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Trevor
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« on: December 06, 2010, 08:20:56 AM »

CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD
R
XXXX
Dania Film / Medusa Distribuzione / Nationale Cinematographica 1980
Trevor




Dedicated to Dr Menard and all the others here who helped me understand Lucio Fulci and his films just that little bit more.


THE CHARACTERS

Mary Woodhouse: Catriona MacColl

Psychic who stupidly attends and participates in a séance. If she really was a psychic, she would have known all about all the crap about to happen. Instead of calling “Walkies!!” she screams, dies, screams, is resurrected, runs out of air, screams, gasps, screams, has her coffin hacked open, screams, bleeds, screams, bleeds and I don’t know what the hell else happens. Screams at the end and destroys the film's emulsion with the sound waves.

Peter Bell: Christopher George

Tough talking, cigar chewing, lollipop eating, pick-axe wielding journalist who saves Mary from being buried alive and almost kills her in the process when he hacks open her coffin. His facial stubble increases and then decreases as the movie continues. Has his skull clawed open and rats then chow down on his brains, allowing him not to need them while signing the contract for and filming Menahem Golan’s Enter The Ninja.

Jerry: Carlo de Mejo
Psychiatrist by trade, also known as ‘Phone’ ~ because he is almost always near one when it rings ~ and famous for being Alida Valli’s son, thereby making him The Third Man in this film.  Wink Handy with any sharp object except his head which comes to a point. Performs priesticide, patienticide and zombicide here. His income dries up suddenly after he kills his one and only patient.

Father William Thomas: Fabrizio Jovine
The priest with the red mascara whose suicide by hanging for unknown reasons starts the events in the town of Dunwich. Loves to purge girls of all their sins. Is left totally gutted by what he puts into motion and is left all burnt up over it.

Sandra: Janet Agren
Jerry’s tormented patient: tormented because of her mental state, her not so dead dead relatives, her bad landlord who forgets to tell her about her bleeding walls, the uninvited corpses that occupy her kitchen, the maggot hail that she is exposed to (and swallows some of) and that she has a doctor who cures all her ills by stabbing her in the stomach.

Bob The Town Freak: Giovanni Lombardo Radice
Fondler of automatically inflatable blow-up dolls while there is a rotting, worm infested corpse nearby. Killed by bad pasty face makeup and a handy drill press ~ you might say that his bit part in this film bored him to death.  Buggedout

Emily Robbins: Antonella Interlenghi
John-John's sister who goes missing after interrupting a psychiatrist / patient session and winds up dead, later comes out of the closet and frightens her younger brother John so badly that he stammers his name as John John when his name is actually only John.

Rosie Kelvin: Daniela Doria
Another gutsy lady of the town who, while making out in a car, loses her guts through the evil wishes of a maniacal priest and literally loses everything else.

John-John Robbins: Luca Paisner
So nice they named him twice. Emily’s younger brother whose appearance at the end of the film causes Mary to scream (Oy, again with the screaming) and the film’s emulsion to crack. Now works with Trevor at the National Film, Video and Sound Archives in Pretoria where he is kept away from all film negatives.  Wink

Theresa: Adelaide Aste
Psychic, owner of severely drugged eyes and Keeper of The Book of Enoch: her library loan fees are wayyy overdue as she foresaw the rise of the dead and did sweet bugger-all about it.

LESSONS LEARNED

The word outspan does not only apply to a South African brand of orange.
Attending seances can be detrimental to your death.
Zombies should stay the hell out of cemeteries in cities where I have good friends.
Blood dripping from ceilings can be a great milk additive.
Family crypts have stained glass ceilings.
Answering a maggot-encrusted phone can be a challenge.
Always stand still when a zombie is staggering nearby you so that he / she  / it can claw open your skull.
Red mascara does not suit a priest at all.
The punishment for being the village idiot is death by drill.
Looking at adult magazines, goofing off and eating lunch in an occupied grave counts as “busting your balls enough”.
Cowardly priests  ~ those minus guts ~ can self destruct in a spectacular fashion.
Zombies can teleport at will.
It seems that the guy who filmed and orchestrated the horrible scenes in Cannibal Holocaust wasn’t killed after all.
Having your lunch near a corpse is OK and SOP for a gravedigger. It also makes the gravedigger a SOB which does not lead me to ROFLMAO, rather to ask the gravedigger to GTFO.
Worms maketh not a tasty meal neither do maggots maketh a pleasant breeze.


