Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My First Night with Fulci

Ahh, Italy. The land of fine wine, absurdly strong coffee and a film director with a serious fetish for eyeball gouging.
Lucio Fulci, for those of you who are unaware, as I once was, is the madman responsible for some of the most tasteless, and yet most satisfying gore films ever to splatter the silver screen. Until recently, I was one of the ignorant masses, with only the brief knowledge that a Fulci film was a film to be reckoned with. But a dear friend and Fulci aficionado quenched my curiosity with a double feature that blew the blood right out of the bucket for this so-called horror fan.
First Round: Zombi, or, Zombi 2 as it is also know. Seen at first as a Night of the Living Dead rip off, anyone who has studied the grisly black and white classic would immediately see that Fulci's stands on it's own. It's a technicolor bloodbath, 1970's style. The plot, while not admittedly groundbreaking, does feature some amusing tropical island zombies, who are the victim of one mad scientists anecdote gone wrong scenario, but it's Fulci's handiwork and some impressive, though crude special effects that steal the show. 
And the eyeballs. Fulci is obsessed with the eyes. On a philosophical level we all know the eyes are the window to the soul, so when Fulci films in brutal detail a vicious eyeball impalement, we can only put two and two together and conclude that Fulci is a seriously messed up dude. 
Round Two:Beyond. The story of a young New Yorker who inherits a New Orleans hotel, which turns out to be a portal to hell. She is haunted by ghosts and apparitions, and yes, more zombies until, despite her best efforts otherwise, ends up in the vast wasteland of the underworld. Again, not an earth shattering premise, but Fulci's filming is the true story.  The wide angle shot of our heroine's first encounter with her first ghost on a boardwalk is truly haunting, and incredibly beautiful in it's stillness and writhes with menacing implications. Of course, more eye gouging ensues, this time by a pack of bloodthirsty zombie spiders in a scene that made yours truly cringe and giggle with disdain and delight. 
The special effects, while clearly dated in all their Super 8 glory are still sublimely executed, and get this, all the zombie makeup and flesh eating effects were made with simple paper mache. In an age of CGI and heavy latex, Fulci's withering flesh pulp and syrupy blood splatter was incredibly refreshing.
Fulci's career has spanned the better part of the last 40 years, but Zombi and Beyond are certainly high points in a storied history. Like so many before him, Fulci's fame has largely remained  underground, but like the flesh starved undead in his films, have a habit of          slowly rising to the surface, searching for fresh meat to bite into. If you know what's good for you, you'll be the next victim. 



Corpsella said...

Nice work!

Michael said...

Fulci lives! This blog tickles me in so many wonderful ways.

Quote The Spider said...

Good work babe! I've never heard of either film,but now i'm intreged. I would be very interested to see more. Once again great work baby. Keep it up.

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