100 books like Italian Giallo in Film and Television

By Roberto Curti,

Here are 100 books that Italian Giallo in Film and Television fans have personally recommended if you like Italian Giallo in Film and Television. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Vampire Cinema

Leon Hunt Author Of Mario Bava: The Artisan as Italian Horror Auteur

From my list on European horror films.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Senior Lecturer in Film and Television with a particular passion for the horror genre – the first film books I ever read were about Horror. I'm also a confirmed Italophile. I became fascinated by Mario Bava – and later, Italian horror more broadly – before I saw his films from accounts and images of them in books and magazines. The films weren’t easy to see before video, DVD/blu-ray or streaming, and so I was on a mission over time to track them all down. This is how cult reputations often develop – from obscurity to re-evaluation – and that was one of the things I wanted to address in my book. 

Leon's book list on European horror films

Leon Hunt Why did Leon love this book?

This is one of the first books to introduce me to Horror films beyond Britain and the US – it might even have been where I first heard Mario Bava’s name alongside directors like Jess Franco and Jean Rollin.

It obviously looks at vampire films more broadly but introduced me to a body of films I wanted to know more about. It’s also a beautifully illustrated and intelligent book, essential reading for anyone interested in vampires. 

By David Pirie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Vampire Cinema as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Horror

Leon Hunt Author Of Mario Bava: The Artisan as Italian Horror Auteur

From my list on European horror films.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Senior Lecturer in Film and Television with a particular passion for the horror genre – the first film books I ever read were about Horror. I'm also a confirmed Italophile. I became fascinated by Mario Bava – and later, Italian horror more broadly – before I saw his films from accounts and images of them in books and magazines. The films weren’t easy to see before video, DVD/blu-ray or streaming, and so I was on a mission over time to track them all down. This is how cult reputations often develop – from obscurity to re-evaluation – and that was one of the things I wanted to address in my book. 

Leon's book list on European horror films

Leon Hunt Why did Leon love this book?

This is possibly the film book I flick through more than any other, usually to check a review. 

Again, it covers the Horror genre broadly (year by year) but introduced me to a lot more European entries that I had never heard of, as well as horror films from Japan and other countries. I disagree with many of the critical opinions in the book but that doesn’t make them any less interesting.  

By Phil Hardy (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Horror as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the best single volume book on the horror film, the definitive reference work devoted to the subject. It contains entries on every movie even remotely connected to the genre, whether it is a 19-century silent, a grade "Z" schlocker, or an "art" film by the likes of Fritz Lang or Ingmar Bergman. Each entry contains a full list of credits and a descriptive review. Hardy writes about horror movies with such enthusiasm and intelligence that you feel you're getting the low down on the genre from a sincere and learned friend.


Book cover of Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema

Leon Hunt Author Of Mario Bava: The Artisan as Italian Horror Auteur

From my list on European horror films.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Senior Lecturer in Film and Television with a particular passion for the horror genre – the first film books I ever read were about Horror. I'm also a confirmed Italophile. I became fascinated by Mario Bava – and later, Italian horror more broadly – before I saw his films from accounts and images of them in books and magazines. The films weren’t easy to see before video, DVD/blu-ray or streaming, and so I was on a mission over time to track them all down. This is how cult reputations often develop – from obscurity to re-evaluation – and that was one of the things I wanted to address in my book. 

Leon's book list on European horror films

Leon Hunt Why did Leon love this book?

An engagingly written, erudite, and intelligent critical history of horror films made in Europe from silent cinema to the modern day.

Rigby is one of the best scholars of the horror genre and gives closer critical attention to some of the classics produced in Italy, France, Spain, and Germany. You may not agree with all of his critical opinions, but his expertise is never in doubt. 

By Jonathan Rigby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Euro Gothic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Euro Gothic is the most extensive survey of Continental horror cinema ever published. From the Expressionist reveries of the Weimar Republic to the transgressive nightmares smuggled past the Franco regime, via surrealist Gallic fever-dreams and psychedelic shockers from Cinecitta, Jonathan Rigby applies his incisive scrutiny to the most important European horror films, ranging from the early years of the 20th century to the video revolution of the 1980s.


Book cover of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark

Leon Hunt Author Of Mario Bava: The Artisan as Italian Horror Auteur

From my list on European horror films.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Senior Lecturer in Film and Television with a particular passion for the horror genre – the first film books I ever read were about Horror. I'm also a confirmed Italophile. I became fascinated by Mario Bava – and later, Italian horror more broadly – before I saw his films from accounts and images of them in books and magazines. The films weren’t easy to see before video, DVD/blu-ray or streaming, and so I was on a mission over time to track them all down. This is how cult reputations often develop – from obscurity to re-evaluation – and that was one of the things I wanted to address in my book. 

Leon's book list on European horror films

Leon Hunt Why did Leon love this book?

At 1128 pages, you are unlikely to find a more thorough or lavish account of Mario Bava’s career from his early days as a cameraman to his classic Horror films – the book is huge.

