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Lucio Fulci (1927 - 1996)
Related: Italian cinema - Italian horror - giallo films - director
The Beyond (Limited Edition) (1981) - Lucio Fulci [Amazon.com]
Lucio Fulci (born June 17, 1927 in Rome, Italy - died March 13, 1996 in Rome, Italy (diabetes-related illness)) was an Italian film director, screenwriter and actor.
After studying medicine, he opted for a film career, working in a wide variety of genres in Italy. In the early 1970s he moved into the thriller arena, directing giallo films that were both commercially successful and controversial in their depiction of violence and religion.
In 1979 he achieved his international breakthrough with Zombi II, an excessively bloody zombie film made to cash in on the popularity of Dawn of the Dead, released in Italy as Zombi (it is not connected in any meaningful way to the George Romero series). He followed up with several classic tales of horror and the supernatural, many also featuring zombies, which are widely regarded as some of the goriest films ever made. At his peak his fame and popularity was on a par with that of his Italian contemporary Dario Argento. His films remained generally dismissed by the mainstream, who regarded his work as pure exploitation, but he was immediately embraced by horror fans, and later much of his work began to be re-appraised as pioneering works of art.
The period from the mid-1980s onwards was less successful for Fulci, suffering from personal and health problems, and marking a decline in the quality of his work. His death in 1996 is clouded in mystery: he did not take his insulin to treat his diabetes and died that night. Some suggest this was a deliberate suicide. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucio_Fulci [Apr 2005]
The Beyond (1981) - Lucio Fulci
The Beyond (1981) - Lucio Fulci [Amazon.com]
Lucio "King of the Eyeball Gag" Fulci made his name with a series of gory, gooey horror epics, and The Beyond stands above all as his outré masterpiece. The largely incoherent plot has something to do with a turn-of-the-century curse and a doorway to hell in the cellar of an old New Orleans hotel. Fulci shows his usual sensitivity with wooden acting, clumsy dialogue, and buckets of oozing blood and pus, but don't let that get in the way of enjoying this mad tale of zombies from hell invading Earth and eating their way through a cast of humans: crucified martyrs, blind visionaries, creepy hotel handymen, befuddled cops, and a plucky pair of heroes desperately fleeing a horde of hungry undead. The blood-red art direction is eerily beautiful, and Fulci's relentless long takes, punctuated by jolting shock cuts and eruptions of grotesque violence, create a mood of sheer paranoid horror right down to the final, mind-bending image. And don't forget the Fulci claim to fame: eyes are gouged out, eaten away, melted with acid, and (shudder) popped out by a spike through the back of the skull. Yech! If you dare ignore such piddling details as narrative logic and let yourself get carried away on the creepy visuals, it's a deliciously stylish treat, an edgy bit of gothic gore pitched in all its bone-crunching, flesh-ripping, organ-splatting glory. This sadistic, sanguinary hell-spawn tale is for gore-hounds only.--Amazon.com
Don't Torture a Duckling (1972) - Lucio Fulci
- Don't Torture a Duckling (1972) - Lucio Fulci [Amazon.com]
The oddly titled Don't Torture a Duckling (taken from a minor plot point) is one of director Lucio Fulci's most linear and conventional narratives, relying more on story and mystery than on gore and atmospherics. In a rural Italian village, young boys turn up dead, and the authorities are stumped as to who the murderer is. A reporter lends his efforts to the hunt for the killer, many red herrings turn up, and more kids are murdered while the police search for the culprit. A sexually liberated young woman from Milan, a local witch, and the village idiot all fall under suspicion until the killer is uncovered. Gone is much of the director's trademark visual style, replaced with the blinding sunlight of an Italian summer for a hyperrealistic feel (though Fulci's affinity for the zoom shot and deep focus comes through). More tellingly, though, Fulci points toward the superstition and ignorance of the villagers as being as dangerous and destructive as the murderer himself. Also, the film's vehemently anti-Catholic sentiment had to have been controversial at the time of its release. Fans of the giallo and Italian horror in general would do well to seek out this film for an example of Lucio Fulci at his most grim and serious. --Jerry Renshaw for amazon.com
Zombi 2 (1979) - Lucio Fulci
Zombi 2 (1979) - Lucio Fulci [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
The most well-known of Lucio Fulci's films, Zombi II sparked an obsession with zombie films across Europe and made Fulci a horror icon. Upon its release in 1979, Zombi II was ridiculed for having no connection to the original Zombi and was scorned for its extremely bloody content, yet the film was a tremendous success.
Zombi II is a pseudo-sequel to George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead. Dawn was re-edited and re-scored for European markets by Romero's collaborator, Italian horror master Dario Argento. Argento released his new version of Dawn of the Dead as Zombi and treated it as a standalone story, not a contination of Romero's Night of the Living Dead.
When Zombi was a huge financial success, the sequel was rushed into production and released just a little over a year later.
A young woman named Ann (Tisa Farrow) is questioned by the police when it's discovered that the boat belonged to her father. She doesn't know anything except that her father left for a tropical island far away for research. Meanwhile, a reporter named Peter West (Ian McCulloch) is assigned by his news editor (director Lucio Fulci in a cameo) to get the story on the mysterious boat. Ann and Peter meet on the boat and decide to work together after finding a note from Ann's father. The note says that he's on the island of Matool and that's come down with a strange disease. Enlisting the add of a sea-faring couple, Brian (Pier Luigi Conti) and Susan (Auretta Giannone), to help find Matool.
On Matool, Dr. David Manard (Richard Johnson) is hard at work studying. Matool is a cursed place where the dead rise to attack the living, and Manard is determed to find out why. When Ann, Peter, Brian, and Susan reach Matool the island itself seems to come alive, vomiting forth all the dead buried on the island to kill them.
Zombi II in Europe
Despite the massive popularity of the film, Zombi II was banned in several countries due to the massive gore content, including Great Britain (lead actor Ian McCulloch, who is British, never actually had the opportunity to watch the film until he recorded a commentary for a DVD release of Zombi II some twenty-two years later and was shocked at the gore level).
Zombi II's massive European box office take also paved the way for three more sequels, which, like their precessor, have no relation to any other film in the series--they are all self-contained plots. While the Zombi series proved to be incredibly lucrative, Zombi II is by far the most recognizable of the European zombie imports.
Zombi II in the United States
Zombi II was released merely as Zombie in America and was considered a stand-alone film here with no connection to Romero's zombie canon. The theatrical trailers for Zombie provided the memorable tagline of "We Are Going to Eat You!" and showcased the some of the make-up effects, but did nothing to indicate the plot of the picture ( although the audience was indeed warned about the graphic content of the film: a humorous crawl at the end of the preview promises "barf bags" to whoever requested them upon viewing the film). Although the film was released unrated, persons under the age of seventeen were not permitted to attend viewings of the picture, even with a parent.
The film picked up a massive cult following once it made it to videotape, although a muddy full-screen transfer angered hard-core fans of the film. Twenty-two years later, Anchor Bay released a cleaned-up, widescreen DVD version of the film to a tremendous response. Not to be outdone, companies Blue Underground and Shriek Show films later released competeing Twenty-Fifth Anniversary editions of the film; the Shriek Show version is considered the better of the two.
other films in the Zombi series made it to America as video releases--none were released theatrically in the States. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombi_II [Apr 2005]
Non avere paura della zia Marta (1989) - Mario Bianchi
Non avere paura della zia Marta (1989) - Mario Bianchi
image sourced here.
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