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Mondo Macabro [Paperback]

Peter Tombs
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 15 1998

The author of " Immoral Tales" now brings readers into the exotic, erotic, and eccentric international film scene. Fully illustrated, this book includes an Indian song-and-dance version of " Dracula" ; Turkish version of " Star Trek" and " Superman" ; China`s " hopping vampire" films, and much more. 332 illustrations. Of color photos.


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"Sometimes it feels like there's nothing left to discover. Bookshelves bend under the weight of tomes devoted to all things 'cult,' 'B,' or obscure. Films you might once have crossed town to see now turn up on new video labels every week. [But] for those who still value the shock of the new, the special kind of thrill that comes from confronting previously unsung greatness, ... there are plenty of strange new worlds left to explore.... Mondo Macabro is a peek into the treasure trove of fifty years of film from around the world. We've sifted through the dross and picked out the dusty jewels."

Those who enjoy horror movies, and bizarre movies of all types, will find Peter Tombs's Mondo Macabro: Weird and Wonderful Cinema Around the World a welcome companion on the shelf next to their (and Cathal Tohill's) Immoral Tales: European Sex & Horror Movies 1956-1984. With the help of three other writers (Giovanni Scognamillo, Diego Curubeto, and David Wilt), Tombs gives us an overflowing cornucopia of well-written descriptions of movies made in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Japan. Each section provides film-historical background on the individual countries and studios, a handy folklore primer on the indigenous monsters and myths that appear in the films, plenty of movie stills and poster art, and portraits of important personalities such as Brazil's José Mojica Marins (creator of the infamous evil persona Zé do Caixão, a.k.a. Coffin Joe).

As horror-fantasy writer Ian McDowell writes, "The sheer range of bizarre cinema that Tombs covers is amazing. My only serious cavil involves his first chapter, one of three on Hong Kong cinema. I know that he leaves the mainstream fare to others, but he still makes some odd statements about the timing of the golden age of Chinese martial arts films."

Best of all, Tombs prizes the pungent, if sometimes raw, flavors of individual creativity and local traditions, so his book is especially helpful for distinguishing between horror films that are unique to a country or region, those that are hybrids of Western models and local themes, and those that are mere copies of Western films. Mondo Macabro also includes top 10 lists from five world cinema experts, tips on where to find the videos, and an index of film titles. --Fiona Webster


