bet, but I know I’m not alone in my passions…
Anyway, one of the many endearing men who moved and shook the Italian horror scene in the ’70s and ’80s was a charming gentleman by the name of Luigi Cozzi—he of ALIEN CONTAMINATION, STARCRASH, THE BLACK CAT and many, many more. Cozzi is semi-retired from the business now and spends his days running the Rome-based horror culture shop Profondo Rosso with his partner, the iconic filmmaker Dario Argento (the store is named after Argento’s 1975 masterpiece a.k.a. DEEP RED). I recently tracked him down for a chat (as you’ll see in an upcoming issue of your favorite horror mag…yes, of course I mean Fango), and it went incredibly well. So well that Luigi sent me a bunch of reference books that he himself wrote, published through his and Argento’s Profondo Rosso literary imprint.
Many of you are no doubt unaware of these books. Most of them are in Italian, but the ones sent to me were in English. I just had to share. Because if you—like me—get heart palpitations at this sort of stuff, you’re absolutely going to want to investigate these tomes.
Here, then, is a quickie look at the four titles Cozzi fired off to me:
When it comes to books about Argento, I’ve read my share. Fango scribes Alan Jones and Maitland McDonagh have both written mammoth works on the maestro, and I myself have been spilling analytical words on his work for two decades. But this tight, tough little pocket book manages to get right to the heart of every Argento picture up to MOTHER OF TEARS. It’s both a primer for newbies and an effortlessly sharp set of observations by someone who not only knows Dario like a brother, but actually worked on many of the pictures listed. Some great photos and a look at even films bearing a tenuous connection to Argento round out this winner, a must-own for any serious Argento-phile.
ITALIAN HORROR MOVIES
Another winner that you can fit in your purse (if you have one; if not, get one and put this in there) but this one covers the whole sanguinary spaghetti shebang. From Bava to Freda to Argento to Martino to Fulci to Cozzi’s own work, it’s all here: the history, the gore, the business and the fantasy. Cozzi co-pens with Antonio Tentori, and the results are indispensable.
MARIO BAVA: MASTER OF HORROR
My God…really…what a fantastic book. Before there was Argento there was the founding father of it all, visionary and unpretentious maverick Mario Bava. Like GIALLO ARGENTO, this tiny but massive paperback jams so much energy, information and affection into its 200 pages that you come out of it an authority. Even better, you come out of it feeling as if you knew Mario. Cozzi did, and his warmth and admiration for the man drip from the pages like the ultra-red stuff Bava took grand pleasure in spilling on screen.
FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET
Aforementioned author McDonagh makes an appearance here, contributing one of several essays about this, Argento’s so-called “lost” giallo that Cozzi himself co-wrote. Every inch of the picture’s genesis and production is explored in depth, first-hand in an intelligent, straightforward, frill-free read. In fact, the rocky making-of tale would make a fantastic film in itself…
Now, unless you can exploit your resources like I can on occasion, Mr. Cozzi shan’t be sending these incredible reads for nothing. But they won’t break you bank, and if you ask nicely, Cozzi will sign ‘em for ya.
Visit www.profondorossostore.com to see all the other online goods up for grabs and email them directly at
Alternately, Italian horror loving madmen Mike Baronas distributes select books from his own site http://www.pauraprod.com/webshopCozzi.htm
However you order them, just do it. Do it now. Thank me later.
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