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House by the Cemetery (1981)

Cast: Nazzareno Cardinali, Catriona MacColl, Paolo Malco, more...
Director: Lucio Fulci
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Rating:
Studio: Blue Underground
Genre: Horror, Supernatural/Occult, Zombies, Italian Horror
Running Time: 87 min.
Languages: English
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Synopsis
This cult horror film from director Lucio Fulci lurches along with a certain amount of disjunction due to cutting, perhaps, if not to an innate Fulci disposition. When the Boyle family temporarily moves into a mansion near Boston so the father can do some research, the son Bob (Giovanni Frezza) starts seeing the ghost of a young girl motioning to him, and eventually he discovers the basement's terrible secret. A certain Dr. Freudstein (Giovanni de Nari) has been hanging out there since 1879 when he was banned from the medical profession, and he has kept himself alive although in miserable physical shape, by murdering the various inhabitants of the house and using their cells to keep his body going. An oversize bat attacks the father, floors come apart and crush unsuspecting victims, and at one point little Bob's blond head is held to the basement door by the evil doctor while the father is wildly swinging his axe through the door to save his son. Scenes like these and others are the real objective of the movie - the strange and irresolute ending, and leaps and gaps in the plot, are indications that all else is dispensible pretext - gore is the goal and it is delivered in sickening doses. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

One of Fulci's best. by AMacEwen5 October 31, 2011 - 7:54 AM PDT
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The degree of incompetence of such mainstream critics as the drones at AMG is truly staggering. It sticks in their craw to give Fulci credit for anything. It's hard to believe she can imply that the disjointedness of the film is not due to Fulci's disposition in light of his two previous zombie excursions, City of the Living Dead and The Beyond. While the effect is largely achieved through editing, its recurring appearance in his Gothics should settle beyond argument the fact that the director's orchestration of his scripts is instrumental. As for her claim that "the strange and irresolute ending, and leaps and gaps in the plot, are indications that all else is dispensible [sic] pretext" is astonishingly thick-headed, as these are not only essential elements of the viewing experience, but also contribute to the otherworldly atmosphere that permeates much of the film. Dread, terror, dream logic, poetically eerie interludes, and yes, the much lauded aesthetic of Suspense, can all be found in The House by the Cemetery. But it seems Fulci's refusal to conform to the Hitchcockian method these Bourgeois Guardians of Classic Aesthetics so narrowly promulgate will forever rub them the wrong way. In short, these movies simply don't behave properly. Never you mind, House is one of Fulci's best. In addition to the aforementioned attributes, there are the trademark scenes of jaw-dropping violence and splatter that literally obtrude their way out of the film's narrative into a filmic space of their own. And the haunting coda is certainly not strange in the way implied: it is deftly set up in earlier scenes. Rent, and enjoy.




GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 6.34)
104 Votes
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