city of the living dead

In the realm of Italian filmmaking, there are generally three big names that come up again and again in conversations about innovation, style, and universal appeal: Dario Argento, Mario Bava, and Lucio Fulci. Argento is still alive and making films, and Bava had a very successful career as a cinematographer before coming into his own as a visual director. But it is the staggering variety (and prolific career) of Lucio Fulci that is the focus of this week’s column.

Growing up, I had a really close friend who would scour the then emerging internet for lists of movies and then hunt them down relentlessly for our viewing. There was always one film that eluded us however. That was Lucio Fulci’s 1980 film, “City of the Living Dead” (also known as “The Gates of Hell” in some home video releases). What drew us to the it was the description of the insanely over the top gore, women vomiting up their internal organs, people’s brains being ripped out the back of their skulls, men having their heads run through with power drills... this movie sounded insane.