In 1980 a grim little gem of Italian celluloid by the name of 'Paura nella città dei morti viventi' crawled toward the big screen. By the time it hit America in 1983 it had translated into 'The Gates of Hell' only later to title change one final time into 'City of The Living Dead'.
At the time I knew nothing of Italian horror cinema and even less about one of its stars Senor Fulci. In 1983 I was working at a day care tending to infants and daydreaming about my future. One day a precocious eight year old with parents who worked and no summer school to attend spent the day with me and the tots. We spoke of many things but with fidgety anxiousness she confessed she had a story to tell. Older cousins had taken this kiddie to the drive-in and it was there that she had seen a nightmare come to life. She spoke of dead priests, bleeding eyeballs, drill bits to the brain, organs bloodily vomited, and the zombie hoard rising up to overtake the world. She reminded me of myself at her age, viewing film spectacles causing imagination to be both terrified and stimulated, and longing for more.
'City of The Living Dead' is a gory, cheesy mess of a film directed by a man who must scratch his head and say I like it and that’s good enough. Common sense is always thrown out the window in favor of lots of gore, crude effects, and unimaginable scenes of disgusting death all adding up to a bizarre train wreck of wonder for any horror/splatter fan. Lugio Fulci’s films are a sight to behold.
In the city of Dunwich all hell breaks loose literally and it’s up to Reporter Peter Bell (Christopher George) to find out what happened to New York psychic Mary Woodhouse (Catriona MacColl), why Father William Thomas (Fabrizio Jovine) took his life, and just what might happen to the world this All Saints Day. If you have never seen a Fulci film 'City of The Living Dead' isn’t a bad place to start. I took the advice of a budding horror fan some thirty years ago and was hooked forever on terror done the Italian way. Perhaps you will be too.