a list that is trying to contain every horror film made that is not lost and is found on the…
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…
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.
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.
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.
Part 13 of Hoop-Tober
"The soul that pines for eternity shall outspan death."
The first Italian horror movie I ever watched was Lucio Fulci’s Zombie (nearly two years ago). The version I watched was completely dubbed over in Italian with no English subtitles but I still enjoyed what was going on on-screen and everything was brutal and sickening but completely awesome. I wasn't entirely used to this type of hardcore horror (that eye-gouging scene still makes me squirm every time I see it) and it sent me into this state of mind similar to the state of mind I sometimes experience while trying out a delicious piece of food for the very first time (I’m…
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…
Everyone has their own ranking for Fulci's "Gates of Hell" trilogy, but for me this is the best entry.
It's a strong contender for the most disgusting entry. Really, the gore in this movie is unbelievably disgusting. The practical effects in "City of the Living Dead" are truly some next level shit.
I also appreciate the atmosphere. The color palette, lighting, music, and fog compare favorably to other Fulci flicks and horror in general.
The pacing is not nearly as fucked up as other Fulci films, like the crawling "House by the Cemetary," but by wider cinematic standards it is pretty flawed.
The biggest flaw is the confusing and meandering story, which is hurt more by that dogshit ending than anything else.
Overall, I strongly recommend for fans of extreme horror.
First volley in Lucio Fulci's "Gates of Hell Trilogy" is atmospheric and beautifully shot. If you're inclined, stay for the gore -- and pay special attention to Christopher George's barely contained resentment at needing the paycheck. Bonus points for taking place in Dunwich.
"I see… I see…"
The lower starred reviews of Fulci's City of the Living Dead all seem to refer to the weakness of it's plot, but this is a misapplied metric, akin to taking your body temperature with a ruler. Michael Grant writing about Fulci's The Beyond notes:
"What occurs here displaces the dominance of narrative… the film is nothing other than a catalogue of notations of its own aesthetic…The music here is at least as effective as the narrative in providing a cohesive force for the film. Its repetitious insistence draws the disparate narrative events together, emphasizing pace and rhythm at the expense of motivation or psychological insight. Visuals and music cohere in a unified sound-image."
Patricia MacCormack writes:…
A priest hangs himself.
The Gates of Hell open.
Christopher George with a cigar.
Catriona MacColl buried alive.
A blow-up doll.
Gut puking (aka: one of the grossest things ever).
Drill to the head.
One of the most WTF final moments ever.
FABIO FRIZZI (fantastic soundtrack).
LUCIO FULCI (one of his best films).
Sadly, the impressive imagery can't cover up the very thin plot. City of the Living Dead seems to be a movie that started out as a collection of interesting pictures and effects, hold together by an unstable and barely sensical story. In a way it's much like today's effect movies like Gravity or Interstellar, just with the living dead instead of wormholes and spacesuits.
The plot is probably the least interesting thing about it.
You already know if you'll like this movie or not.
Two words: maggot hailstorm.
How much more of a recommendation do you need?
Still, not quite as much fun for me as The Beyond (you just can't beat that ending).
House by the Cemetery up next!
(And was that a monkey you kept hearing? Cause pretty sure they don't have monkeys in MA.)
Also, is it just me or were those last few second them realizing 'shit we're stuck with this kid?'
My first time watching a Lucio Fulci movie and I enjoyed it a lot!
The whole movie is just.... creepy. And the gore although it is extreme, is just right. Not too little and not too much. It's the perfect inbetween because when there is gore, it's INTENSE. Also the score is just lovely. My only issue with this movie is the ending because I can't make any sense of it all, but really whatever! The rest of the movie is good enough that I can look past a senseless ending.
While it has the trademark Fulci atmosphere and startling visuals, and the brilliantly haunting score by frequent collaborator Fabio Frizzi, it's a little light on the gore compared to other Fulci flicks such as The Beyond or Zombi 2. There are some effectively creepy scenes and a couple fantastic gory kills but overall it doesn't pack quite as much a punch as the previously mentioned films.
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