As well as my life long love for horror movies I've also had a great passion for horror comics, many years ago there was a stunning series of horror anthology comics called 'Taboo' produced by one of my comic heroes Stephen R Bissette. Like all good things 'Taboo' sadly came to an untimely end, but Stephen Bissette kept working away in the comic industry and occasionally his written work would surface in such respected tomes as Chas Balun's 'Deep Red' showcasing his own obvious love for the genre movie.
Earlier this year (with thanks to a kind hearted postee at the Mobius Home Video Forum) I discovered Stephen Bissette was back with a full length tome dedicated to the history of the cannibal movie! It took me all of a millisecond to know that I simply had to get my hands on this one, the only problem being that I discovered that the book wasn't actually published as such but was being put together in a limited edition print direct from the authors original draft written on his old Atari (remember them?!) My pursuit of a copy was undeterred and after some anticipation a copy of Stephen R Bissette's 'We Are Going To Eat You' was soon lurching its way to me…
When you first pick up and flick through 'We Are Going To Eat You' you may be hit with slightly mixed emotions (the printed word of an old Atari leaves something to desire) but once you start delving into this mouth watering publication you'll quickly realise you have in your hands what is without doubt the definitive cannibal movie tome.
This isn't simply another run through the Italian exploitation movies that we love so dearly but a comprehensive and detailed of the genre from the dawn of cinema right through the early jungle action pics to the Mondo movie era and beyond. Of course that's not to say our beloved Italian gut munchers aren't covered here as they are, but not in the repetitive synopsis/brief critique manner that we've been happy to indulge in for so long. Here Stephen Bissette looks extensively at the Italian schlockers, dissecting their both their strengths and weaknesses but perhaps more importantly putting them into context with the reams of genre films that lead to their creation. It's absolutely fascinating to follow the genre from the beginning of film with silent showreels through to what is referred to as the 'goona goona' films to what we know today.
Also very welcome is the respect that the author obviously has for the reader, for long many have fallen into the trap of looking at the genre either in the respect of the 'gore' or the offense of alleged animal violence but Stephen Bissette overviews the genre in both an intelligent and thought provoking way. By no means does anyone seek to justify celluloid animal violence but it's interesting to see just how the modern exploitation movie ended up the way it is. Similarly, the book certainly hammers home the message about just how culturally racially offensive society has been for so many years (here in the context of the jungle/cannibal movie). Fans of the Mondo genre (and with Blue Undergrounds recent Mondo Cane DVD box set flying off the shelves we know there are many of you) will find a lot to gratify them here with extensive subjective coverage also.
As for the presentation, even for a draft edition (and looking past the Atari text) 'We Are Going To Eat You' manages to win you over with a gorgeous collection of poster art and all new illustrations by Stephen Bissette himself (his art is worth the purchase price alone). Now I've no doubt I probably sound like some sort of deliriously happy fan boy but the truth of the matter is 'We Are Going To Eat You' is THE cannibal book fans have been waiting for and even in this rough cut form is an essential addition to any fan of the genre's collection.
Tragically, whether or not you actually can savour its delights is another matter altogether as last word was that it bewilderingly still hadn't found a publisher!? Now all we do now is hope that Stephen Bissette finds the time to fine tune and update his draft and find a savvy publisher that knows a good investment when it's laid down in front of them - otherwise the sad fact is that a generation of genre fans will miss out on some first class bed time reading. Until that day comes though, you could always try visiting Stephen Bissette's website to see if you can grab yourself a copy of the lovely hand bound draft or keep your eyes peeled there for news of a full on published edition. Genre book of the year? You decide - get it now!!
To try chase down a copy of Stephen R Bissette's 'We Are Going To Eat You' visit his official website by clicking hereBack