Customer Reviews: City of the Living Dead
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on October 27, 2004
the negative reviews are missing the point as usual because this is one of Fulci's Golden Greats. of course there's some plot holes and cheesy moments but they are few and far between, and the majority of movie is all guts and gory. all good Fulci movies establish hellish creeping dread that is punctuated by beautiful women, a few laugh out loud moments (some intentional, some not) and many gorious glorious death setpieces natch

although it's not a patch on The Beyond, I love this movie from start to finish, conceding that yes the last 15 minutes of this film is somewhat sketchily presented. howver the end scenes are in keeping with the logic of the narrative to that point, and really, if you've paid attention to a relatively (for Fulci) unconvoluted plot then the last 15 seconds shouldn't leave you "scratching your head". City of the Living Dead is masterful with several classic scenes, and there's few horror directors that have such a deft and entertaining touch when it comes to conveying a sense of encroaching godless doom
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on February 9, 1999
Fulci's follow-up to his enjoyable bloodbath Zombie(1979) is euro-trash sleaze on the outside but multiple viewings have revealed a surreal, scary horror film with a few good ideas, and dripping with gothic atmosphere. A priest hangs himself in Dunwitch, Mass and starts off a deadly chain of events leading up to the end of the world. Only gruff reporter Christopher George, and Medium-returned-from-the-dead Catherine McColl can stop the carnage. Some generaly haunting scenes such as when the priest's ghost appears just before someone gets kacked, and a little boy pursued by the spirit of his dead sister through the deserted streets. Once again, if you can't handle the gore, better stay clear. This features brain squashing, eyeball popping, intestine-barfing, head drilling, and a giant crucifix thrust into a guy's knads. Ouch.
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on May 14, 2003
Forget what a bunch of these other reviewers say when they are knocking this "classic" work by the late great director, Lucio Fulci. Maybe they aren't fans of the Maestro's work, or for Euro-Horror, or more specifically, Italian Horror, in general. Maybe it's just me, but I loved this film when I first saw it at the theatre with my father, back in the early 80's. Right to the beautiful, restored, uncut edition, released by Anchor Bay. True the vhs transfer is somewhat murky, but the AC dvd is the bomb.
I've been a horror film fanatic since I was 12, and have expanded my horizons into the Euro-Cult gen, now that I am 35.
One reviewer mentioned an Italian Superstar in this movie as Robert Kerman. This is not him, in this picture. It is none other than the great Giovanni Lombardo Radice, (AKA John Morghen) who gets a labotomy, courtesy of a nice machine drill.
The movie does not make much sense, then again, how may Italian, Euro-Cult movies do? But that's the fun of this whole movie.
The acting is lame, the dubbing is atrocious, even the late Christopher George's voice is dubbed, with his own voice, of course. But the movie is a non-stop blood bath, for the most part.
You've probably read the other reviews, how a priest hangs himself, and is witnessed, while in a seance, from a group of modern day witches. By doing this he opens up the "Gates of Hell", which must be closed by midnight on "All Hallows Eve", (aka Halloween), or the dead will walk the earth, and rule over the living.
Then in walks the journalist Christopher George, accompanied by the thought dead, beautiful Catriona Macoll, who had witness the hanging of the priest during the seance, and had a heart-failure of sorts, before being discovered alive by George.
Seeing this in her seance & knowing that she must get to this town of "Dunwich" before all hallows eve, to close the gates of hell, along go our 2 heros, off to stop the dead from ruling the Earth.
When they finally get to Dunwich, they meet up with another couple, who have noticed strange going ons in this small town. So, George and Miss Macoll explain to them what may be the root of the problem. Unbelievers, they tend to laugh it off, until they can't ignore what's happenng anymore.
Not all of these 4 heros make it out alive. In fact only 2 do. Which 2, you'd have to watch to find out. But it's not exactly the 2 you might think.
This movie is filled, to say the least, with blood, guts, intestines, and gobs-o-gore. One of my personal favorites of the Euro-cult gen, because this is the first movie, little did I know at the time, that would introduce me to the Euro-Cult gen. Not as plot-driven as Fulci's masterpiece, The Beyond", but still a worthy staple in the Euro-Horror gen.
Italian Cinema, in general, does not have the restrictions that the US has on movies that are distributed over here. So they can go "all out", when it comes to the blood-n-gore department. And all out Fulci goes.
I would, without a doubt, recommend this movie to "any" gorehound out there. I have seen it on the vhs and the Anchor Bay release, and love this movie, no matter how many times I've seen it. So don't listen to these people knocking this movie, they don't know what they're missing.
One of Lucio Fulci's Best.
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on April 13, 2010
IMO this is Lucio Fulci's BEST Horror Epic
Every title Blue Underground has put out on BR
Has been a True labor of love that has surpassed my expectation
I'm gonna pre-order this BR today!
The Film is a Lucio Fulci Film so it will be a Masterpiece in Both Gore and Detail with some of the Best Locations in any Film of 1980
In fact it was shot with such a great eye it has a timeless look
Christopher George and Catriona MacColl are Both Great in the film
The plot is simple a Priest hangs himself which opens the gates of Hell in 3days the dead will walk the earth
A Psychis (Catriona MacColl) and a Reporter (Christopher George) must close the portal in a town that is being Invaded by the Living Dead
No CGI the Special F/X are amazing @ times a bit to real looking with plenty of brain ripping gut spewing, and over the top Gore that make the SAW Films look like Snow White
If this Film was Re-Made it couldn't hold a Candle to this

