Lucio Fulci  

Called the Godfather of Gore by some but that title actually belongs to Herschel Gordon Lewis who invented the splatter genre a decade before. Fulci is a controversial director who got his reputation first by attacking the church and dealing with subjects like sexual abuse, child murders and bloody violence, but then extended his repertoire to gore. Lots of gore. Imaginative gore. Close-ups of gore. While his peer Dario Argento is a horror stylist and big slasher/giallo aficionado, Fulci is more of a bad boy of Italian cinema and unfortunately, his talent does not lie in interesting plots, mature dialog or coherent horror. Ironically, it is his earlier non-splatter giallos that are his best movies. Died in 1996.

Of Some Interest

Zombi 2 (AKA Zombie Flesh Eaters)  
This supposed sequel to Romero's Zombie movies made Fulci popular. The plot involves a journalist who helps a woman look into the mysterious appearance of her father as a rotting flesh eater on a boat in New York. Their investigation leads them to a remote island where a voodoo curse is making the dead come back to life and a deranged doctor is investigating the effect. The gore and effects are good, including the infamous eye-gouging scene and another where zombies eat a guy's intestines, but the plot and acting is severely lacking and it comes off as inferior to Romero's classics. The best and most bizarre scene by far is where a zombie grapples with a shark underwater and they both bite into each other.


Beyond, The (AKA Seven Doors of Death)  
A gory parade and incoherent mess about an old Louisiana hotel hosting a gateway to hell. This flimsy excuse of a background is only there to justify many unrelated gore scenes including a painter that gets whipped by chains, crucified and melted by acid by a lynch mob, lots of pus-ridden and rotten zombies, several variations on eye-gouging, and face-eating spiders. This movie also features confusing continuity issues, blind-girls with scary contact lenses that play spooky music on the piano for no reason, mysterious books, an autopsy room where for some reason the doctors hook up dead bodies to a machine that goes bing, and a whole slew of slow, dimwitted people that utter dumb dialog and that seem to submit themselves to the gore effect specialist without much resistance. Only a gorehound that doesn't care about coherent horror could love this movie.

Cat in the Brain (AKA Nightmare Concert)  
Fulci acts as himself suffering from hallucinations where he sees gory highlights from some of his previous movies in everything he does (including one movie he only produced: Massacre by Bianchi). Things get more confusing when he sees himself killing people in similar ways to his movies and some of the murders turn out real. And thus this badly acted movie rambles on through dozens of badly spliced recycled gory scenes in a kind of dull 'auto-biography' of gory murder highlights, as envisioned by Fulci, 'haunted' by his own violent movies.

City of the Living Dead (AKA The Gates of Hell)  
A plodding mix of Fulci's tired ingredients of uninteresting zombies, a supernatural gateway to hell and a reporter/woman duo who investigate the possibility of this gateway opened by a suicidal priest, thereby causing the end of the world. Two effective scenes are the buried alive scene where a woman awakens in a coffin, and a storm of maggots. The two infamous gore scenes gruesomely show a woman vomiting all her guts out piece by piece, and a drill through the head of an unwilling youngster. In general however, this is mind-numbingly dull and has no characters, plot or scares worth mentioning.

A swords-n-sorcery mess without the swords but with lots of beefcake, cheesecake and a touch of gore. Forget plot, this misty flick moves from one darkly lit action set to another where warriors shoot magic arrows at various creatures while a naked evil sorceress, who wants them dead for some mysterious reason, sends evil monsters after them. Features a couple of short splatter scenes but this is mostly cheese, a confusing lack of plot, and dull acting.

Chaotic and gory crime thriller made by Fulci in the midst of his gory heyday. Smugglers are being overrun by a brutal drug-lord who creates chaos and mistrust by killing off numerous crime-lords and messing with their families. Luca survives but finds himself in the middle of a war. This may not have gut-munching zombies but machine guns and shotguns cause all kinds of gory damage and Fulci is there to zoom in. Along the way, a woman cruelly gets her face burnt off in graphic detail. This has forgettable characters and a messy plot revolving around violence and gore.

Dull even by Fulci's standards. Archaeologists investigate an ancient crypt where heretic nuns were crucified, but when the crypt is opened, violent things start happening in the local village and superstitious fear runs rampant. Only two unrealistic but over-the-top gore scenes were added as an after-thought: cats slash out a woman's eyes and a man is torn into two pieces by ropes (yeah right).

House by the Cemetery  
More nonsense, atrocious dubbing, incoherent plotting and dumb characters that do unrealistic things just in order to give the gore effects crew something to do. A family moves into a house next to a cemetery where dark dead secrets live, and where strange ghosts and babysitters roost. Tombstones in their living room, strange noises and a decapitated head don't seem to bother them much. So the gore crew get to slice, stab and slash them in various ways and get rid of a few leftover buckets of blood.

House of Clocks  
Low on gore but high on bizarre plot, this late TV entry in Fulci's career tells the confusing tale of an old couple who live in a house full of clocks and a dead newlywed couple. This nice pair of senior citizens kill birds and disembowel maids in their spare time. When criminal teenagers invade their house with intent to rob it, things get out of hand, and the clocks start moving backwards which brings the dead back to life.

New York Ripper  
Another giallo (slasher) where the murderer is a mystery until the end when the writers pull a name out of a hat and concoct a ridiculous motive. Since this murderer is directed by Fulci however, he slashes beautiful women's various body parts in nasty ways, and goes on slashing, and slashing... Other exciting ingredients include lots of near x-rated sex and the Donald Duck voice used by the murderer.

Touch of Death  
A really dumb, gory version of Monsieur Verdoux that has a man seduce rich ugly women then murder them and take their valuables and money to support his gambling addiction. It's not enough just to stab them however, he cuts them with a chainsaw, runs them over a dozen times with his car, and feeds pieces to his cat. The black comedy fails, the plot is extremely idiotic and the gore mostly looks fake.

Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 (AKA Zombi 3)  
Yet another apocalyptic zombie movie about an artificially produced virus that goes out of control and a fascist military that goes all out to control the epidemic. The only thing horrific here is the acting. The direction is appalling, the dialog is painful, the effects are lame and the story is a rip-off. For the gorehounds, there is a flying zombie head, a zombie fetus that rips out of a woman's belly, some face ripping, lots of blood and torn limbs. Yawn.

1999- by The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre Table of Contents