The House by the Cemetery

The House by the Cemetery ★★★★

“Parents never listen, they do what they want to.”
The simplest of Fulci’s Fulvia era horror films. It is not our reality, but just the family nucleus that is at stake (one might always argue that for a good catholic boy like Fulci that is the first line of reality anyway). The end of the world here is just a body falling apart in your house’s basement. It is a perfect rendered children nightmare. One whose horror exists in the detail. Fulci’s external shots have a certain pastoral beauty, an European idea of new world possibility that is just bound to get damaged by realities of society. The internals, most of the title house, have a nervier quality, even peaceful family time has an undercurrent of violence. It is a haunted house film where the family never leaves less from outside pressures (it is not money who drags them but patriarchy hubris), but because despite the kid keep screaming get out, they’ve already been consumed from the inside. The first hour is heavy on portent, but low in violence (by Fulci standards at least), and then it all goes to hell, a rotten corpse at time. Those tight close-ups have a destructive power far beyond just the gore and Fulci’s imbuing stairs with the ascent and descent movements with symbolic charge is just great. The world is going mad as flesh is getting rotten. There is no escape the family entropy. On Fulci’s catechism there is no heaven reward, just new forms of hell. If Carpenter is Television and Romero is The Clash, then Fulci is Crass and very proud of it.

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