If you wanna watch a Euro Splatter Film this is the one for you
by the look of the run down the BR will be the Rated X "Uncut" Version (Which is Amazing as far as Horror Films go)
No young kids should watch this it will Freak 'em out

Hopefully Blue Underground can get the rights to All Fulci's Catalog (Zombie and The Beyond were made for HD) For that matter so does all Dario Argento Films!
Thank You Blue Underground keep up the Great work!!!!!!!!

UPDATE 11-2-2010
If you want the ULTIMATE City of the Living Dead BR
You must get the Region Free Import from
It will play in any U.S. BluRay Players so Fear Not!

Arrow's 30th Anniversary Edition of COTLD is without a Doubt the Best BR Edition
The Extras are Simply 5 Star!

* 4 Sleeve art Options (See The comparison with the U.S. next to the UK Import) Arrow video does some of the BEST Art for there Products I wish a Studio in the U.S. would pick up the ball on this
* Double-sided fold out Poster
* Fulci of the Living Dead Collector's booklet,
* Set of 6 original poster art postcards
The Blu Ray Contains:

*Theatrical Cut in Stunning HD,
*Various Audio Formats
7.1 & 5.1 DTS Audio,
2.0 Dolby Digital, 1.0 Mono Audio,
2 Audio Commentaries (Never Released in North America)
* The Many Lives and Deaths of Giovanni Lombardo Radice (I watched this Interview it's Interesting and Compelling
It's a very cool look behind the scenes of a Actor who has done allot of Great Horror Films and his insight to The Films he has worked on) AAA+++ Interview/Featurette
* Fulci's Daughter- Memories of the Italian Gore Meastro
Along with much more Great Extra Exclusive Content That still hasn't come State Side
The Arrow Video BR Import is Close to Flawless 10/10

If you want City of the Living Dead on BR get the Import
Between the Great BR Case Art and All the Extras this is a Masterpiece to add to any Die Hard Italian Horror Fan!!!!!!
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on July 17, 2013
An evil priest ( who, I'll note, resembles famed horror star Christopher Lee ) hangs himself in a cemetery , thereby opening the gate of Hell ( if your to dumb to figure it out, think of the ROPE used to hang him also simultaniously operating as a HOIST to lift the gate, .. . ya gettin it ? ) and unleashing an "implacable enemy who's thirst for blood is never satiated" ( in the words of one character ) upon the town of Dunwich New England, where the air, of late, seems to be "gettin mighty thick" ( in the words of one old local yokel )!
There is a spate of constant "unseasonal" windstorms!
Glass breaks without any apparent cause ( "It could've been the vibration from a passing truck or something" somebody theorizes ) and a wall then cracks open and smoke and a strange eerrie howling voice emit from the fracture!
An inexplicably terrified cat claws it's owner!
A woman has a terrifying vision which puts her in a comma, . . from which she later awakens to find her self sealed alive in a coffin and slowly suffocating!!
The corpse of a deceased old woman mysteriously turns up on the floor of a horrified and astonished womans kitchen, .. and then subsequently disappears from same in a similarly inexplicable manner ( "Maybe she just left!" )!
A raging blizzard of live maggots ( that's right, .. MAGGOTS ) occures!
A painting pierced by flying shards of shattered glass BLEEDS!!
And the recently deceased return as living dead that kill their victims by groping crushing and ripping open their scalps open, including a murdered young girl ( who supposedly died of "sheer fright" ) who revisits her family and murders her parents ( "It WAS Emily!! .. . only she was different! She was like, . .. dead!! .. and she was eating mummy and daddy!!" ), .. or, in the case with the evil priest ( also now resurrected as a "zombie" ), by seemingly transfixing his victims ( who seem to only be female ) with his gaze and causing them to literally regurgitate their selves to death!
The day is saved, however, when the quartet of heros ( a reporter, the aforementioned female seer, a psychiatrist, and his female patient ), having broken and descended into a rat infested underground tomb, confront the evil padre and drive a large splintery wooden crucifix right through his crotch ( eeeeeeow!!!!! ), .. which then bursts into flames, as do likewise the army of walking dead, and the raging conflagration consumes them all, reducing them to cinders!