STUFF TO WATCH FOR

1:00: This looks very much like Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia.
1:54: Outspan? I thought that was a brand of South African orange?
2:16: Quote from Fabio Frizzi, composer: “Hey-a, Mama! I know-a three-a chords-a!”
4:36: Would someone please stop her screaming and would someone please stop this scene??
5:10: Cop's inner thoughts: “What is this jive-ass, honkey muthf**** sh*t?” He will probably arrest them for possession of the controlled substances called caffeine and nicotine.  Wink
7:42: Judging by those flames, someone either just passed some serious gas or there’s trouble with the wiring.
9:30: I don’t know which is more gross: him fondling that blow-up doll over here or that worm infested corpse over there.
15:00: Carlo De Mejo, Alida Valli’s son? So he’s The Third Man in this film? Oh, never mind.  Wink
17:10: Perry Pirkanen! So stories of his death in Cannibal Holocaust were greatly exaggerated.
20:00: “Busted our balls enough.” Doing what exactly? Looking at porn mags, goofing off and eating lunch in an open occupied grave?
23:42: The look on Christopher George’s face there is almost the same one he uses in his Enter The Ninja death scene.
23:50 RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A COFFIN!
24:00: She’s just died, been resurrected, then buried alive and now you’re trying to kill her again?
25:00: And if you don’t stop over-acting, I’m going to Dunwich to seal those gates myself.
32:26: Yuck: that has put me off mutton and Italian cuisine for life.
59:03: I guess his BIT part in this movie BORED him to death, huh?  Buggedout
1:03:13: I think those were real maggots and that was real puke. Buggedout
1:15:28: When I close my eyes, I can't see...
1:16:19: Nooooooo!!!!!! Bugger off! Beer’s hot, bar’s closed, the food’s bad, the mirror's busted, the wall's cracked and the air-con's off!! Buggedout
1:21:50 Why are these dumb-asses standing there, waiting for her to approach them? Run, you stupid buggers! Run!
1;21:55 How the hell did she get behind him? Ah, the magic of bad continuity.
1:23;31 If that is an alien coming out of her stomach, this DVD will become a Frisbee.
1:25 00: The Thomas family must have been rolling in money: a stained glass ceiling in a crypt?
1: 27:00 Bless me father for I have just………..poked the hell out of you.
1:29 00 Oops: There goes the film's emulsion.

NOTABLE QUOTES

Peter: “Good. There’s a lollipop in the glove box.”
Theresa: "No. The problem is in your own mind. It cannot accept the truth."
John-John:  [laughing] “Mary!!! Jerry!!!”
Sgt Clay: "Lady, you're either on grass or you're pulling my leg."
Peter: “Great. Welcome to the city of the dead.”
Theresa: "Mr. Bell, if those gates are left open, it could mean the end of humanity. We've got to get them shut again. At midnight on Monday, we go into All Saint's Day. The night of the dead begins. If the portholes of hell aren't shut before, no dead body will ever rest in peace. The dead will rise up all over the world and take over the Earth! You must get to Dunwich, Mr. Bell. You must re-close those gates!"
Jerry: “He just told me that Emily killed both her parents. Emily died two days ago.”
Sheriff: “Let me hear it from you first, Joe!”
Mary: “The death of Father Thomas gave birth to some……..evil.”
Jerry: “Well, we’ve found his family tomb…. Now what?”
Mary: "Guess what? It's All Saint's Day."
Jerry: “Sandra?”

