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.
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.
It entertains me to no end how, in Fulci's world, the human body comes apart kindof like a pan of cinnamon rolls. With red goo inside.
Hmm. I saw this originally in the 1980s on video before it was declared a "video nasty" (I think). I remember being terrified by it. This time round I got a bit bored, and most of the time hadn't a clue what was going on. Teleporting zombies or just ghosts? And that girls dad went a bit too far didn't he? I guess he really hated that boy!
A psychic performing a seance has a vision of a priest committing suicide in a cemetery. The psychic claims that this act has opened the gates of hell and in a couple of days the dead shall rise from their graves. The first film in Lucio Fulci's Gates of Hell trilogy is not as good as The Beyond which came after. It does however make up for its weaknesses in writing with atmosphere and style. It also features an excellent soundtrack that will be appreciated by those who like Goblin.
"This morning she was inside a coffin at the funeral home, and now she's here in my kitchen!"
Fulci horror featuring brain squeezing, eye bleeds and a worm blizzard. Utter ridiculousness, but well shot and more effectively scary moments than House by the Cemetery.
Nothing makes much sense in Lucio Fulci's 1980 classic CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, released in the US in 1983 as THE GATES OF HELL. GATES is actually what I still call it, my first exposure to Fulci via my first trip to the local video store with my dad in 1983. It's not Fulci's best film (it's up there, though), but for sentimental reasons, it's my favorite. Around the time Daniela Doria barfed up her entire digestive system about 30 minutes in, ten-year-old me immediately recognized this was a defining moment in my life and there was no turning back. I'd actually heard of THE GATES OF HELL through TV spots and in the newspaper a few months earlier,…
I forgot to log this when I rewatched so adding it now. Not quite as good as I remembered, certainly not better than The Beyond, but there's no arguing with that gore.
Atmospheric, bananas and gross as hell, City of the Living Dead, features some of the best, and most off-the-hook, practical effects. Sure it's illogical, but it's damn fun.
Also: Fabio Frizzi's excellently ghoulish soundtrack, the cemetery scene, and lots of tight closeups of eyes.
#20: Hooptober 2.0
HOOP-TOBER 2015 #16
Ahhhh. I was loving this so much. That first 40 minutes is INCREDIBLE. Just absolutely perfect. Then the film just kind of continues to do the same thing (literally repeating the same gore process 3-4 times) for the rest of the run time until the ending.
But still. Mega-Rad flick that fits perfectly with Zombi 2 and The Beyond.
Forgot that CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD has a nonexistent plot and long stretches of pure snooze--in addition to the classic score and couple of spectacular(ly vulgar) gore gags that typically earn it classification as "major Fulci." Man, though, the idea that you could have rented a generic looking VHS called GATES OF HELL in the 80s and unwittingly brought these images into your home... What a special time.
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