Lucas spent decades researching Bava and it shows in this monumental volume. How was I going to compete with this when I wrote my own book on Bava? I didn’t try – I took a different approach, but obviously this was an essential reference source for me.

By Tim Lucas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mario Bava as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introduction by Martin Scorsese. Foreword by Italian Horror Pioneer Riccardo Freda. This is the Complete Story of Mario Bava's life and careers as director, cameraman and special effects artist. Interviews with more than 100 actors, co-workers, friends and family members. The Definitive Study of each of his films: production histories, cast biographies, critical analysis, and video information. Never-before Published Photos including the only color shots taken on the set of BLACK SUNDAY. Original Mario Bava Storyboards - including the boards for the unfilmed project BABY KONG. Original Mario Bava Artwork - Some in Full Color! Bava's Secret Filmography: His uncredited…


Book cover of Detecting Women: Gender and the Hollywood Detective Film

Natacha Guyot Author Of The Science is Out There: Scully's Feminism in The X-Files

From my list on women in American film.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been creating female-fronted Science Fiction stories since I was a child. My love for Star Wars motivated me to go to film school and then spend years working on the representation of women in Science Fiction movies, TV series, and video games. I’ve written about characters like Leia Organa and Hera Syndulla in Star Wars, Dana Scully in The X-Files, Sarah Connor in The Terminator, and Elisabeth Shaw in Prometheus. I have recently started sharing some of my research on Medium. Some of the books on this list have supported my research for over 15 years while I discovered others during my doctoral studies. 

Natacha's book list on women in American film

Natacha Guyot Why did Natacha love this book?

This is a must-read if you are interested in women investigators in mainstream film, B movies, niche genres, or television.

Gates studies over 300 films and goes back to not only early cinema but even to 19th-century fiction that brought certain figures such as the sleuth, to the screen several decades later. 

By exploring the evolution of women detectives, Gates addresses various topics such as women in the workforce, intellectual women, age, race, and sexuality. This historical analysis played a key role in my research on Scully beyond the chapter on women criminalists such as Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs.

By Philippa Gates,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Detecting Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ambitious and comprehensive history of the female detective in Hollywood film from 1929 to 2009.


Book cover of Ciao, America! An Italian Discovers the U.S.

Susan Pohlman Author Of Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home

From my list on travel memoir for women on women (and men) who travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the transformational power of travel ever since my husband and I unexpectedly signed a lease to an apartment on the Italian Riviera instead of divorce papers. The power of that year abroad saved our marriage, united our family of four in a sacred way, and introduced us to the many cultures of Europe. I learned the crucial difference between taking a trip and embarking on a journey. Capturing a travel experience on the page for those who can’t journey to a destination themselves is a joy and a privilege I don’t take lightly. Publishing this memoir allowed me to pivot in my career to a full-time writer and writing coach/editor.

Susan's book list on travel memoir for women on women (and men) who travel

Susan Pohlman Why did Susan love this book?

This book helped me fall in love with travel memoir long before the thought of living in Italy ever crossed my mind.

Beppe Severgnini is laugh-out-loud funny. He and his wife move to Washington D.C. and must navigate and make sense of the American lifestyle. If you are looking for a few giggles, grab this one.

By Beppe Severgnini,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ciao, America! An Italian Discovers the U.S. as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the wry but affectionate tradition of Bill Bryson, Ciao, America! is a delightful look at America through the eyes of a fiercely funny guest — one of Italy’s favorite authors who spent a year in Washington, D.C.

When Beppe Severgnini and his wife rented a creaky house in Georgetown they were determined to see if they could adapt to a full four seasons in a country obsessed with ice cubes, air-conditioning, recliner chairs, and, of all things, after-dinner cappuccinos. From their first encounters with cryptic rental listings to their back-to-Europe yard sale twelve months later, Beppe explores this foreign…


Book cover of The Days of Abandonment

Nina Schuyler Author Of The Translator

From my list on iconoclastic women.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was 12, I was given The Book of Questions by Neruda Pablo. “Tell me, is the rose naked or is that her only dress?” It was the perfect book for me, with an abundance of questions. As I got older, the questions turned more serious: what are these forces restricting women to a narrow strip of being? To a slim wedge of psychological existence? How did the definition of female pare down to only a fistful of traits—nurturing, accommodating, object of desire, etc.? I’ve found solace in books, with fully dimensional female characters who refuse society’s common assumptions. It’s these females I try to create in my work. 

Nina's book list on iconoclastic women

Nina Schuyler Why did Nina love this book?

I’d recommend any one of the novels by Elena Ferrante, a writer who depicts with nuance and complexity her female characters’ psychology, as it’s impacted by the forces of society, family, motherhood, wifedom, work, economics, and politics. The Days of Abandonment is one of her earlier novels about a woman whose husband leaves her for a younger woman after 15 years of marriage. A common story, unfortunately, but what isn’t common is the brutally honest depiction of rage, sorrow, depression, loss of self, and the slow evolution of a new life and a new self. 

By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Days of Abandonment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the New York Times–bestselling author of My Brilliant Friend, this novel of a deserted wife’s descent into despair―and rage―is “a masterpiece” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).

