Director: Lucio Fulci
Screenplay: Lucio Fulci, Dardano Sacchetti
Starring: Christopher George, Catriona MacColl, Carlo De Mejo
Running Time: 93 min
BBFC Certificate: 18
Who would have thought that Lucio Fulci’s sickie master piece could be made any better, but Arrow has managed it yet again, I thoroughly enjoyed this new crisp experience of a horror classic which of course contains the notorious Radice drill death.
Lucio Fulci’s masterpiece opens in a New York apartment as Mary Woodhouse (MacColl) experiences a horrific vision of hanging priest Father Thomas (Jovine) in the village of Dunwich. Mary collapses to the floor after seeing the gruesome vision and the police arrive to interrogate the medium Theresa (Adelaide Aste) over the apparent death of Mary. Meanwhile a journo Peter Bell (George) tries to find out what is going on, but has no luck getting an interview this time. Peter follows up the story by visiting Mary’s grave on long Island and in a distressingly claustrophobic scene realises the screaming Mary is still alive while interred in her casket. He manages to free her from here tomb using a pick axe in a tense bid to free her, nearly killing her in the process.
When Mary has recovered from her diabolical ordeal she and Peter return to visit the medium Theresa, she shows them the book of Enoch, a tomb foretelling that the undead walking the earth. Father Thomas’s death has opened a door and set up a trail of events throughout Dunwich, on All Saints Day the dead will rise. Bob (Radice) starts to experience the un-earthly events including seeing the rotting corpse of a baby. At the local bar strange events are also triggered as a mirror breaks and unexplained cracks appear in the bar walls and pitiful Bob begins to get the blame for some of the strange events which are beginning to unfold.
The pace of gruesome deaths picks up as Emily Robbins (Interlenghi) tries to help Bob but is slain by a paranormal apparition of Father Thomas as he suffocates her with maggot encrusted hands. Father Thomas’s phantom pops up again this time making Rose Kelvin’s (Doria) eyes bleed and vomit up her own intestines, her boyfriend Tommy Fisher (Soavi) does fare any better as his head is torn apart. The action shifts up a gear and the list of gruesome deaths exponentially increases leaving you mentally exhausted by the extent of depravity of Fulci’s mind…marvellous.
I enjoy watching Fulci in video tape format as much as the next sicko and I completely get the beauty of watching a nauseating slice of horror on grainy tape. But this new bright and crisp experience is equally as exhilarating, I believe there is a place for both formats which can be enjoyed by the aficionado.
This stunningly crisp Arrow Video release, exclusive 4K restoration of City of the Living Dead is out on the 8th Oct. 2018 on Blu-ray in the UK.
The limited edition contents includes a brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original negative by Arrow Films, high definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation, original uncompressed 1.0 mono and optional 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, original English and Italian soundtracks. This stunning version also contains a newly translated, optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack, with newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack and audio commentary with star Catriona MacColl and journalist Jay Slater. Audio commentary with star Giovanni Lombardo Radice and writer Calum Waddell is included along with “We are the Apocalypse” a new interview with writer Dardano Sacchetti, “Through Your Eyes, a new interview with Catriona MacColl and “Dust in the Wind” another new interview with cameraman Roberto Forges Davanzati. The “Art of Dreaming” a new interview with production designer Massimo Antonello Geleng, “Tales of Frienship” a new interview with cinematographer Sergio Salvati, “ I Walked with a Zombie” a new interview with actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice, “They Call Him Bombardone” a new interview with special effectsartist Gino De Rossi. ”The Horror Family” a new interview with father and son actors Venantino and Luca Venantini, previously unseen interview with composer Fabio Frizzi, Archival interview with Carlo De Mejo plus “Building Fulci’s city a new interview with Stephen Thrower, author of the definitive tome, Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci. “Reflections on Fulci” a new appraisal of Fulci’s Gothic period by actor, writer and director Andy Nyman (Ghost Stories), “The Dead Are Alive!” a new video essay by Kat Ellinger on Lucio Fulci and the Italian zombie cycle. Behind the scenes 8mm footage with Roberto Forges Davanzati audio commentary, alternative US Gates of Hell opening credits, original trailers and radio spots. Squeezed into the mix is an extensive image gallery featuring over 150 stills, posters and other ephemera from the FAB Press and Mike Siegel archives and reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Wes Benscoter. Arrow Video have not finished yet, they’ve even chucked in a double-sided fold-out poster, 6 lobby card reproductions, limited 60-page booklet featuring new writing by Travis Crawford and Roberto Curti, an archival interview with Lucio Fulci and original reviews.
This is a truly dazzling array of extras which gives City of the living Dead the respect it deserves.