Fulci’s City Of The Living Dead may not be the reason that TSFI exists but I’ve always wanted to write about it. With this year being its 30th anniversary, I have an excellent opportunity to do such. This will be a bit rambling so hold on tight.
City of The Living Dead is of a specific breed. It is a movie that succeeds as a visceral experience rather than as a story. The story, as it is, is really just a network of references and images. It strikes on very primitive chords while ladling the atmosphere on heavy. There is a forceful aura around the proceedings which just radiates misanthropy.
While many modern horror films feel the need to trot out torture scenes as a means to reach this hateful plateau, COTLD just dispenses with any anchor of reason and unleashes the brutality. With the faceless evil bursting on the scene like a storm, it feels like the universe is out to get all of us! The fact that Fulci puts his actors through the ringer gives the movie some near cinema verite moments.
Three words?..vomitting sheep intestines. Two words?…maggot cannon. Yeah, there is something grimy about it.
COTLD is not a movie I’ve ever considered in my top five horror films. But it is a movie that I’ve been drawn back to more times than I can count. There is a hypnotic quality to it when Fulci just goes for the nightmare images and drops the awkward dialogue. But the wonky beats are endearing to the die hard horror fan who feels love for 70s Italian horror movies.
Quite unknown to me, City of The Living Dead has situated in my life as my favorite Fulci film. There is a existential kick to the supernatural which feels like Lovecraft strained through the gaudy grotesque pages of a pre-code horror comic. It defies the idea of good taste and just flat out goes for the gross and unnerving. Does it make much sense? No, not really. And it’s all the better for it. Not for the timid or someone looking for a conventional film.