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Showing 1-10 of 112 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 267 reviews
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 July 11, 2017
So, this is part of the wave of gory Italian horror movies of the late '70s and early '80s. They don't skimp on the blood or the guts, but they sure didn't pay much attention to the plot or the characters. When you aren't confused, you're bored, but you'll mostly be confused (I guess that's a mild positive?) A priest hangs himself to kick off the end of the world, someone gets prematurely buried, everyone has skulls made out of papier mache, magic teleporting zombies kill a few random townsfolk, and the unstoppable cosmic evil is undone by a pointy stick...or IS it? The ending made me roll my eyes so hard I got a face cramp. No two plot threads connect to one another in a way that makes sense or moves the story anywhere but closer to the end credits. There's a few nice make-up jobs on the living dead, some interesting sets, and one or two jaw-droppingly weird sequences (one involving something like 50 pounds of meal-worms and a very large fan), but this movie makes not one lick of sense. The few high points were not quite high enough to be worth my time, but your mileage may vary. The horror is supposed to come across as Lovecraftian (the city of the living dead is called Dunwich), but misses the mark by miles. It's a zombie apocalypse with about fifteen zombies altogether. You'd be better off with "The Evil Dead" or "Phantasm".
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on January 31, 2011
i remember back in the day,this movie was baned in several countries & even in the states. For a while when we finally rented it the lable said banned/I think it had something to do w/insulting the catholic church & i can see why.A preist,maggots, siances a head being drilled not so nice.
It had some serious WOW FACTOR in its day.The film maker FULCI starred in the film in a small cameo.
When we saw it/The name of the movie was called THE GATES OF HELL\Thats the one that said it was banned & it was finally released after much editing.For in its day there was nothing out like this at all.Which only made ppl want to see it that much more.A cult classic for sure.
How the name got changed i do not know,I do know that it had 9 minutes of cut material that would not make the grade,cuz it was hardcore.So taking that bit out got it released & once popularity of curious horror fans found out about this wild film.
It only gained momentum & its notarity & to watch it today all i can do is admire FULCI's work as he made many ole films.
It has some vulgar parts in it~That in todays time of horror flicks this one would come off cheesey,I still enjoy it, But us that saw it back in the day~This was a different take upon anything that was debuting at the time.
Id say by now its a cult classic im so happy to of finally gotten a copy to go w/my collection.
If you have not seen it & want to see some pretty good ole school graphics & the story line makes sense.This is an old film that was ahead of its time as was said about fulci~BRILLIANT in his craft
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on November 22, 2016
This movie is so bad it's good. The close ups are hilarious at the start. The only way it could have been better would have been an extended cut. Get it!
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on December 1, 2015
ATMOSPHERE! Really the main element that makes a Fulci movie great is atmosphere. Most all of his horror films that I have seen have a "dreamlike" quality about them, or "nightmare" if you prefer. Some people can't forgive what seem like minor plot holes or "unreal" special effects, but you have to remember that these victims are dealing with the "supernatural" and as such they can not even completely trust everything their eyes see, and so, neither can the audience. So the evil dead spirits could be making these victims see things in an even more exaggerated and distorted way. I have only recently gotten acquainted with Fulci in the last 2-3 years, and so, thanks to the advent of DVD, I am slowly watching all of his films. Fulci is truly a Maestro and is sorely underappreciated by some. I have seen "The Beyond" "House by the Cemetery" and now, "City of the Living Dead!" So far I am the most taken with COTLD. It is the most gothic of these three. I do love the utter feeling of dread at the end of "The Beyond" which is a great movie also. As one reviewer so aptly put it, this film has a "surreal" Lovecraftian feel to it. As I watched COTLD it also reminded me of one of my favorite movies of all time-PHANTASM! Phantasm was released in 1979 and I believe this film was released in 1980 in Europe and 1983 in the U.S.. I don't know for sure, but I can't help but wonder how much Phantasm influenced Fulci's vision. The scene in the mortuary with the coffins, the funeral home director preparing the bodies reminded me a little of the tall man, much of the music reminded me of the Phantasm theme, and the drill bit in Bobby's head reminded me of the silver spheres. This is in no way meant to take away from Fulci's talent as this is a very special film and both he an Don Coscarelli did so much with so little, and if these films are related in anyway I think that's terrific! We all have our influences and if you are a fellow fan of Phantasm, but not of Fulci's work, look again. A very special movie and a tremendous talent of a Director. Also, Fulci's crew of craftsman responsible for the fog, dust, and non-computer generated effects are to be applauded! I can't wait to see more of Fulci's titles.

