Movies that are slightly off.
City of the Living Dead
And the dead shall rise and walk the earth!
City of the Living Dead (Italian: Paura nella città dei morti viventi, also known as The Gates of Hell) is a 1980 Italian horror film directed by Lucio Fulci. It is the first installment of the unofficial Gates of Hell trilogy which also includes The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery. Fulci makes an uncredited cameo appearance as Dr. Joe Thompson in the film.
This was my introduction to Italian horror films which spiraled out of control into an obsessed frenzy after one watch. I remember renting this (as Gates of Hell) when I was still a teenager. I watched the tape, stopped it after the credits, picked up my jaw, rewound the tape and watched it again. I then walked a couple blocks to my friends house, invited her to my house where we could watch it together. In a single rental day span, I watched this movie three times.
While the notorious regurgitation scene (complete with an appearance by horror director Michele Soavi) in the cemetery BLEW MY MIND, I was hooked at the very beginning. Seeing a priest commit suicide while…
Extract from HAMLET by William Shakespeare:
Is she to be buried in Christian burial that
wilfully seeks her own salvation?
I tell thee she is: and therefore make her grave
straight: the crowner hath sat on her, and finds it
How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her
It must be "se offendendo"; it cannot be else. For
here lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly,
it argues an act: and an act hath three branches: it
is, to act, to do, to perform: argal, she drowned
Extract from CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD by Lucio Fulci:
I saw a porno flick once, where this guy got so
carried away, he humped himself to death.
Too much of a good thing.
Yeah, but what a way to go.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, City of the Living Dead may not be Lucio Fulci's finest horror film, but it can probably be considered one of the single most important horror films of my life. Everything changed after the first time I watched it and the rest is history.
*Watched on Arrow blu, which has a few different commentary tracks worth checking out.
Sixty in September: 1/60.
Holy god. My skin has crawled off me and into another dimension. I've seen The Beyond and House by the Cemetery and Zombi 2, and, lord, if nothing could have prepared me for this one.
Unease with The Cat o' Nine Tails, but I'm somewhere else entirely now. I've shuddered and grimaced with it and caught myself mumbling revulsions to myself out loud and rolling around. The face of zombie Emily! The crying blood and intestinal vomit!
Fabio Frizzi. My brain is reeling. Fulci. He gains more and more power over my imagination. It's tremendous. I scarcely know what to say.
Words will come. But this is the thing I'm looking for. It's startling to know something so bizarre and wonderful can possibly have existed -- can exist. I'm in some kind of sick and terrible love.
My first time seeing this horror classic. As I occasionally do on films that have a lot to dissect on a first viewing I will just list a few thoughts.
-There is so much great style on display here right off the bat. That opening with the wind ripping smoke and leaves though the graveyard intercut with the seance is terrific. The shots of the priest hanging himself and the closeup on Catronia MacColl's eye--fantastic!
-Bob* was a creepy weirdo but he didn't deserve to go out like that. Industrial drill to the temple. Harsh.
-The score by Fabio Frizzi is one of the all time great horror scores. The driving pulse and ultimate crescendo in the climactic scene is…
A priest hangs himself and sets in motion a plague of undead murderousness in a tiny upstate town. A young woman is rescued from live burial by the rumpled man's George Segal. A creep in a shanty romances a blow-up doll. Mouths run over with entrails. Brains bubble out of shattered skulls. Airborne maggots swirl around a study. Drill bits sink into heads, children are traumatized and grave diggers reminisce about porn. Some of these things cohere. Some of them don't. None of it matters. Fulci gonna Fulci.
I've watched City of the Living Dead several times over the years, first as a teenager and most recently as a middle-aged grouch. Perhaps strangely, this persistence doesn't reflect any abiding affection. Though director Lucio Fulci's notorious gore-tooth appealed to my sleaze besotted younger self, I've typically viewed City as a rather tedious piece of work.
While one shouldn't turn to Italian horror for narrative rigor, here Fulci pushes meandering abstraction to its limit. Things happen onscreen because, well... because they do. Because the maestro thought the shot would look good that way. Of course, there's nothing necessarily wrong with this sort of cinematic dream logic, and only a fool would question Fulci's instincts when it comes to the cultivation…
La peor de la trilogia las puertas del infierno. poca sangre, poco latex y situaciones incomprensibles.
Dopo Zombi 2, ancora non-morti per il buon Fulci. Il grande merito è dato dall'atmosfera che permea tutta la pellicola (angosciante, suggestiva, soffocante) e dalla sapiente mano del regista, che confeziona momenti davvero terrorizzanti (specialmente se ci si immedesima nel bambino). Notevoli anche gli effetti speciali, con abbondante spargimento e spappolamento di interiora e cervelli. Indimenticabili il trapanamento e la sepoltura.
I didn't love this one, though it ~did~ have the notorious vomiting girl. Fulci also really like death by ripping characters' brains out the back of their skulls.
Contains some quality #SkullSquishing.
I dig this movie but wish it would go back to its cooler title 'The Gates Of Hell' which is far more fitting.
A fun watch if you like this kind of thing.
It's not one of Fulci's best but it is nonetheless entertaining, not always for the right reasons.
Too often characters stand around waiting for things to happens or for the special effects to play out but other than that this is a solid if nonsensical horror.
Lucio Fulci was one of the major players in the Italian horror/exploitation scene in the 1970's and 1980's (though he worked in other decades as well, it's then that he made his mark in the world of low-budget gore and schlock), and sometimes he could make some really terrific, even awe-inspiring genre work (The Beyond hits the spot for me), and other times very much not so (Zombie 3 and Sodoma's Ghost are rather pitiful). City of the Living Dead marks some of the high qualities of Fulci's style that's loaded for bear with dreadful imagery (I mean that word as a compliment, up to a point), but there was barely any work on the script or characters.
The 2016 (2nd) edition of the list. You can see the original and more info here.
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