Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Monday, October 29, 2007

The House by the Cemetery (Lucio Fulci, 1981)

A family moves out to a country house for a break, where they are stalked by an undead killer who lives in the basement and has maggots for blood. If I've lost you already, you're immune to the charms of Italian gore-master Lucio Fulci. Fulci's movies are a perfect balance of horror thrills, gore, and trippy nonsense that make Italian horror such a treat. The Boyle family moves from New York City to a run-down country home (with a tomb in the hallway!) so that Dr. Boyle can continue some research. The thing is, one of Dr. Boyle's colleagues recently killed himself and his mistress in this small town, and all the natives seem to think they've seen him before. The first 20 minutes or so (after the initial killings) are a bit slow, with poor sound quality and little plot development. But once the family (complete with creepy blonde child) move into the house, the creepiness pervades the movie, and more and more blood is spilled.

Much like Dario Argento, Fulci's plots can often make little to no sense; the end of The House By The Cemetery is really a head-scratcher if you think about it too much. But the killings are pretty good and inventive, and when the Boyle family comes face to face with the killer, it's worth the 80 minutes it took to get there. In fact, the maggots-for-blood actually really grossed me out, and I even couldn't get it out of my mind when I was eating cereal 20 minutes later, and I'm someone who never really gets grossed out by anything. This is a great Italian horror/gore flick, and a perfect one for those last-minute Halloween pics.

Two fun facts about the movie: I haven't seen many posters as blatantly false as this one, even in American marketing of foreign horror films (thus why I had to post it): there aren't plural zombies, and the one that could be called a zombie isn't really demented or marauding. The IMDB trivia page for this movie reveals that the Henry James quote at the end of the movie was, in fact, made up by Fulci. This made me laugh heartily, and really represents Italian horror of the 70s-80s.


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