THE PLOT

In the town of Dunwich, supposedly a place where they LOVE to CRAFT things, a red mascara wearing priest, Father William Thomas is pictured, wandering through what looks suspiciously like the famous Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. [Confirmed: thank you, Raffine] After several very pained and moody looks at the gravestones, the mist and the eerie sky ~ all set to several jarring chords ~ the priest hangs himself in the presence of a tombstone which at first glance appears to be advertising a brand of South African orange. All this set to s-s-s-shakycam photography and a score composed and performed by someone who would struggle to pick out Chopsticks on an upright piano. TeddyR

At precisely the same time, a seance is being conducted in New York, an event which ends rather abruptly when one of the participants, a psychic named Mary Woodhouse, sees the priest’s suicide, screams “Walkies!!”, froths at the mouth and collapses on the floor, apparently dead, leading to a police investigation by a stereotypical African-American policeman named Sgt Clay who is almost ready to say “WTF is this jive-ass, honkey muthaf***a sh*t going down here?” but never quite makes it, due to someone passing dangerous explosive gas, destroying the building’s wiring. The stunned cop blames it all on drugs taken during the seance: horrible addictive stuff like caffeine and nicotine and arrests all there for possession of same. Wink

Back in Dunwich, a girl named Emily goes missing and the local town freak named Bob gets the blame after his fondling of an automatically inflatable doll is rudely interrupted by his discovery of a worm infested corpse nearby. The action then changes ~ almost without logic, like much of this film ~ to New York where Peter Bell, the hard-bitten-reporter-with-the-dent-in-his-car is investigating the odd death of Mary Woodhouse and winds up talking to two dumb ass gravediggers who count goofing off, eating lunch nearby a grave with a skeleton in it and reading porno mags as “having busted their balls enough”. One of them is the guy who, according to an urban myth, was killed along with several of his friends in a South American jungle by some numb nuts snuff movie director named Ruggero Deodato. Stronzate.

After these guys conveniently leave Mary’s coffin as it is without covering it up, we are then treated to another bout of Mary screaming: realizing that although she died and was buried, she has been buried alive, trapped in a coffin and running out of air.  Not only that, but her beautiful face is now tinted an eerie shade of blue.  So she starts screaming WALKIES and the gallant Peter, hearing her muffled screams, realizes that she has been buried alive ~ although she did die ~ and nearly kills her with a pickaxe trying to save her. I would just say “Aw f**k it, just kill me with that pickaxe already, I’m running out of oxygen anyway.”

The overacting of Theresa ~ maximum closeups on seemingly drugged eyeballs, the works ~ sends Peter and Mary ~ leaving Paul behind no doubt ~ off to Dunwich, the getting there reminds me that John Carpenter ripped this section of the plot off for In The Mouth Of Madness ~ two people en route to a place which isn’t supposed to exist. The terror in Dunwich ~ aside from the over-acting bar flies, someone having their face wiped and rubbed with wiggly worms and a shock cameo from Lucio Fulci's bald spot ~ continues, with creepy morgue attendants who appear to get their jollies painting lipstick on corpses and later try and steal jewelry off of them, only to be given a right royal chompo by the revived corpse.

The landlords in this weird little town are also not telling their tenants the whole truth: hanging corpses appear out of nowhere, girls on a night out making out with their boyfriends lose their guts to get past first base ~ literally ~ shattered glass causes a wall to bleed and a nervous young boy is haunted by his dead sister who has just come out of the closet.  Every so often, the horrified viewer is shown a closeup shot of another skull being clawed open and brains being squeezed out ~ that apart, those recently departed visit the local bar to complain that the food is bad, the beer is hot and that the barflies don’t have anything in their skulls worth squeezing. Never mind the fact that the building codes were not adhered to during construction as walls crack and mirrors shatter.

This town seems to be populated by my-life-is-sh*t-and-so-what morons: people who will stand still and let zombies attack them and will also let themselves be literally bored to death: not by the film per se but by a handy drill press. This fate befalls Bob The Town Freak courtesy of Emily's bereaved father who seems to take a perverse delight in boring Bob out of his skull. The visitors to Dunwich don’t fare any better as they have no idea what they are doing there in the first place, other than to stand around and wait for the undeadies to rip their skulls off. Oh yes, and they have to endure a hail of super juicy maggots too which attempt to prevent them answering a ringing phone.