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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mondo Macabro go go! Nov. 19 2001
Format:Paperback
If I had the money, I would travel to Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe to learn about each region's culture. I wouldn't go to museums, but rather to the movies, especially the exploitative, sexual, and violent ones. Since I'm short on funds, I decided to read Pete Tomb's Mondo Macabro: Weird & Wonderful Cinema Around the World instead. For $18.95, I developed my own case of culture shock by reading about the B movies of Japan, Turkey, the Philippines, China, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, India, and Indonesia. What we have here is an attention-grabbing introduction to an entire world of films that are full of bizarre sexuality, brutality, and horror. Tomb focuses on how these films react to, and contribute to, their particular culture's makeup and character. The film business in Istanbul, Turkey, for example, didn't get going until the '50s, when they made Drakula Istanbul'da (Dracula in Istanbul). To say the special effects were low-tech would be putting it mildly; to show fog in a graveyard, the crew lay on the ground and puffed on lots of cigarettes. After that success, there were films such as Tarzan in Istanbul and The Invisible Man in Istanbul -- there's nothing like national pride. Mondo Macabro concentrates not only on film lore but also on the literature and legends of these nations. It is rare to get a book on this subject that is so well written and informative for even the amateur film fanatic. Sadly, due to distribution and business practices, most people won't be able to see films such as India's Kali, The Bloodthirsty Bride of Shiva, Japan's Rapeman, or the Turkish version of Star Wars. So our alternative is this wonderful, well-researched book featuring stills from enchanting films I have never seen and, most likely, never will.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Film Junkie's Dream! Nov. 21 2000
Format:Paperback
If you're in a movie rut and aren't interested in anything at your local video store, I implore you to check out Mondo Macabro! This book is fantastic! Its full of the strangest movies ever made throughout the world. Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Hong Kong, India, you name it and its in here. Peter Tombs covers all bases, including the countries' film history and cultural practices, in order to give readers a better understanding as to why certain films were made. And some of it is still unexplainable! He even goes so far as to lead readers in the direction on where to find the films. I've picked up a few of the films in this book and I've been changed. Mondo Macabro raises the bar that film books must hurdle in order to be deemed thourough. If you're a fan of b-movies or in the mood for a total change of pace, Mondo Macabro can help you. This is a film junkie's dream! Also, be sure to check out Immoral Tales, also by Tombs, which covers European films.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Foreign Film as you have never seen it before! April 9 2000
Format:Paperback
When most people think of foreign film it's usualy something very european, more then likely french. Not that there is anything wrong with that but here's something you don't see everyday. In Pete Tombs book MONDO MACABRO we see the great "trash" films and filmmakers for the world. My favorite in the book and on the screen is a man who's character is known as "Ze do Caixao" in his home land of Brazil but "Coffin Joe" to you english speaking folks. Jose Mojica Marins is "Ze" the "evil" undertaker of his own written, directed and produced films. Check out "At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul Away" from 1963, it's a masterpiece.
Tombs' book goes to all areas of the globe to find you the best and the strangest films you will ever see. Including a Turkish version of "Star Trek". The book is well written, has many original photos and posters arts so you can get a sense of what it take to make these kinds of films. Now the only challange is trying to find them on video.
Think you have seen everything, think again, check out MONDO MACABRO!
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mondo Macabro go go! Nov. 18 2001
By Tosh Berman/TamTam Books - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If I had the money, I would travel to Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe to learn about each region's culture. I wouldn't go to museums, but rather to the movies, especially the exploitative, sexual, and violent ones. Since I'm short on funds, I decided to read Pete Tomb's Mondo Macabro: Weird & Wonderful Cinema Around the World instead. For $18.95, I developed my own case of culture shock by reading about the B movies of Japan, Turkey, the Philippines, China, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, India, and Indonesia. What we have here is an attention-grabbing introduction to an entire world of films that are full of bizarre sexuality, brutality, and horror. Tomb focuses on how these films react to, and contribute to, their particular culture's makeup and character. The film business in Istanbul, Turkey, for example, didn't get going until the '50s, when they made Drakula Istanbul'da (Dracula in Istanbul). To say the special effects were low-tech would be putting it mildly; to show fog in a graveyard, the crew lay on the ground and puffed on lots of cigarettes. After that success, there were films such as Tarzan in Istanbul and The Invisible Man in Istanbul -- there's nothing like national pride. Mondo Macabro concentrates not only on film lore but also on the literature and legends of these nations. It is rare to get a book on this subject that is so well written and informative for even the amateur film fanatic. Sadly, due to distribution and business practices, most people won't be able to see films such as India's Kali, The Bloodthirsty Bride of Shiva, Japan's Rapeman, or the Turkish version of Star Wars. So our alternative is this wonderful, well-researched book featuring stills from enchanting films I have never seen and, most likely, never will.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Foreign Film as you have never seen it before! April 9 2000
By Robert A St Mary - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When most people think of foreign film it's usualy something very european, more then likely french. Not that there is anything wrong with that but here's something you don't see everyday. In Pete Tombs book MONDO MACABRO we see the great "trash" films and filmmakers for the world. My favorite in the book and on the screen is a man who's character is known as "Ze do Caixao" in his home land of Brazil but "Coffin Joe" to you english speaking folks. Jose Mojica Marins is "Ze" the "evil" undertaker of his own written, directed and produced films. Check out "At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul Away" from 1963, it's a masterpiece.
Tombs' book goes to all areas of the globe to find you the best and the strangest films you will ever see. Including a Turkish version of "Star Trek". The book is well written, has many original photos and posters arts so you can get a sense of what it take to make these kinds of films. Now the only challange is trying to find them on video.
Think you have seen everything, think again, check out MONDO MACABRO!
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