The Days of Abandonment is the gripping story of an Italian woman’s experiences after being suddenly left by her husband after fifteen years of marriage. With two young children to care for, Olga finds it more and more difficult to do the things she used to: keep a spotless house, cook meals with creativity and passion, refrain from using obscenities. After running into her husband with his much-younger new lover in public, she cannot even…


Book cover of A Valley in Italy: The Many Seasons of a Villa in Umbria

Dominic Smith Author Of Return to Valetto

From my list on armchair travel through Italy and Italian history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve just spent the last few years writing Return to Valetto, about a nearly abandoned village in Umbria and the last ten people who live there. In 2018, I received an NEA grant to conduct research in Italy and I visited about a dozen abandoned and nearly abandoned towns all across Italy. While I was traveling, I immersed myself in books about Italy—from history and biography to memoir and fiction. The books on my list were stepping stones in my education about all things Italian and I hope you find them as transporting as I did!

Dominic's book list on armchair travel through Italy and Italian history

Dominic Smith Why did Dominic love this book?

If you’ve ever fantasized about restoring a crumbling medieval Italian villa, then you’ll get to live that experience vicariously through this memoir.

The author has a wonderful sense of the absurd as she recounts her family’s multi-year efforts to turn a roofless villa into their dream home, complete with a complicated teenage daughter who is trying to find her way in the rural Italian countryside where the family has been transplanted.

Brimming with idiosyncratic and endearing characters. 

By Lisa St Aubin De Teran,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Valley in Italy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The author recounts a year she spent in San Orsela, a small town in the Umbrian hils of Italy, sharing portraits of her Italian friends and a celebration of the seasonal cycle


Book cover of The Medici Conspiracy: The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities-- From Italy's Tomb Raiders to the World's Greatest Museums

Roger Atwood Author Of Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers, and the Looting of the Ancient World

From my list on the looting of the Ancient World.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a journalist, critic, and poet who has spent a career engaging with the world. I love telling stories, and I strive to put beauty and tension into everything I write. I’ve had great editors – they’ve published my work in The Guardian, National Geographic, ARTnews, The Washington Post, The Times Literary Supplement, and Archaeology, where I am a contributing editor, and many other places – but it always comes down to me and my computer. And often a plane ticket and a suitcase. 

Roger's book list on the looting of the Ancient World

Roger Atwood Why did Roger love this book?

No book exposes the tricks of the trade that smugglers and dealers use to launder looted artifacts like this one. Focusing on a wave of looting in southern Italy in the 1980s and ‘90s, the authors show how European and American millionaire collectors fueled the ransacking of ancient sites. It’s a substantive, entertaining read about crime and the contradictions of modern Italy by two brilliant writers.   

By Peter Watson, Cecilia Todeschini,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Medici Conspiracy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story begins, as stories do in all good thrillers, with a botched robbery and a police chase. Eight Apuleian vases of the fourth century B.C. are discovered in the swimming pool of a German-based art smuggler. More valuable than the recovery of the vases, however, is the discovery of the smuggler's card index detailing his deals and dealers. It reveals the existence of a web of tombaroli ,tomb raiders, who steal classical artifacts, and a network of dealers and smugglers who spirit them out of Italy and into the hands of wealthy collectors and museums. Peter Watson, a former…


Book cover of The Italians

Dominic Smith Author Of Return to Valetto

From my list on armchair travel through Italy and Italian history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve just spent the last few years writing Return to Valetto, about a nearly abandoned village in Umbria and the last ten people who live there. In 2018, I received an NEA grant to conduct research in Italy and I visited about a dozen abandoned and nearly abandoned towns all across Italy. While I was traveling, I immersed myself in books about Italy—from history and biography to memoir and fiction. The books on my list were stepping stones in my education about all things Italian and I hope you find them as transporting as I did!

Dominic's book list on armchair travel through Italy and Italian history

Dominic Smith Why did Dominic love this book?

In many ways, this sort of book has gone out of style since it was published in the 1960s.

It’s an opinionated and ambitious portrayal of the Italian psyche and culture. Barzini looks at his fellow Italians with a dispassionate eye and a healthy sense of irreverence, uncovering their foibles, hidden beliefs, superstitions, and great strengths as a culture.

For me, Italy is an eternal paradox. Just when you think you’ve worked it out, something happens that makes you do a double-take. This book helps you understand that paradox has been part of Italy’s identity since the very beginning.

By Luigi Barzini,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Italians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this consummate portrait of the Italian people, bestselling author, publisher, journalist, and politician Luigi Barzini delves deeply into the Italian national character, discovering both its great qualities and its imperfections.

Barzini is startlingly frank as he examines “the two Italies”: the one that created and nurtured such luminaries as Dante Alighieri, St. Thomas of Aquino, and Leonardo da Vinci; the other, feeble and prone to catastrophe, backward in political action if not in thought, “invaded, ravaged, sacked, and humiliated in every century.” Deeply ambivalent, Barzini approaches his task with a combination of love, hate, disillusion, and affectionate paternalism, resulting…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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