The House by the Cemetery – Special Edition
Let’s face it…unless your last name is Bava or Argento, as an Italian horror director, you suck.
Yeah, I know a lot of people throw Lucio Fulci’s name in there with the greats. But really, aside from some classic gore scenes in his best-known films (probably “Zombie” and “The Beyond”) can anyone really argue with a straight face that he possessed any distinctive talent as a director? No, Fulci is a cult-legend because of his audacity, not his ability. He simply had the balls not to turn the camera away during scenes of eyeball-puncturing, organ vomiting or skull drilling.
As a storyteller, he sucked. His only true gift was creating unusual and grisly ways for people to die. That’s not always a bad thing, but once you run out of those ideas, you still have to tell a story. Which is why “The House by the Cemetery” is a depressing and colossal bore. Coherent narrative was never Fulci’s strong point (what he has, in the past, euphemistically described as surrealism), and despite some savage scenes of carnage in this film, not only are they nothing the seasoned horror fan hasn’t seen before, they are few and far between. Fulci inserts a few half-assed gore set-pieces into a flimsy ghost story with irritating characters we don’t give a damn about (the most obnoxious being a child character whose voice is laughably dubbed by an obviously-adult voice actor).
Still, a lot of horror fans love the guy (though they should probably direct that love more towards Fulci’s special effects teams). This disc is probably one completists will want in their collection, since it includes a lot of extras the original Anchor Bay DVD did not). But even fans are likely to admit “The House by the Cemetery” does not rank among Fulci’s most audacious efforts. If you really want the definitive Fulci film, pick up “Zombie” or try to find the Grindhouse release of “The Beyond.”
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