John's Horror Banana-nanza Episode Twenty-One: City of the Living Dead
This movie, part of the Lucio Fulci "trilogy" which included The Beyond and House By the Cemetery, opens up with some excessively creepy music. A priest, Father William Thomas, hangs himself from a tree while a group of psychics play with what looks like a half-assed Ouija board. So we find out he's opened the gates to the portal to Hell or something weird. One of the psychics named Mary goes apeshit crazy and dies right there. Or, kind of dies. Enough to be buried, anyway.
A reporter, played by Christopher George, digs her out of a grave that she was buried alive in and go out looking for answers. Meanwhile, at the bar, three guys sit around and watch the walls come apart and stuff fall off walls and chalk it up to tremors or something until a zombie girl shows up.
And also meanwhile, popular Italian nasty actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice, of Cannibal Ferox fame, runs around apparently high on speed. He has a run-in with an inflateable doll, freaks out, and then for no real reason, an old man runs a drill through his head.
Also, a girl pukes out her own guts.
This movie has a few things about it that reappear in other Italy flicks. One is the random appearance of maggots at inappropriate times. Maybe people thought it was gross, but they usually keep on the maggots for long periods of time. Two, actors from other movies show up in small parts all over the place. The cameraman from Cannibal Holocaust is in this movie as a gravedigger. The psychic from The Beyond is a main character in this movie. It's strange seeing the same people die brutal deaths in all kinds of different ways.
So back to the movie. The two main characters find the gateway to Hell and go into it, and basically the movie gets very anti-climatic. The very, very end is supposed to surprise you (it doesn't) so I won't ruin it. But it's basically a make-up movie with a great soundtrack and no idea where it's going as far as story goes. And there is a LOT of gore. One thing you'll notice, as I said before, the Italians never shied away from the red stuff.
Do I recommend it? It's not as funny as House By the Cemetary, but not as atmospheric as The Beyond. It's average, but very, very bloody.
And it makes almost no sense, per usual for Fulci.
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