From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, Italian exploitation moviemakers produced the most vividly gory horror movies ever made - using the recurring plot devices of Third World cannibalism or putrified 'zombie flesh eaters' returned from the dead. Eaten Alive! comprehensively tells the story of this outrageous period, setting it within its cultural and cinematic context. An illustrated, chronological film-by-film history of Italian cannibal and zombie movies, it includes irreverent but informative contributions from such legendary figures of the horror genre as David J. Schow, 'splatterpunk' author and screenwriter of The Crow, Herschell Gordon Lewis, the godfather of the gore movie. Other contributors including horror novelist Ramsey Campbell, film critic and science fiction author Kim Newman, horror anthologist Stephen Jones, TV cult-movie presenter Mark Kermode and gothic-horror expert Prof. Christopher Frayling all add authoritative material to this unique compendium. A grassroots subculture has built around the ultraviolent Italian movies highlighted in Eaten Alive!
Cannibal Ferox, advertised as 'the most violent film ever made', has recently been released on DVD by American distributor Sage Stallone, son of Sylvester; in the late 1990s, Quentin Tarantino's distribution company, Rolling Thunder, gave a theatrical release to the surreal zombie pic The Beyond; recent graphic novel adaptations of spaghetti gore films include The Beyond and Zombie, emphasising their cult status among young fans. Contributors to the book also include several legends of modern American horror: apart from Schow and H. G. Lewis, there is Brian Yuzna (director of cult US zombie movie Re-Animator), Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and Jim Van Bebber (director of ultraviolent cult movies Deadbeat at Dawn and Charlie's Family).