Great family fun, isn’t it?  Buggedout

The finding of Father Willie’s tomb leads the three ~ now minus Sandra, as her hairstyle has PO’d one of the female zombettes ~ into a hellish underground crypt with a stained glass ceiling and a hanging basket made of cobwebs, holding several zombies who are rather anxious to get out of there, now that the gates of hell have been opened and it is a toll-free day.  Sandra appears, all lit blue from below and the others calmly wait instead of running away while Peter gets his scone torn open and some rats have a hot lunch…… or dinner……. I can’t really tell, because it is so dark out there. While Mary’s eyes bleed yet again, Jerry grabs something and stabs Sandra in the guts with it, causing her to collapse to the floor and her guts to bubble…….. bad burrito.

Then, all of a sudden, up pops the friendly Priest and his Willy………..I mean, Father William and his John Thomas……….DAMMIT! Father William Thomas who reanimates the corpses behind the two remaining people and gets the hell poked out of him, quite literally, causing him and the other zombies to go up in smoke. The survivors pull themselves out of the crypt to see John-John with the two cops: John-John-John laughs, shouts “Mary! Jerry!”, runs towards them, Mary starts screaming again and Trevor’s apparent inefficiency at film archiving after 24 years causes the film’s emulsion to crack.

What the hell [pun intended] did I just watch? Yo, Andrew: I’ll trade you My Little Pony for this.

___________________________________________


In his book Fantastic Cinema, (written at the time of the so-called ‘video nasties’ hysteria in the UK) the author Peter Nicholls has this to say about Lucio Fulci: “Lucio Fulci makes the sort of  movie that nice people do not go to see. Perhaps mercifully, most people do not even know about them. He is the sick innocent of Italian giallo ~ his childlike wish is to show successive horrors, each one of which is worse than you could ever have imagined.”  

While I wouldn’t go as far as to write what was above, I have to say that this was my first Lucio Fulci film and I bought it sight unseen after seeing it for sale, having only ever heard about it due to it and many of Fulci’s other films being banned in my country. I always thought our censorship system was bad under the National Party’s apartheid policies but after doing research into this film, I found out that it is still banned in a few countries, including Germany.  

I have never seen any other Fulci films although I did see Et tu vivrai nel terrore… L’Adila (The Beyond: also banned for many years here)  available for sale a few days ago and was tempted to buy it. I didn’t, largely because of the horrible effect this film had on me. Fulci’s Lo Squartatore di New York (The New York Ripper) and Quella villa accanto il cimitero (The House By The Cemetery) have also been unbanned and released to DVD. There is almost no humor in Fulci’s films: In fact, the only thing that made me laugh about this film amidst its’ mounting sense of doom and dread was the fact that the people who supplied the furniture were given an onscreen credit, much like the tea lady credited in Tobe Hooper’s South African lensed The Mangler. That and Signor Fulci’s bald spot’s cameo in this film.  Buggedout

To cut a long story short, I was revolted, enthralled, disturbed, disgusted and entertained by this film, also known as The Gates of Hell, La Paura nella citta dei morti viventi and in my case WTF Did I Buy This Sh*t For? Simply put, City of The Living Dead is one horrible vision after another ~ something resembling my worst nightmares at their worst ~ and, while it is technically brilliant, Lucio Fulci comes across to me as a sadistic director, driving his cast to their limits. I say sadistic carefully as this was my first exposure to Fulci’s work and I was horrified by what his cast appeared to have had to go through in order to get this on film. Fulci may not have been a sadist in his personal life but he seems to have driven his actors far beyond their personal limits and boundaries. The men are not spared anything at all ~ Fulci even denigrates Christopher George to the point of forcing him to drive around in a station wagon with a major dent in the door.

