Way back in January I said that one of my resolutions was to watch more films. Not exactly a hard resolution to keep so it’s a good thing I have stuck to it. I can’t remember if I said it at the time but one of the caveats I wanted to place on the resolution was that I wanted to watch a wide range of films, from the latest films to old classics and also films from further afield then America and England.
In the last couple of days I’ve added another strand to the resolution in that I want to try and recapture my love of horror. The reason for this stems from some interesting points made by Mark Kermode in his YouTube videos and also a conversation I had with my mate. I’ll go into that in a separate post and keep this to just talking about City of The Living Dead.
No idea what to expect
Before watching this film I had no idea what to expect, nor did I know of Lucio Fulci’s cult status. I was actually browsing through the Amazon Prime catalogue of films for anything by Dario Argento. When I found some of his films I thought I’d look at the tab that tells you what other customers watched, which is how I stumbled upon City of The Living Dead.
The synopsis was interesting enough –
LAA reporter and a psychic race to close the Gates of Hell after the suicide of a clergyman caused them to open, allowing the dead to rise from the grave
but it was the year it came out – 1980 – that sealed the deal. When I think of the 1980’s I think of moral panics and video nasties. Seeing as I was born in 1986 I missed that whole era and apart from a few films, is a whole swath of cinematic history that I don’t know too much about. As a brief side note, The Exorcist, from all the way back in 1973, is undoubtedly, indisputably, my favourite horror film of all time and I still struggle to get to the end.
Anyway, I thought if anything was going to shake me out of my horror apathy, it would be a dose of unrestrained, batshit mental horror from back in the day. And you know what, City of The Living Dead didn’t disappoint.
Yes there are things that happen that don’t make a lick of sense, and yes there are times when you’re going to laugh at what the characters say or do and think wow, this is ridiculous. But running throughout the film is a sense of fun and terror. Unhinged fun, but fun nonetheless.
There’s people crying blood, waking up in coffins, coughing up their intestines, heads being ripped open by bare hands and a scene with a drill that is so OTT you can’t help but just go ‘wow’. Oh, and a scene with maggots that leaves you shaking your head thinking ‘what?’
All of this is accompanied by a genuinely awesome soundtrack.
Now like I said, I didn’t know anything about the director but on two occasions as I was watching I did think about Quentin Tarantino. The first was when a woman – who was apparently dead – wakes up in a coffin. The way she claws at the coffin made me think of Kill Bill 2, and the whole crying tears of blood brought to mind Kill Bill 1. A little look on the IMDB message boards told me that Tarantino is apparently a big fan of Fulci.
Soul and Substance
So did City of The Living Dead do the trick and get me back into the swing of things in regards horror films? Absolutely. Would I watch another Lucio Fulci film? Definitely. Do I think there is more soul and substance in City of The Living Dead then there is in more recent horror? I have to say yes, but that doesn’t mean that all horror right now is bad, but that is a discussion for the follow up post.
And here’s the trailer