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Book Review: “SEX AND HORROR: THE ART OF EMANUELE TAGLIETTI” (NSFW)

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Artist Emanuele Taglietti is one of the most celebrated masters to emerge from that unique period in 1970’s Italy, when morale shifted and the popular fumetti (Italian comic books, literally translated as “puffs of smoke”, an allusion to speech bubbles) followed more liberal strains of genre cinema and more overt, explicit sexuality was visualized on their covers. Tagleitti, a former set designer who had worked with Fellini, jumped on this, exploiting the comforts of working from home by becoming a full-fledged cover illustrator, nurturing a style that was sensual, lurid, saturated and bristling with energy.

Monster sculptor, artist, art collector and Taglietti enthusiast Mark Alfrey (THE X-FILES, Tim Burton’s PLANET OF THE APES) offers collected proof of Taglietti’s genius in his new book SEX AND HORROR, a lush 156 page, soft cover coffee table book for fellow admirers and those just discovering the artist’s fevered work. From the jungle frolics of KARZAN to the Stallone clone FOX to the ultimate female vampire SUKIA to the more contemporary lust of ZORA LA VAMPIRA, SEX AND HORROR offers gorgeously reproduced selection of some of Taglietti’s most arresting work and creations from some of the wildest and hottest fumetti’s ever made. Using oils and acrylics on canvas, Taglietti would use photographs of models in various compromising positions as reference to etch evocative scenes of impossibly curvy, voluptuous women  in various states of undress interacting sexually and violently against imaginatively designed backdrops, dripping with weirdness and terror. If you’ve never see a Taglietti, prepare to have your pulse erupt and your mind blown.

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Accompanying the outrageous art are great passages penned by Alfrey that not only give voice to the author’s own passions for the work (he even includes photos of his own, substantial Taglietti collection) but provide detailed biographical information and insight into the creation of the work itself and individual characters. It’s a great read framing some seriously visceral imagery.

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In his foreword, Alfrey claims that due to the maddening pace of productions schedules, Taglietti was called on to produce dozens upon dozens of paintings every month, with little time to overthink or tinker with the end result, giving the art a special kind of urgency. He’s probably right. Whatever the secret of his vision, there is no one else like Taglietti (who is still alive and still working), making SEX AND HORROR an essential purchase.

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About the author
Chris Alexander
Author, film critic, teacher, musician and filmmaker (not to mention failed boxer) Chris Alexander is the editor-in-chief of FANGORIA Magazine. He got his first professional break as the “Schizoid Cinephile” in the pages of Canadian horror film magazine RUE MORGUE before making the move to FANGO in 2007. His words have appeared in The Toronto Star, Metro News, Wired, Montage, The Dark Side, Tenebre and many other notable publications and he appears regularly on international television and radio.
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