The women ~ especially Catriona MacColl and Janet Agren ~ get the worst of this film’s horrors and in one glorious scene, the cast is subjected to a hail of what looks like real maggots, causing Janet to apparently swallow a few and she appears to vomit for real on camera.  Catriona virtually screams her way through the entire film and portrays one of my childhood fears: being trapped, being buried alive, in danger of dying and not being able to escape. Daniela Doria was also put through what looks like hell in the film, having to purge herself of her guts and everything else through the machinations of a red eyed, blue toned, zombie priest. Not nice, not nice at all ~ she apparently vomited sheep entrails and lasagne during this scene, so sheep meat and Italian cuisine are safe from me forever. The horrors that the child actor playing John-John had to face: I trust he was protected from some of it at least. All of this and the horrible mascara that the priest has to wear: sweetie darling: it doesn’t go with your robes.  TeddyR

My good buddy Dr Menard informed me that after losing his wife and daughter, Fulci’s films became darker in tone, having started with comedies as a writer. Losing my father ~ my first film mentor ~ a few years ago was bad enough but if I had to lose all of my close family seemingly at one go, I would also go off the rails in a major way. However I would never turn sadistic and wonder why other people were living while my family had no chance: this is what makes City of The Living Dead such an uncomfortable viewing experience, especially for a Fulci newbie like myself who doesn’t know what the hell ~ no pun intended ~ to expect.

The make up and technical effects in this are startling ~ witness Giovanni Lombardo Radice in a BIT part getting literally BORED to death by the movie, Daniela Doria losing her guts and everything else, plus the scenes that freaked me the most, Catriona MacColl’s beautiful bleeding eyes. The cinematography is jarring (not sparing you anything) as well as the music, which, while it does sound like Fabio Frizzi has just discovered a synthesizer and is proclaiming “Heya, mama! I-a know-a three-a chords-a!” is very effective and makes the sense of genuine unease felt in viewing this very real, almost uncomfortably so. A good friend of mine named Bob would not appreciate having his name used as that of the town freak, played by Giovanni Lombardo Radice ~ they should have named him Sue or something like that.  TeddyR

The film is one horrific, disturbing vision after another: worm-infested corpses, teleporting and bar visiting zombies, bleeding walls, and an underground hell designed by someone who must keep the hell away from my flat in Pretoria next time I need a make-over. Burning priests, cobweb covered zombies, a stained glass ceiling in the family crypt, psychiatric patients, terrified little boys and loving sisters who rip the backs off of their loved ones’ skulls: all wonderful family entertainment at its’ best.  The ending still disturbs the hell out of me: why is Mary screaming because John-John is running to her? He’s glad to see her, why isn’t she glad to see him?  

What really disturbs me about this film as a film archivist is that Mary's screams are loud and vibrant enough to ruin this film's emulsion. Twirling After viewing this, my first Lucio Fulci film ~ and trying not to throw up in certain scenes ~ my final thoughts are: “Signor Fulci: lei è un talento e malati pezzo di merda.”*

_________________________

* Mr Fulci: you are a talented piece of sh*t.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 06:56:45 AM by Trevor » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2010, 09:56:03 PM »

Interesting wrap-up...and perhaps it might be true. It is an honest response, and in that respect it is true; it is ultimately the responsibility of an artist of any medium to get a response, good or bad, and Fulci was certainly a master of that.

Fulci does have a reputation as a monster among directors, though I think it was largely self-perpetuated. Some critics have maligned his treatment of animals and actors in scenes as exploitive, even cruel; when in reality he was quite a deliberate director with an actual concern for safety, and tertiary events events within a scene which seemed real enough that we presume it just happened, were actually intentionally crafted to happen.

For instance, Janet Agren's vomiting in the horde of maggots scene, though it may look like something incidental and real, it was just as likely Fulci's design for that to happen, and look like it was real.

Fulci was once taken to court for animal cruelty due a scene in a movie of his where dogs were tortured. The dogs in the scene were puppets, it just looked real enough for people to believe it was real.

I think Fulci shares a certain degree of something Romero seemed to have: the ability to get the best out of others. Fulci's most memorable films, however, have something other films of his do not, and perhaps that makes the difference, in having much of the same crew (writers, cinematographer, make-up/special effects, and even composer).

Despite what Fulci was or was not, I think that any reaction to his work is a reaction earned, and he probably wouldn't have disagreed with it.

I like that you do keep the humor going through the review with an honest appraisal of your reactions to it. Though you begin the review with Andrew's template, you move into your own style especially as you summarize and wrap up the review.