This flick is particularly famous and renowned for it's spectacular and outlandish gore scenes, . .. especially the aforementioned regurgitation scene. First her eyes bleed what appear to be tears of crimson ( a pretty striking image in it'self actually ) and then she literally pukes her guts out.
The most horrifying and disturbing scene in the film, however, which doesn't even really seem to have much to to with all the previously related supernatural and living dead business of the main story and seems to basically be something of a subplot, is one in which a young vagrant and social pariah type, who's blamed for the aforementioned death of the girl by gosiping local town folks ( THAT seems to be his connection to the main plot ), is caught with another young girl by her appauled and furrious father in his garage, who then beats the guy up and kills him by skewering his head with a power drill fastened to his work bench. Other scenes in this movie, like the girl vomiting her guts out scene described previously, are, however shocking and gross, rather far-fetched, campy and absurd, .. but THIS is something that could actually happen in REAL LIFE and is therefore truly horrifying and disturbing rather than being merely gory and shocking.

The "zombies", .. or ghosts, .. . which ever they are ( they seem to be a kind of combination of both ) are certainly strange and unusual, and are visually pretty frightening and disturbing with their crusty visages and fetid clothing, looking ( to me at least ) as though they've been burnt ( which would make sense considering that they've supposedly came back from death, . .. or from Hell ? ) . They, it should be noted, aren't present throughout the whole movie though ( as the title and promotion seems to suggest ), but appear in mainly a few scenes, including the aforementioned bit about the dead girl killing her family and appearing to her traumatized little brother afterward, and a scene where they invade a tavern and attack a bunch of hick barflies.

Additionally, there are also what appeares to be a discovered human body being devoured by worms ( looking more like it belongs in that movie 'Squirm than in this film ), a looter in a funeral parlor stealing jewelry from displayed corpses getting his hand chewed, rats nibbling a dead victims exposed brains, and a couple of crude talking graveyard workers siting over a skeleton in an opened grave and making comments like "Saw this porno flick once where a guy got so horny that he humped himself to death!! Too much of a good thing I guess! But what a way to go!!"

This flick also features some good horror atmosphere, a scarry musical score, and some actors with the ugliest or creepiest faces ( Director Fulci definately had a knack for casting people for their unique physical appearances ), particularly the ugly barflies, and this eerrie dame named Madame Theresa. A definate must see for horror buffs!
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on October 20, 2012
A catholic priest named Father Thomas who lives in a town called Dunwich just hung himself in a cemetery, so an ancient curse has been awakened as it brings the dead back to life. A New York psychic named Mary (Catriona MacColl) who died out of shock from having a seance with a terrible vision of what things may come was buried alive, a newspaper journalist (Christopher George) just saved her life and become friends. The couple are told that bizarre things are happening in Dunwich such as some mirrors breaking, dead bodies appearing in some places and bizarre zombie-like spirits are appearing killing the living for in 2 days they must head to the town of Dunwich to find the grave of the priest to shut the gates of hell before All Saint's Day.

