Top positive review
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"Guess what, it's All Saint's Day."
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.