City of the Living Dead (1980)

Man, even the movie poster shows Lucio Fulci’s hatred of eyeballs.

A bunch of folks in New York City host a seance, during which a woman named Mary sees a priest hanging himself and results in her going comatose and being buried alive. It’s soon revealed that what Mary saw is in fact a vision of the future, in which the priest’s suicide will open the gates of Hell, so now folks have to go to a small town to try and stop things from happening. Guess who doesn’t save the world, folks?

Yeah, we’re back to Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy, this time with the original film. I know, I’m terrible for not talking about these in order, but they’re only thematically connected, so don’t worry about it.

How does City of the Living Dead fare? It has some great gore effects, as does just about everything Fulci does, but certain effects are used way too often to keep them interesting, particularly brain squeezing. Once again the plot doesn’t make much sense and jumps around. There are also a few things that never get explained, such as why zombies can teleport and die from getting stabbed in the stomach, but Fulci does successfully create a creepy atmosphere in the sleepy town of Dunwich. Yep, we’re in Lovecraftian territory here. Do you know what to do when you enter Lovecraftian territory? You get the fuck out! Do not pass GO, do not collect $200, and do NOT stop running until you’ve abandoned the continent, the planet, or gone insane. That’s pretty much your only option.

Unfortunately for our heroes, they don’t do this. This results in murder, a ghost priest making folks vomit their insides out, and everything going to pot really quick. A fog rolls in, and as we should all know by now, nothing good ever comes of a fog rolling in. You can get lost in those easily, accidents happen, and weird monsters from alternate dimensions or ghost pirates show up and make you kill your kids. True story.

Surprisingly, while this movie was seized by police in the UK, it didn’t officially make it onto the Video Nasty list. Fun fact.

Also, this movie taught me that maggot winds and bleeding walls are gross, as are mentally and physically handicapped sex fiends with blowup dolls in abandoned houses. I’m curious if this is a common occurrence in places like Massachusetts. I’m thinking that’s a yes.

And never live in a town with a name from a Lovecraft story. Just don’t do it. You know what? Just to be safe, avoid New England. It will kill us all.

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