Customer Reviews: Immoral Tales: European Sex & Horror Movies, 1956-1984
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on April 5, 1998
There are lots of books on sex films and there are lots of books on horror films. This is the only book I know of that looks at the sex/horror hybrid. I cannot explain why, but on-screen titillation is that little bit more piquant when shown in the context of a horror film. This is a marvellous book, and it contains interesting information about my favourite film of all time, "Vampyros Lesbos". Buy this book and seek out the videos.
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on September 6, 2005
An instant classic, Messers Tohill and Tombs (and with a name like that you've got to go into horror or undertaking) lead the reader into the bizarre realms of European horror and sleaze cinema with verve and style. The movies they describe aren't for everybody, and neither is 'Immoral Tales', but if you enjoy poetically choreographed gore, naked chicks with too much mascara, and sheer oddball exotica, this volume's your unholy bible. The book's as slick, garish, sleazy, playfully pretentious, and exquisitely tasteless as its subject is apt to be (though not nearly as cheap-looking!). It's easy to forget in the age of the DVD how alien and obscure much of this was when 'Immoral Tales' was first published a decade ago, and its authors deserve kudos as authentic pioneers, just as you owe yourself a copy of this book you sick little cine-phile!
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on February 26, 2016
As a rabid fan of (s)exploitation cinema from all corners of the world I found this volume: "Immoral Tales" to be a great read full of information about the twisted films and directors from the Euro-scene (circa 1950's-80's). This was an era when the term 'political correctness' had yet to be invented and the cinematic visions that were realized by certain film-makers in Spain, Italy, Germany and France pushed the limits in the realms of horror and sexuality to new 'heights' (or 'depths' - depending on your perspective & preference!).

The contents of the book, initially, provides a good over-view of the elements that contributed to the rise of transgressive cinema in Europe and then goes into much greater detail about the careers of several of the most prolific and well known of the warped Euro-Directors. Jesse Franco, Jean Rollin, Walerian Borowczyk, Jose Larraz, and Alain Robbe-Grilette all have full chapters devoted to their works - and numerous other lesser Directors are also noted. There is a complete 'filmography' provided for all the major Director's works! The writing style is very reader friendly and the author(s) provide a lot of interesting background information about all of the personages and films covered - biographical data as well as insights into 'why' certain directors made their films the way they did helped to give me context and understanding about many of the films I have viewed (and often wondered WTF!?!). I thot the sections on Jesse Franco and Jean Rollin were particularly informative in this regard. The authors also provide a few of 'their personal picks' for the 'top' films from each Euro-zone and give a full analytic review for those films. I added a few new titles to my DVD collection based on their recommendations!

In addition to the solid writing the book is also loaded with great transgressive photos and promotional artwork from dozens of crazed Euro-sleaze offerings. Nudity abounds and the illos contain a wealth of titillating imagery! The majority of the pictures are printed in B&W (good paper & repro quality!) but there is a small central section of full color images (printed on glossy stock) offering a nice sampling of lurid promo graphics.

I think this book may currently be OOP and the price tag for it is correspondingly often 'elevated' as a result. However, I found it to be 'worth' the price as it really delivered a most satisfying experience on all levels! I'd definitely recommend it to fans of exploitational cinema.
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on November 30, 2001
Living in Europe, I had the extreme pleasure and opportunity to see a lot of Euroflics in cinemas - one experience that drew me to J. Franco was seeing "Freiras Perversas" in a century-old ex-opera house on vacation in Portugal ... in the cellar with some raincoat locals who clearly thought I was mad showing up there. Anyway. This book contains a lot of essential information on some filmmakers, most notably Franco and Rollin, whose work really is explored further than in all other books there are. But... the book tends to concentrate on directors rather than countries which makes sense as a lot of directors worked euro-wide. But then, you can't have everything. I found this book much more attractive than Mondo Macabro.
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on September 14, 2013
Immoral Tales is 272 pages and was originally published in 1995. This book fills a gap in the horror film book market that ignores many international horror films that Americans would love to see. Immoral Tales is well researched with plenty of interviews, critiques, and illustrations. The focus is on European Sex & Horror Movies from 1956-1984. There are plenty of black & white pictures and poster art (a 16-page color insert is also added). There is also an appendix covering miscellaneous actors and directors, an index, and a bibliography. The best part is that the authors are very enthusiastic about horror. Americans will appreciate this insightful critical overview of European sex/horror films though it doesn't function as a movie guide. There are a number of essays dealing with horror themes to to regional styles (Italian, German, French, Spanish) to individual directors (Jesus Franco, Jean Rollin, José Larraz, José Bénazéraf, Walerian Borowczyk, Alain Robbe-Grillet). The focus is mostly on directors as opposed to countries. Everything from economics, censorship, artistic expression and politics is discussed.

Buy this book. It is now out of print but has held its value well and it is worth tracking down a copy.
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on August 11, 2007
Great overview of a genre much looked down upon by many "serious" cinephiles; the trashy, sexy, bloody sex-and-horror Euroflicks of the 1950's through the early 1980's. With the advent of DVD's, many of these classic (yes, I said "classic" and I mean it!) films can now be seen by the genre fan, especially if one happens to own a DVD player that can play Region 2 European-issue discs. The Euroexploitation movies of this period adumbrated the "slasher" flicks of 1970's and 1980's US cinema, and in many cases, IMHO, were better-assembled with sexier actresses and a more uninhibited approach toward the mixture of sex and horror. Lots of fine B&W pictures, but, I have to say, not a lot of color pictures (a 16-page insert). NOT a "safe for work" type of book (but then, neither are the movies reviewed herein!) Not for everyone, but recommended for fans of "trash" cinema, horror, and the beauties of classic Eurofilm.
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on December 4, 2001
A well-researched but light hearted look at the often kitsch always entertaining horror/sexploitation flicks of the period. My husband (...) thoroughly enjoyed Tohill's nostalgic treatment and so did I.
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on August 24, 2014
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on March 31, 2003
I got this about a year ago and I still read it! It goes into some detail about the Horror scene from day one in Europe so to speak which I thought was very cool.. It also talks about the differance in Directors in Europe, which I thought ok but why talk about so of there most terrible movies instead of the great ones?
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on March 9, 2002
Easily one of the most entertaining books I have read on the sex/horror movie subject(although most don't concentrate solely on sex/horror). The problem is that it's so well written that I ripped through it in no time at all. I suppose when you look at it it really isn't such a small book, it just felt like it. You can't really criticize something that makes you want keep reading, but I just wish there was more.
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