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October 17, 2011

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BB

Sorry to hear about your troubles with the PS3, Glenn. I'm waiting for mine to keel over any day now, since I have one of the really old, fat, 60 Gb models.

Despite loving his work to a fault, I have never been able to warm up much to Fulci's HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY (although the bat attack will never get old). Still, I'm glad that Blue Underground is releasing this blu along with his other work as alternatives to the lousy discs Arrow has been putting out in the past year - every damn one of those releases look like something is wrong with the picture. They can shove new extras onto the disc until it bursts, but if they can't even get the damn image right, it's all for naught.

If only they'd give the red carpet hi-def treatment to DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING and A LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN!

Lex

I'm sure the Blu transfer is fantastic, but the main even in House by the Cemetery needs no digital upgrade, and that's that Danny-from-The Shining ripoff kid's INCREDIBLY ANNOYING performance (ie, dub) with that absurd WHINY VOICE that'll get stuck in your head for six weeks after you watch the movie.

Also one of the best throwaway horror gasps around is when the awesome dad picks up an axe and hauls it into that door, and the creature puts the kid's head right up against where it's being swung. That was a real "holy shit" moment on first watch, on par with the bat attack... Also the little girl and that weird doll are all freaky... Italians are the weirdest people ever, and this era of their horror stuff is like it's beamed entirely from a separate planet-- all the weirder since it was usually shot here in the U.S.

bill

Yeah, Fulci...I don't get it. I mean, I *get* it, but only up to a point. I feel like a lot of people put him on the same level as Bava, but when I watch Fulci I do not see it. The end of DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING is jaw-droppingly ridiculous, and while a certain level of that is to be expected in the world of Italian horror, the difference between what Fulci likely wanted the reaction to that scene to be, and what it likely WAS, at least in my case, is so wide as to be cavernous. This sort of thing is often embraced -- the insanity of images and so forth -- by fans of these films, but at what point do you have to stop giving Fulci the actual credit, if what he's aiming for is not where he's hitting? Or does it matter? It does to me, I guess.

BB

Let it be said that the Fulci > Bava argument you mention hasn't actually happened here, so I'd rather not assume the (straw-covered) position.

Because I disagree with it strongly, by the way! Despite my love for the guy's work, Fulci wasn't half the director or craftsman Bava was. I enjoy Fulci's work purely on its own merits, instead of in the shadow of anyone else. Mario Bava could never/would never have filmed something with the same nightmarish simplicity as the possessed girl puking up her own insides and then ripping out a chunk of her date's brain, in CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, and I can name 35 other examples of the same incongruity if I had to.

But then, that seems like part of the claim as well - that his string of films through the 70s and 80s, with their weird, disjointed sense of continuity, their visceral gore moments, nightmarish atmosphere, and awkward, unreal performances, are... what? Some sort of incompetence misinterpreted by the gullible horror audience as actual style and intent? I don't buy that argument at all.

Believe me, I'll sympathize with anyone who ever had to sit next to an asshole in a ZOMBIE2 t-shirt screaming "FULCI LIVES!" before, during, or after, revival screenings; still, I think we should be looking at the films themselves instead of pitting these creative types against each other in cage-matches.

And if the falling mannequin at the climax of DUCKLING doesn't work for you, that is a perfectly legit take on it; but to swipe at the film and ignore all of its unique merits (which it really does have) simply because you can't fathom that Fulci might ever have wanted such a shocking, graphic, and awkwardly framed bit of action in that sequence is really puzzling to me. It's a screaming finish to the thing and absolutely unforgettable -- and you would characterize it as the film's great shame! We just don't see eye to eye on this, and that's perfectly alright.

BB

Oh shit, bill -- you actually only said "on the same level as" in your post, rather than the imaginary "better than Bava" I attributed to you and went off the rails on.

Mea culpa - I'm THAT guy!

I guess in my defense, I haven't had enough coffee today, and my mis-guided rant here still addresses a larger, common, thing that I see in Euro cult/horror forums, where these particular, style-heavy directors (along with Argento in a trio) are set against each other. I hope at the least that you can tell I feel strongly about loving these guys all on their own merits!

John Keefer

House by the Cemetery is amazing! The most artful Fulci I've encountered so far, whatever that means. The bat attack, the fact that almost the last half is spent having the characters keep going down into that damn basement, the implied relationship with the father and caretaker in all those great zoom-in close-ups crosscutting. It employs the conventions to its own ends, almost like a free association horror film. Basically I dug it alot, my first Fulci!

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