City of the Living Dead

Talk about starting a film with a bang.  Lucio Fulci’s celebrated first part of his ‘Gates of Hell’ trilogy begins with the suicide of a priest and a medium dying during a seance.

Nosy reporter Peter Bell played by exploitation film legend Christopher George sniffs around and finally makes his way to the recently buried medium Mary’s grave.  When the gravediggers clock off Peter hears muffled screams which appear to be coming from Mary’s coffin.  She isn’t dead!!  Eventually freeing her with a pickaxe Bell listens to her story about an impending apocalypse involving the dead rising up and a small town (not even on the map) called Dunwich.

As with a lot of Fulci’s films the visuals are excellent and the make up effects here are exceptional and at times pretty quite gross.  The music is unnerving and really adds to a film stained in atmosphere.  However the real selling point of this new release is the new transfer struck by Arrow Films from the original negative.  The movie has probably never looked this good especially compared to some of the crappy video releases since the days of the original release (in the UK) by the sadly missed Intervision.  Arrow have retained that great video art as well.

Rammed full of extras including commentaries, interviews and a new appreciation of Fulci by Andy Nyman.  It’s a cracking box set topped off with a poster, lobby cards and a 60 page book as well.  Shame there’s no blow up doll included like the one appreciated by Giovanni Lombardo Radice’s pervy character Bob.

A real decent horror from the a man who when he was firing on all cylinders was one of the great craftsman of Italian cinema.  Quite messed up in parts and if you have never seen it give it a bash.

  • Starring Christopher George  Catriona MacColl  Carlo DeMejo  Janet Agren
  • Director Lucio Fulci