Horrorfest 2018 Presents: The House By The Cemetery (1981, Lucio Fulci)


Finally at last I finished Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy, and the last one is the best of the three, so I guess that works out. The House By The Cemetery is a slasher film, a Frankenstein style mad scientist movie, and a ghost movie all rolled into one glorious Italian horror movie package. Its odd that as I grow older and see more of his films I have grown to appreciate Fulci, who certainly loved showing gore in his films but also worked in that same eerie, dreamlike atmosphere as his more famous and better liked colleagues.  House is also a clear influence on the great modern day horror film We Are Still Here, which I previously reviewed. A heartly thanks to Shudder for enabling me to see this 1980s classic.

Poor Bob keeps getting warnings telling him and his parents to stay away from that old creepy house in New England. These warnings should have been heeded, because there are freaky things lurking in the basement. The house, like so many old houses, keeps its own dark, ancient secrets. Norman and Lucy Boyle, Bob’s parents, wish to investigate since Norman’s former co-worker lost his sanity in that very house. Unlike the other two films in The Gates of Hell trilogy, which were zombie films, The House By The Cemetery works mostly as a slasher film.

Fulci was able to create some truly great moments despite his limitations, and The House By The Cemetery showcases those skills. The bat scene is freaky and gory, and there are multiple scenes that are intense and really creepy. Naturally it has a typically strange Italian horror conclusion, although its not too confusing by most horror movie standards. If anything this convinces me to further explore more of Fulci’s work, as I have already seen an okay amount of his movies. Oh and that score is unreal, another reminder that music matters a lot in cinema, period.

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