Wednesday, August 26, 2020

City of the Living Dead, Internal Organs, Worms, and Maggots, Oh My!

Best Lucio Fulci films? For me, 1980's "City of the Living Dead" and 1979's "Zombie," with many a close third. Extreme and elongated gore coupled with beautiful Italian babes dying so horribly seems to add a bit of spice to Giallo. True, Giallo is a sub-genre that may not need spice, but the added gratuity is appreciated and looked upon fondly. Yep, today we look at "City of the Dead," where an Italian babe will vomit out her internal organs, and many more will have their brains pulled out from the back of their skull. In this H.P. Lovecraft-type story, Lucio Fulci has written a love letter to his fans.
A weird priest hangs himself in a cemetery in Dunwich (think Salem). This sets forth an evil chain of events where the gates of Hell will be opened and the dead will no longer find rest (think zombie infestation). This evil will culminate on All Saints Day, a few days away, and the chain of events begins. Babe Mary (Catriona MacColl) dies at a seance in which she sees the priest's suicide. She won't stay dead as she awakes in her coffin as it is being buried. Peter (Christopher George), a reporter saves her. Then an Italian, seeking pre-marital sex with her boyfriend, will have worms and slime smeared all over her pretty face by a zombie...and die. More gruesome deaths occur, including a sultry babe vomiting out her internal organs as her boyfriend has his brains pulled out.
Okay, Mary and Peter figure out what is going on. We've all seen it before (The Carter Administration), when the gates of Hell are opened. Solution...the duo need to find Dunwich and the corpse of the evil priest. Joining them is the sultry Sandra (Janet Agren), a whack ball, and her shrink Gerry (Carlo De Mejo)...a hunk. Maggot storms won't stop them, and either will more of the living dead...actually the sultry Sandra will have a most gruesome demise at the hands of the formerly sultry Emily (Antonella Interlenghi). No one will miss the whack ball  Sandra as Mary is more sultry and still alive. The quartet, or trio now, arrives in Dunwich with a horrific plan that may just take them to the gates of Hell...and hopefully back.
Does the appetite for sultry Italian babes speak to the human qualities of the undead in Fulci films? Will Mary get a chance to die a second time, and if so, will she cease being sultry? Are maggots, worms, and internal organs plot devices that could spice up the boring cinema of the 21st century? Gore and babes dying horribly! Who wants to see that? I know...stupid question. Answer Lucio Fulci's love letter by watching "City of the Living Dead," and perhaps do it as a double feature with "Zombie."


  1. I used to have this big box with the title "Gates Of Hell".

  2. Great review, difficult film to get through.

  3. Such a magnificent film and your review sells it perfectly for others to want to check it out.