Immoral Tales: European Sex & Horror Movies, 1956-1984

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9780312135195: Immoral Tales: European Sex & Horror Movies, 1956-1984

European cinema has always excelled when it comes to "bad" movies. When continental moviemakers combined horror with sex, they unleashed a tidal wave of celluloid strangeness that lasted nearly thirty years. From sexy thrillers to pulp surrealism, from decadent erotica to blood-soaked vampire epics, nothing could go too far. Immoral Tales tells the fascinating story of this unique period, peeking into the kaleidoscope of visceral horror, maverick directors, and erotic invention.

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Review:

"I urge you: learn how to look at 'bad' films, they are so often sublime." This remark by Ado Kyrou heads up the introduction to Immoral Tales, from which horror and exploitation film fans, especially Americans, can learn much indeed. Not so much a movie guide as an insightful critical overview of European sex/horror films (there is much overlap between the two genres), this book is elegantly organized into a sequence of essays proceeding from general themes (the history of horrific art, the surgical metaphor), to regional styles (Italian, German, French, Spanish), to individual directors (Jesus Franco, Jean Rollin, José Larraz, José Bénazéraf, Walerian Borowczyk, Alain Robbe-Grillet). The writing is intelligent, engaging, and packed with fascinating historical and technical details. The book includes plenty of photos and poster art (including many in color), a useful appendix covering miscellaneous actors and directors, an index, and a bibliography. Immoral Tales was a finalist for the 1995 Bram Stoker Award in Nonfiction.

From Library Journal:

Sex and violence have been staples of the film industry since the beginning. Invoking this tradition, Tohill and Tombs do an admirable job of defining that particular genre of film that occupies a realm somewhere between pornography and horror and is inhabited by European independent filmmakers and mavericks. The usual topics are broached: economics, censorship, and the validity of artistic expression. Throughout, the authors employ a jaunty, informal tone, and their enthusiasm for the subject is apparent. That these films have literary antecedents ranging from Romanticism to comic strips justifies them as valuable pop culture products. Whether or not you buy into the authors' premise that, because these films eschew realism for the fantastic, they are somehow less exploitative or misogynistic than the hardcore stuff is another issue. Well researched and replete with interviews, critiques, and illustrations, this book is recommended for strong film collections.?Jayne Plymale-Jackson, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Tohill, Cathal; Tombs, Pete
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Tohill, Cathal, Tombs, Pete
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Cathal Tohill, Pete Tombs
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