Creepy and gross as hell Italian supernatural shocker import from the legendary Lucio Fulci as it serves as a follow-up to his successful cult fave "Zombie (aka Zombi 2)". This is the first film of his gates of hell trilogy which began with this then The Beyond (his masterpiece) and finally "House By The Cemetery" as it has a connection to them both loosely. This is another movie that followed in the footsteps of George Romero's successful "Dawn of the Dead" and one of the better imitators so far but this one is more in the tradition of "Phantasm" but does have a small element of Dawn in it with a supernatural twist to it. This one features teleporting zombie-esque ghosts that can literally rip a person's brains out then eat a person but can be destroyed in an unusual way unlike the traditional bullet in the head which is interesting. The story is a little silly but the atmosphere makes it up as it's spooky and loaded with memorable gore from the infamous scene where a girl is hypnotized by the priest's spirit then her eyes bleed then she literally pukes her insides out with blood to the drilling sequence done on famed Italian star Giovanni Lombardo Radice (Italy's whipping boy on film). The film is also known in 1983 when it came here to the states as "The Gates of Hell" to other titles like "Twilight Of The Dead" or "Fear in The City of the Living Dead" to others, this movie has gained success here in the states and other countries despite being banned in a few countries as it became a cult classic even in Japan that it could be one of the inspirations to the Silent Hill games. I first saw this movie when i was 10 years old on video when i rented it as "Gates of Hell" and thought it was one of the scariest/grossest films i've ever seen as it made me a Fulci fan since.

The Blue Underground special 30th anniversary blu-ray is absolutely stunning in highly detailed picture and surround sound that makes it one of BU's best blu-rays ever and heaven for High-def horror junkies. The extras are cool too like a 32 minute documentary on the film to interviews with the stars like Catriona MacColl and Giovanni Lombardo Radice, a featurette on teh cast/crew working with fulci, poster & still gallery, theatrical trailers and radio spots.
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on September 29, 2014
The plot involves a priest hanging himself somewhere in Dunwich (a fictional town created by H.P. Lovecraft), thereby opening the gates of hell. Or, something like that. It's a bit confusing from the outset, due to abrupt cuts from one brief scene to another. There's a séance in New York, a woman seemingly dies of fright. Apparently, this was well before embalming because she's buried alive. If not for a nosy reporter (Christopher George), she would have remained buried. Most of these disjointed scenes make little sense in the scheme of things (like suddenly showing a strange guy in an abandoned building greeting a blowup porn doll!). Characters are introduced in the oddest fashion, be it a therapy secession or some yokels in a bar. We're only given brief glimpses before the scenes switch faster than the click of a View Master. Fulci uses the same effect for his zombies/ghosts, making them appear then disappear with alarming repetition. I found it more than a little disconcerting watching them bounce all over the place; in front of a person then behind them, gouging the brains out of their skulls. There's also a fabulous head drilling sequence that feels as though it was only included to demonstrate what great skills the FX department had. What it had to do with anything in the story was remote. If Fulci wanted to achieve a sense of surrealism then he certainly succeeded, but at the expense of coherence (I'm still puzzling over the abrupt ending that doesn't feel as though it's saying what it should be saying at that point).

I love a few of the set pieces, but I'm also exasperated by the strange disorganized disorder the plagues this film from start to finish. If I had to pick a favorite scene it's when our plucky but doomed heroes are under a cemetery and there are skeletons hanging from the ceiling/ground. Now there's a great image. The rest is just maggots blowin' in the wind.
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on September 1, 2015
I have "fond" memories of "enjoying" this gloriously gooey and totally ridiculous
Fulci zombie flick at the NECON R.I. summer regional horror convention back
around 1984 or so. These evening screenings were usually curated by the Con organizers and Stephen King/horror
fiction scholar Douglas E. Winter, author Craig Shaw Gardner, among others. Mexican Wrestling
Horror movies were also featured. We are talking HIGH CULTURE. We're all still yet to recover.
And all I have to say about this movie is:


(That's all, just.....aim for the brain)
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on January 22, 2015
This is a gem right here i love Lucio Fulci movies. This is one of the best of his,to me not quite as much violence as Cat in the Brain,House by the Cemetery,The New York Ripper,and my favorite The Beyond. This movie here is so oldschool shot really well. The dvd transfer for mine is nice. There are some special features with my version i believe. I just don't get into all those extras i'm just ino the movie. It has a nice creepy story. No CGI just dummies and blood by the buckets. All costume and makeup back when horror films were made with pride and passion. Such a great oldschool horror movie. Check out any Fulci movies. Check out Zombie,Cannibal Holocaust,Cannibal Ferox,Intruder,Burial Ground:The Nights of Terror. Great film. I recommend it,check it out before it's all gone.
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on December 13, 2001
This version of Lucio Fulci's The Gates of Hell deserves better. The video itself is of high quality, but the copy is made from a very poor negative of the film. The film is scratchy and muddy making the film a chour to watch. Recently Anchor Bay has released a beautiful remastering of the film under it's alternate title City of the Living Dead. That version costs less and a MUCH better buy. Seek out that title before purchasing this version. Believe me, you will be much more pleased.
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