I don't really have any disagreement with your take on the film. For me it's one that works in parts, but falls apart as a whole. There are scenes which work beautifully, and others I wish they had thrown in a trashcan. It goes to hell in the last 20 minutes, and the ending I think is along the lines of the contents of the suitcase in Pulp Fiction in leaving leaving it up to the audience to decide what it means; I think that's a poor technique and his The Beyond is an entire film which uses that technique.
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2010, 01:26:26 AM »

Interesting wrap-up...and perhaps it might be true. It is an honest response, and in that respect it is true; it is ultimately the responsibility of an artist of any medium to get a response, good or bad, and Fulci was certainly a master of that.

This film literally gave me nightmares watching it but I cannot and will not deny the artistry behind it.  Thumbup

Quote
Fulci does have a reputation as a monster among directors, though I think it was largely self-perpetuated. Some critics have maligned his treatment of animals and actors in scenes as exploitive, even cruel; when in reality he was quite a deliberate director with an actual concern for safety, and tertiary events events within a scene which seemed real enough that we presume it just happened, were actually intentionally crafted to happen.

The scene where Catriona is battling to escape the coffin and her gasp made me think that (a) she really was in that coffin and (b) that she really was running out of air. It still gives me the  Buggedout Buggedout when the coffin is breached and she is screaming for air like that.

Quote
For instance, Janet Agren's vomiting in the horde of maggots scene, though it may look like something incidental and real, it was just as likely Fulci's design for that to happen, and look like it was real.

Those maggots looked totally real as did that vomit so I guess I was well and truly fooled. I still wouldn't have answered that maggot-infested phone though.  Buggedout TongueOut Wink

Quote
I think Fulci shares a certain degree of something Romero seemed to have: the ability to get the best out of others. Fulci's most memorable films, however, have something other films of his do not, and perhaps that makes the difference, in having much of the same crew (writers, cinematographer, make-up/special effects, and even composer).

I agree there: if LF was a horrible person to work for and with, I don't think that the same people would have worked with him over and over, like Catriona MacColl for example.

Quote
I like that you do keep the humor going through the review with an honest appraisal of your reactions to it. Though you begin the review with Andrew's template, you move into your own style especially as you summarize and wrap up the review.

Thank you, sir: virtual karma for that.  Smile

Quote
I don't really have any disagreement with your take on the film. For me it's one that works in parts, but falls apart as a whole. There are scenes which work beautifully, and others I wish they had thrown in a trashcan. It goes to hell in the last 20 minutes, and the ending I think is along the lines of the contents of the suitcase in Pulp Fiction in leaving leaving it up to the audience to decide what it means; I think that's a poor technique and his The Beyond is an entire film which uses that technique.

I read somewhere that some lab technician spilled coffee on the film master. Whether that's true or not, I don't know.
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2010, 03:20:17 AM »

I saw this on VHS about 10 years ago under the GATES OF HELL title.  I kinda liked it for what it was.. I'll never really like giallo or Euro-horror too often because usually it's too loopy for its own good.  And people in those films have a strange habit of not running away or fighting back when being attacked.  The kills were enjoyable though.  But that ending.. WTF?  Surely it was intended to make more sense and something got cut or tampered with somehow. 
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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2010, 07:22:51 AM »

But that ending.. WTF?  Surely it was intended to make more sense and something got cut or tampered with somehow. 

I just rewatched that at work about 30 minutes ago and it still doesn't make any sense at all.  Question
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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2010, 08:50:17 AM »

I think the ending was basically designed to set it up for a sequel. There was a sequel made, but pretty much an in name only sequel done by somebody else. I've never seen the sequel.
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2010, 09:15:24 AM »

I think the ending was basically designed to set it up for a sequel. There was a sequel made, but pretty much an in name only sequel done by somebody else. I've never seen the sequel.

Do you know the title perhaps? I would like to see it if I could find it.  Smile
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2010, 10:16:11 AM »

Gates of Hell 2: Dead Awakening
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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2010, 10:20:55 AM »

Gates of Hell 2: Dead Awakening

Thanks, Dr M.  Thumbup Smile

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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2010, 07:51:44 AM »

Quote
There are scenes which work beautifully, and others I wish they had thrown in a trashcan.

