Archive for giovanni lombardo radice

CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD (The Gates of Hell) (1980) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , on March 15, 2010 by goregirl

Be sure to vote for your favourite Lucio Fulci film (poll is in my sidebar). The poll closes Thursday night (March 18th) and results will be posted on Friday.

A Priests suicide in the town of Dunwich, opens the gates of hell, now a psychic and a reporter must find a way to close them.

A priest hanging himself in an old graveyard sounds like trouble, but if that graveyard is in Dunwich and happens to be built over the old town of Salem, supernatural hi-jinx are bound to occur! What better place could there be for the gates of hell than a town famous for its witch burning trials? The film opens up with a séance where psychic Mary Woodhouse sees a priest hang himself in a graveyard and something in her vision literally scares her to death. It turns out Mary isn’t dead after all, as curious reporter Peter Bell soon finds out. Mary wakes up in the sealed coffin and begins banging and screaming. Lucky for Mary, Peter is nearby and thinks he hears a noise. Fulci really draws this scene out! It takes forever for Mr. Bell to finally realize and respond to the fact that the noise is coming from the freshly, barely covered coffin. He doesn’t attempt to pry the coffin open but instead swings a pickaxe into the top of the coffin barely missing Mary’s head…THRICE! A fairly bizarre and random way to link up two characters but it made for an interesting scene. Considering Fulci’s body of work, this is one of the more coherent storylines. Gates of Hell, open, must be shut. It’s pretty straightforward really. Although, with that said, Fulci doesn’t exactly go to a lot of trouble to explain anything in detail. The somewhat patchy story is trumped by some amazing visuals and memorable gore scenes.

The dead of City of The Living Dead are not your typical zombies. These guys and gals magically teleport and they can also make your eyes bleed when they stare at you. In fact, one of the best gore scenes in the entire film has dead priest, Father Thomas having a staring contest with a young woman who bleeds from the eyes and then ends up puking up her own entrails. Nasty! There is also a scene where someone gets a drill through the head that looks top notch. These zombies enjoy ripping the back of a person’s head off to expose the gooey brain matter inside. The zombies themselves look pretty gross and have these infected looking sores all over their faces. Of course, there are the trademark Fulci Worms and maggots to look forward to also! Overall, the gore in City of the Living Dead is super dandy and is its biggest plus.

Catriona MacColl plays Mary Woodhouse and I found her fairly likeable in the role. However, considering it was her damn idea to go to Dunwich and close the doors to hell she got pretty freaking useless in the end! MacColl would go on to star in two more Fulci films; The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery. Christopher George is somewhat comical in his delivery and adds a certain amount of levity. The duo hooks up with Dunwich psychiatrist Gerry played by Carlo De Mejo who ends up being the least useless of the three characters. He manages to save their asses more than once. Father Thomas played by Fabrizio Jovine is a believable badass priest but in fairness the man barely utters a word. Supporting characters Bob, played by Giovanni Lombardo Radice and Tommy, played by future director Michele Soavi both have brief but memorable roles.

The patchy story and some sloppy editing prevent me from giving City Of The Living Dead a perfect mark. Despite some flaws I enjoy the hell out of City of the Living Dead. Fulci stages some creative kills and the sets and props are great. He adds some stylish direction that conjures up some impressive atmosphere. The music is used to great effect, and you know when it lulls you into warm and comfy territory that it will suddenly rip your heart out. Highly Recommended.

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Lucio Fulci

Starring: Christopher George, Catriona MacColl, Carlo De Mejo, Antonella Interlenghi, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Daniela Doria, Fabrizio Jovine, Luca Venantini, Michele Soavi, Venantino Venantini

HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK (1980) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , on January 4, 2010 by goregirl

‘House On The Edge Of The Park’ was a recommendation left for me some time ago. Directed by Ruggero Deodato the man behind ‘Cannibal Holocaust’, I was all ramped up for some extreme violence. ‘House’ has its disturbing moments to be sure but the film is actually a slow boil and is almost gore-free. It is a film that definitely gets under your skin though.

Mechanic Alex and his friend Ricky invite themselves to the party of an attractive socialite couple after they pull into his garage with car troubles. When it becomes obviously that the group are having fun at their expense Alex lays siege and terrorizes the group. But the group of attractive well-to-do’s may have their own agenda.

In the films opening scene we see Alex forcing a woman to stop her car, who he then rapes and strangles to death. ‘House On The Edge Of The Park’ is a harsh film, make no mistake about it. But for a harsh film not all that much really happens. Alex is a rather unsavoury character, but the group of young, arrogant well-to-do’s don’t exactly garner any empathy. The only character in this film I had any sympathy for at all is Alex’s simple friend Ricky. Well, him and poor Cindy, the neighbour who drops by uninvited. Poor Cindy is in the films most brutal scene, and she even gets her own theme song. I was engrossed by the stark and brutal film style and it definitely has a sleazy exploitative quality. I did have some issues with ‘House’ however. I felt really annoyed by the group’s inability, or outright refusal to fight back. This is explained to some extent in the films ending but still didn’t work for me. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the ending. On one hand it does answer some questions, but on the other hand it poses a few new ones that are never answered.

The performances are pretty good. David Hess cuts an intimidating figure and is a memorable sociopath. Giovanni Lombardo Radice is convincing as Ricky, his dim-witted friend. He emulates Alex but is incapable of being his equal. This is clear in a scene where Alex insists he have his way with one of the women at the party. Ricky cannot bring himself to violate the shaking and crying woman. Annie Belle is spot on as the snobby Lisa and takes teasing to a whole new level. At one point in the film she actually invites Alex to shower with her and refuses to see it through.

It’s not much of a surprise when Alex goes ape shit on the group. It’s clear he hasn’t come for the martinis and the good company. The group have a lot of fun at Ricky’s expense, getting him drunk and then cheering him on as he does a striptease and then stealing all his money in a rigged poker game. Meanwhile Lisa is teasing the hell out of Alex, who all things considered, seems to be on his best behaviour. But his last nerve is trampled on and all shit breaks loose. Both male party guests have the snot beaten out of them. One of the guys is thrown into the pool to cool down and is then pissed on by Alex. He spends the rest of the film tethered to the leg of a coffee table. But it’s the women in the film that endure the real humiliation.

There is lot’s of nudity in this film. The camera lingers often on the naked bodies of its female cast. Even Hess gets naked. But if you are looking for a body count, you’ll want to look elsewhere. ‘House On The Edge Of The Park’s’ strong menacing atmosphere is quite effective but it is a little slower paced than I would have expected. The inability of the victims to fight back as well as an iffy ending did leave a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth, but I still found the film strangely compelling. The films soundtrack is excellent and that Cindy Oh Cindy song still haunts me. The disc we rented had a lengthy interview with Hess that is actually quite interesting, as well as considerably shorter interviews with Giovanni Lombardo Radice and director Ruggero Deodato. Enjoy would be the wrong word to use here, but I actually liked this film. Recommended…with warning.

Dungeon Rating: 3/5

Directed By: Ruggero Deodato

Starring: David Hess, Annie Belle, Christian Borromeo, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Marie Claude Joseph, Gabriele Di Giulio, Brigitte Petronio, Karoline Mardeck, Lorraine De Selle