City of the Living Dead (1980)
By: Ryan Morrissey-Smith on January 27, 2015 | Comments
Cinema Cult | Region B | 1.78:1, 1080p | English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 | 92 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Lucio Fulci
Stars: Christopher George, Catriona MacColl, Carlo De Mejo, Antonella Interlenghi, Giovanni Lombardo Radice
Writers: Dardano Sacchetti, Lucio Fulci
Country: Italy
Question: If a movie makes no sense can it still be good? Answer: Of course it can, and this is the case with Lucio Fulci's gory, splatter filled zombie flick City of the Living Dead.

In a very and unnecessarily over complicated story line: a psychic Mary (Catriona MacColl) in New York dies whilst receiving a vision of a priest hanging himself in the town of Dunwich, in New England. In doing so he has unlocked the gates of hell, and so the freshly exhumed Mary, who wasn't all that dead it turns out, and reporter Peter (Christopher George) head to Dunwich to try and stop the zombie apocalypse. Yes, it makes little sense, but what it lacks in sense, it makes up for with a moody, dark and fantastic score, creepy shots and some very impressive practical effects and sets.

The acting isn't all that great but it doesn't particularly need to be. MacColl, George and the rest of the cast do a serviceable job at moving the film along. Undisputedly though the star of City of the Living Dead is its atmosphere and effects. From the very first shot the film drips with a creepy atmosphere, the only thing that breaks this atmosphere is some of the acting and the dialogue, but push that aside and you can revel in some truly nightmarish scenes. Fulci is certainly never one to play down what is on screen and City of the Living Dead has some of his most iconic and dread inducing visions. The shot of MacColl scratching at the inside of a coffin is nightmare material, of course along with Fulci's visual flair comes the weirdness like the close ups of everyone's eyes all through the film. It is off putting at first but it does become somewhat of a trademark shot.

As previously mentioned the practical effects are great especially for 1980. There are teleporting zombies, head drillings, gooey zombies, lots of scalp and brain crushing, flying maggots and last but not certainly not least the emptying of all stomach contents, intestines, the whole kit and caboodle through a mouth. Very disgusting, but very impressive.
The Disc
The film looks pretty decent. Cinema Cult's 1080p Blu-ray is crisp, however still grainy, which to be honest helps with the films atmosphere. The 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio track is excellent, no crackle, no nothing, its pure quality. Although I haven't seen the DVD version of this film I'm going to go out on a limb and say this better, and worth the purchase.

The disc is loaded with a hell of a lot of goodies. including a theatrical trailer, stills gallery, Audio commentary with Giovanni Lombardo Radice, a second commentary with Catriona MacColl & Jay slater, and and collection of interesting interviews with some of the cast.

Fulci in the house – The Italian Master of Splatter (an examination of Fulci's horror career with input from Joe Dante, Lloyd Kaufman and Anthony Timpone).

Carlo of the Living Dead – Surviving Fulci Fear (Interview with Carlo De Mejo).

Dame of the Dead – Catriona MacColl Returns (interview with Catriona MacColl).

Fulci's Daughter – Memories of the Italian Gore Maestro (Interview with Antonella Fulci).

Penning Some Paura (Interview with Screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti).

Profondo Luigi – A Colleague's Memories of Lucio Fulci (Interview with Luigi Cozzi).

Live from the Glasgow Theatre (a pretty funny if not nerdy Q&A).

The Many Lives (& Deaths) of Giovanni Lombardo Radice (Interview with Giovanni Lombardo Radice, who discusses his noteworthy horror career in-depth.
The Verdict
It makes little sense and has some average acting, but City of the Living Dead is immensely watchable and is probably Fulci's creepiest film. If you like your zombie films a little bit different and your gore totally disgusting, then City of the Living Dead is something you should seek out.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
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