On a side note, I love horror films, but I don't fear the dead rising as living dead due to some malevolent force. Only Jesus, The King of Glory, has power over the dead! Just saying!

Peace out,

"All Hail The Lion of Judah........and Live!"
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon July 30, 2006
In the tiny New England town of Dunwich, site of the notorious Salem witch hunts, a priest with red-rimmed eyes inexplicably hangs himself over a graveyard, thus causing the Gates of Hell to be torn asunder. In New York City, lovely psychic Mary Woodhouse (Catriona MacColl) has a vision of the suicided priest and what it portents and promptly keels over dead. Back in Dunwich, strange events begin to spook the locals - oddities such as mirrors shattering, walls cracking, corpses vanishing and reappearing, annoying kids being named John John... Gerry (Carlo De Mejo), a therapist, at first thinks nothing supernatural is at work, but craziness at the home of his patient Sandra (Janet Agren) soon changes his mind.

Some SPOILERS now...

In the Big Apple, reporter Peter Bell (Christopher George) noses around a cemetery and discovers that the buried content of a coffin wants out. It turns out that psychic Mary Woodhouse was deemed prematurely deceased. Now that she's back, she tells Peter that in three days, on All Saints' Day, the dead will rise and walk, unless the portals of Hell are resealed. So off they go to Dunwich. In that dusty, desolate tiny town, Peter, Mary, Gerry, and Sandra will face something unspeakably evil, evil that intends to usher in eternal damnation on our world.

City of the Living Dead (aka The Gates of Hell) starts off well, laying down a pervasive, disquieting mood right off the bat. In the opening moments, there is a promising shot of the camera panning past the priest's forlorn figure and focusing on the words etched on a cemetery tombstone: "The soul that pines for eternity shall outspan death. You, dweller of the Twilight Void, come." That is a creepy epitaph, and it sent shivers of anticipation up my spine.

The acting isn't so bad, although the performaces aren't helped by the hokey, stilted dialogue. I thought Chris George was the best thespian here, though I got a kick out of the lovely Catriona shrieking her head off. The plot has holes and tends to meander. Flaws? A little backstory on Father Thomas would've been appreciated. What exactly is the point of Bob? And what's up with the ending? Lucio Fulci ends things with our leads screaming at something we can't see.

One cannot deny Fulci's masterful staging of foreboding atmosphere and escalating terror. He executes this with suggestive camera shots, a senses-jangling synth-rock score, and with gore, gore, gore (and gore). He delivers several sicko moments which, back when this film first came out, had the movie-going kids talking in awed, hushed tones. Scoring high on the Visceral Thrills Meter are the girl spewing out her icky internal organs and Giovanni Lombardo Radice getting his dome drilled in, with Catriona MacColl's buried alive sequence perhaps providing the most harrowing moment of all. And you just know it's not gonna end well when, after some creepy goings-on at a house, the logical-minded fella tells his frantic female companion, "...we're gonna take it step by step and search every room in the house." Dude, don't do that. Never do that. Factor in, too, the sense of disorientation brought about by the gristly undead's knack for teleporting. Faced with a barrage of such overwhelming horror, one character resignedly remarks: "At this point a good stiff drink is the only medicine."
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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 December 13, 2016
Great film if you're into classic horror. The soundtrack is so good. The gore is stylish & very bloody. This is a must own! Try and snag a copy from Arrow Video. They have the best transfer and special features by far.
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on January 18, 2017
Part one of the Italian Lovcraftian trilogy
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on February 3, 2011
This is a fulci film if you don't know what that means then probably start with Zombi2 instead. Fulci is quite an interesting film maker, he tried to make comedies, but when he saw he could make money with giallos and spaghetti westerns he hopped over to those genres (and made some brilliant films), but his break (or fall) happened when he decided to make an unofficial sequel to Dawn of the Dead (Zombi2). After that he was stuck and only able to get funding for gore films.

So start with Zombi2, if you love that one then proceed, if not then stop, the plot only lessens for more atmosphere and gore (well mainly just gore). If proceeding then next go to The Beyond, if you like that one then finally venture to this masterpiece (which happens to be my favorite from him). With this film you have a thin plot which is basically there just build to the next gore moment, but with that being said I think this film is a great atmospheric piece, with a cool soundtrack and of course plenty of gore (including the infamous scene where a girl pucks her guts out, literally). Sadly, I've found very few people (in real life)who actually like this movie so proceed at your own risk.
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