Directed By: Lucio Fulci
Starring: Christopher George, Catriona MacColl, Carlo De Mejo, Janet Agren, Antonella Interlenghi, Daniela Doria
Synopsis: A priest commits suicide, opening the gates of Hell and it’s up to a reporter and a psychic to stop it.
Thoughts: They don’t call Lucio Fulci the Godfather of Gore for nothing! City of the Living Dead is the first installment of the Gates of Hell trilogy, with the other two being The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery. It is known by many other titles, most notably The Gates of Hell.
Although the story is scattered, the acting is pretty decent. Christopher George gives a pretty good turn as the reporter that investigates the death of a psychic that leads him to discover the prophecy of the Gates of Hell. Catriona MacColl gives a solid performance as Mary the psychic as well.
It has what you expect from a Fulci Zombie flick, plenty of recently dead folks wreaking havoc on the general populous in the goriest ways imaginable. It isn’t Fulci’s best, and not even his best zombie flick (see The Beyond and Zombie). The plot is sometimes muddled, with some seemingly unneeded scenes throughout, perhaps just to ramp up the gore level. Two scenes do stand out in City, mostly for their shock value; the head drilling scene and the intestine purging scene. The head drilling scene is probably the most infamous, and is often credited with the film earning an X rating upon initial release. During the scene where actress Daniela Doria puked up her own innards, the used real sheep guts. Talk about a dedicated actress!
If you are a fan of Zombies or Italian horror, you have most likely watched this already, but if you haven’t, give it a shot. Fulci is not for everyone, and definitely not for those with a weak stomach.