I think that this is true of all of Fulci's films, except that I would say that there are scenes, ideas, and visuals which work beautifully, and others that are garbage.  The difference between a good Fulci film and a bad Fulci film is the ratio between what works really well and what doesn't work at all.  I've always liked "The Beyond" and have come to realize that my enjoyment is mostly due to Emily, the freaky-eyed mystic.  If there had been less of her in the film, it probably wouldn't be my favorite Fulci flick.
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« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2010, 09:27:38 PM »

My favorite Fulci! It is confusing...as most Fulci fliks are. But It has a weird HP Lovecraft feel to it.....more about gore set ups then anything...but such artistic,scary gore!
Great review,Trevor!  Thumbup Cheers Thumbup
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« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2010, 10:05:52 PM »

I think that this is true of all of Fulci's films, except that I would say that there are scenes, ideas, and visuals which work beautifully, and others that are garbage.  The difference between a good Fulci film and a bad Fulci film is the ratio between what works really well and what doesn't work at all.  I've always liked "The Beyond" and have come to realize that my enjoyment is mostly due to Emily, the freaky-eyed mystic.  If there had been less of her in the film, it probably wouldn't be my favorite Fulci flick.

Interesting that you like his The Beyond so much as that is probably my least favorite of his movies. A good bit of that is probably because I just can't get how that is considered his masterpiece. It has very little plot if any, and is basically a collection of scenarios barely held together with the end result being that the viewer has to play connect the dots to make something out of it. Ultimately it fails on the level of communicating with the viewer, and if it fails on that level it fails on all levels.

Additionally The Beyond suffers from shortcomings inherent in his post Zombie (1979) films, which I'll touch on in a moment, with having to make due with a more limited budget and time constraints to finish regardless of the end result. The Beyond has some excellent effects and atmosphere, yet it also contains some of the worst effects put into one of his movies. Emily was gored to death by a hand puppet, and a guy is killed in a library by fake tarantulas being dragged along the floor by strings.

My favorite of his films is Zombie. What makes it appeal to me is a linear plot, which is unusual for his zombie themed movies, and a consistency in the effects. I think what Zombie had going for it in the production is that the studio was following up with the success of Dawn of the Dead and needed a product those fans would eat up (no pun intended), so they needed a viable product.

Zombie also has the advantage that the script had already existed, though it was originally some kind of pulp adventure in a lost valley with zombie, something along those lines, which was reconstructed to an island with more focus on the zombies.

Subsequent films were hurried as they had already set a standard with Zombie of what to expect from Fulci and were filled with gore and a threadbare plot. Shortcuts were taken because the studios were primarily interested in churning out another product as soon as possible. I think this approach hurt Fulci's subsequent zombie films, and it's a shame as we can certainly see an artistic attempt.

I think City of the Living Dead (Gates of Hell) could have been more. The last 20 minutes is disappointing, as the directions and effects, save for the crypt scene, just goes straight to hell. The build-up in it is great, and they continue a level of doom and gloom through a good part of it.

This works against Fulci as he obviously has a keen eye for direction, for putting something onto film which reeks with his style, but the shortcomings imposed by the studios work against his legacy in the final product.
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« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2010, 02:31:45 AM »

Emily was gored to death by a hand puppet, and a guy is killed in a library by fake tarantulas being dragged along the floor by strings.

 TeddyR TeddyR BounceGiggle

I think you may just have opened my wallet with that statement: if I can find The Beyond again, I will buy and review it.
 
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« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2010, 02:35:01 AM »

My favorite Fulci! It is confusing...as most Fulci fliks are. But It has a weird HP Lovecraft feel to it.....more about gore set ups then anything...but such artistic,scary gore!
Great review,Trevor!  Thumbup Cheers Thumbup

Thanks, RC and also thanks to Paquita.  TeddyR Cheers
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« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2010, 08:49:46 AM »

I found a quote by LF concerning his work the other day. He's quoted as saying "I find much of what I film repugnant but it has to be done." I agree, but what we see is entertaining nonetheless.  TeddyR
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