hor7.jpg (13403 bytes)Tarocchi dell'orror                                   Review by Michele Jackson

This is an art deck, but some may question that moniker. The cards measure 2 9/16" X 4 3/8". The art has a cartoon-like style with simple line drawings in bold colors on a beige background. The scenes remind one of junior high school bathroom humor. The deck would be right at home in the Addams' family mansion. There is graphic violence, including but not limited to decapitation, stabbings, severed limbs, smashed frogs, and other mutilated and tortured humans and animals. The suits are Wands, Swords, Coins and Cups. The pips of each suit show some gross little scene, with special horrors reserved for the Aces. For example Wands show a frog being splattered under a club. The Ace shows us the preamble – the frog is first impaled on a wicked looking nail that sticks out from the club. The Cups show a chalice with an octopus swimming in blood. The Ace of Cups shows us a rat drowned in a cup of wine that is clasped by the skeletal remains of a hand, complete with cobwebs. The backs are a red pattern and are reversible.

The Major Arcana is no better. The Empress shows Woman as a potential (and probable) victim. She is on a darkened street with a look of terror on her face as she contemplates a pair of hands holding a length of robe in preparation for strangling. The Hierophant shows a mad doctor standing in the midst of his latest handiwork with a severed foot at his side and other severed limbs in the background. The Chariot is a funeral carriage spilling bones in its wake. Cards like the Devil and the Tower look rather sweet in comparison. The Tower shows a ruined edifice in a graveyard circled by bats and the Devil shows a monster with bird feet and bat wings wearing a trench coat and fedora. Even cards that are usually happy, like the Sun and the Star, have fallen prey to the sick humor of this deck. The Sun shows sun-bleached bones in the desert and the Star shows a floating astronaut’s space suit severed from the umbilical cord that once attached it to its ship. Nuclear annihilation of the planet completes the Major Arcana in the World. The court cards are a strange mixture of weirdoes of various types with the occasional ghoul or monster thrown in for variety. The Knights are all children. Some ride on horse-head on a stick toys and others ride on animals or other children.

The card names are in Italian. Justice is VIII and Strength is XI. The cards are not coated and are on a fairly heavy card stock which is not conducive to shuffling. This is not a deck you want to read with for the kiddies at a Halloween party. Like many Meneghello decks, it is attractively packaged in a sleeve that slides into a book-like cover tied with ribbon. The little booklet is written in Italian and seems to be generic. This is a numbered deck from a limited edition of 2500. I recommend this deck for collectors and those who like horror movies. The depictions of animal abuse, potential violence against women and potential child abuse may be too disturbing for some.

Tarocchi dell'orror
Publisher: Il Meneghello
Distributor: Alida

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This page is Copyright 1999 by Michele Jackson