Wednesday, May 19, 2010

City of the Living Dead (1980)

The suicide of a priest in a New England cemetery somehow opens a gate of hell and subsequently unleashes the dead on the town of Dunwich. A reporter and a psychic girl he rescues from being buried alive (with a pickax to the front of the coffin that she is in...don't those things open from the side?) must find the city before All Saints Day as this is when all of the dead will return. Once there, they team with a local psychiatrist and a patient to locate the demonized priest and destroy him.

There really isn't a great sense of urgency with the ghouls of City of the Living Dead. Granted, they do seem to enjoy a good brain squeeze (awesome, by the way, makes me wish more movie zombies had such hand strength), yet they seem to be just as comfortable lying motionless on someone's kitchen floor or simply messing with people through shattered glass wall bleedings and maggot showers (of course, it is in these details that Fulci is so rightfully esteemed).

I've really never been much of a gorehound. It isn't so much the graphic imagery that bothers me, but rather that the efforts put into this aspect of a movie more often than not seem to overshadow the actual story. All the same, I've always had a soft spot for Fulci (even if I think his best films are the more giallo-minded ones) and therefore am more willing to ignore the occasional odd pacing or unexplained bits that inevitably arise.

How were the ghouls able to transport themselves telepathically? Why did even the recently deceased have faces that resembled pizza with the cheese pulled off? What was with the brain squeezing (again, awesome), but still, that is some serious strength for the rapidly deteriorating dead? Does any of this even matter?

No, it does not.

Also, continuing on this subject of gore for the sake of gore, kudos to the boyfriend who somehow doesn't lose his lunch when his girl slowly and methodically spits up most of her intestines and internal organs from within the relatively cramped space of a 2 seater automobile. Too bad for him his actual reaction was not to run like hell.


This is basically what 12 years of Catholic school upbringing looked like to me.


  1. Very nice review of an awesome movie, sir. When I saw the trailer to this film, that brain squeezing bit was always the part I looked forward to. That shit just turned into Playdo in that zombie's hand!

    Catholic school is probably the most frightening thing you mentioned in this entire review.

  2. Hey, now...Catholic school made me who I am today. Namely, an atheist, but still.