View Full Version : Euro Horror DVD Of The Month (August 01) - City of the Living Dead

08-01-2001, 11:27 PM
Don't make eye contact

Time has come once again for the Euro Horror dvd of the month, and I'm actually on time for once.

This month's pick is a classic Fulci film. I really enjoy this film, the gore is plentiful, the atmosphere Fulci creates is amazing, the score is good, and it has decent acting.

Any film that has a priest hanging himself, a woman traped alive in a coffin, and a sweet head drilling scene has to be good. I probably have said too much already.

Made after Zombie and before The Beyond, Fulci is in top form here. The Anchor Bay dvd has a few problems, but still looks good, especially considering the age and budget of this film.

City of the Living Dead aka Gates of Hell, starts out with a powerful scene. A priest is walking through a cemetery. Next we see him throw up a noose and you can probably guess what happens next. This vision is seen by a woman, who appears to did from fright after seeing this vision.

City has great atmosphere. Fulci creates a wonderful vision for it's audience. From the scenes at the bar to the shot of a guy and a girl making out in a car ( the guy is Michele Soavi), I was throughly engrossed in the film. Frizzi's score also helps here.
Lots of gore and brains spewed out, a classic. Bleeding eyes are cool too.

I think Anchor Bay did a good job with this film. The transfer is pretty good, you can tell the print they used was a little worn and damaged, but they did a good job with it.
The sound was solid, 5.1, sounded good. Not too many extras, but what do you really expect. I was happy enough to see it came out on dvd. Yes, I think extras such as a director or actor commentary is cool, but I care more about it being uncut, correct AR, and a clean transfer. City is anamorphic, which is a plus.

Definitely think this film is one of my favorites. Any thought or opinions?, I'd love to hear them

Now, the one last thing I have to briefly mention is the ending. I won't say too much in case you haven't seen it yet, but I thought it was sweet. Thoughts on this?

08-01-2001, 11:43 PM
Has anyone done a side-by-side comparison with the EC Laserdisc and the AB DVD?

I rented the DVD a few months back. I thought the movie wasn't quite as polished as say, The Beyond, but it was a LOT more coherent. Admittedly, I'm not a big Fulci fan, and I much prefer his Giallos, but of the "big 3" zombie films (Zombie, COTLD, Beyond), I prefer City.

Anyway, I got the LD a couple of weeks ago. Mostly just because of the huge gatefold photo of the head drilling scene. A scene that has almost no context with the rest of the film (typical for Fulci), but damn it's gruesome! (also typical for Fulci).

I'll probably be watching this movie again within the next month or so. It'll be the first time i've seen a Fulci film more than once. I've heard they get better on repeated viewins. Man, I hope so...

08-01-2001, 11:51 PM
I thought City of the Living Dead was a great film. Kicks the ass of Beyond :). The effects look much better, there are no plot annoyances.

I am always amazed at that head drilling scene - I still can't fault it of figure out how it was done. A lot of Fulci's other effects look decidedly fake, but this was extremely impressive.

And some great tense scenes where he was breaking into the coffin. I always wince in that. Compared to the scene in Beyond (---------SPOILER----------) where the idiot can't figure out that a head shot will stop the zombies, and continues to shoot them in the guts, and wastes his bullets - that annoys everyone I know who has seen it.

08-02-2001, 12:56 AM
right on one of the best!!! a must have must see!

08-02-2001, 06:57 AM
AAAAAHHHHHH! It's fucking back ordered everywhere. I may have to get it from Amazon. AAAArrrrrghhhh....

08-02-2001, 06:11 PM
... i still think that "The Beyond" is Fulcis Masterpiece.
"City" is by far more better then "House by the Cemetery" wich is better than "Zombie".

by the way, "City" has just been banned here in Germany.
Now THAT sucks!

Utam!; we go away, we go Jungle!

08-02-2001, 10:18 PM
I like it a lot. The effects are very good, but more importantly (to me) the atmosphere is right-on and the music is great. I had my old tape of it until very recently, and only just bought the DVD a few weeks ago. (-If it's starting to go out of print, I guess I was lucky.) I'm not sure why, but I must admit I don't enjoy it quite as much as I used to. -Probably because I know it in and out. The best parts of the movie are in my opinion the graveyard sequence where George saves McCall from being buried alive, and the climax with the living dead in the crypt. Great stuff. I found Anchor Bay's DVD a little cramped looking though, and being ever the sceptic, I fear a tiny sliver on the sides of the picture is missing. Alright, call me paranoid. Anyone else think it looks a bit cramped at times ?. Like for instance, the talk in the apartment after McCall is saved. -I find it hard to believe Fulci intended NOT having his actors within the frame. Mind you, I'm not implying by any means the film is supposed to be in Scope or anything, just thinking it looks a bit cramped, that's all. Backing me up on this, I seem to recall the review in The LaserDisc Newsletter saying the same.

08-02-2001, 11:00 PM
I didn't enjoy this one as much as I'd hoped to. Perhaps it suffers by comparison because I bought it at the same time as the Beyond, which I think is just so much better of a film.

I'm a little hit-or-miss with Fulci, Zombie and COTLD didn't really do it for me, but I love NYR and the Beyond.

I just think everything done in COTLD was done better in the Beyond and that's probably why I just couldn't ever get too excited about this one.

Oh well, there's always next month!

DVD Connoisseur
08-02-2001, 11:48 PM
I enjoyed City - it has some great set-pieces and has a genuinely spooky atmosphere. Overall, I think The Beyond probably has the edge but it's a close call.

I have mixed feelings about the ending. I've read some comments that the film was damaged or not processed correctly and thus the "shock" finale was used. Although it adds to the general sense of dread, I would have preferred a more upbeat ending.

Having recently viewed Zombie on LD and Italian Shock's NYR, I'm becoming addicted to Fulci's flicks. I may view House By The Cemetary tonight if I have time.......

08-03-2001, 12:05 AM
I heard that someone spilled coffee on the last scene or something in the editing room. This could have been a joke though, I'm not sure.

08-03-2001, 02:14 AM
*Spoiler up ahead*

What happenes in the last scene, according to an interview with Fulci in Spaghetti Nightmares, is that the child turns into a zombie while running toward Mary. The frames were then split up, giving it sort of a "choppy" effect. This was all the editor's idea, said Fulci. So, the "shock" finale was used intentionally and not because of damaged film. I hope this clears up the mystery a bit. :)

As for the film, I LOVE the atmosphere of the film. It's so somber and moody, plus the score kicks ass. It's not as gory as I thought it'd be, but the scene of gore that were there were satifying. I like the cover art too (the US AB version, which is also used under it's Gates of Hell title).

Overall, not as violent as Zombie or the Beyond, but it has a much better atmosphere.

08-03-2001, 09:15 AM
There are better Fucli flims than this one. BUT overall I like it for some strange reason. It makes hardly any sense, (less than THE BEYOND) but for some reson it's good. Even the chessey psychic lady scene near the begining. Man, that is bad. I do like the effects for this film. Much better than THE BEYOND there. I saw the movie (Gates of Hell) when i was a kid and remember thinking it was creepy. Good thing i own it now!! Worth the purchase, (though it should be $19.99)

08-03-2001, 05:28 PM
Originally posted by napalm68
Compared to the scene in Beyond (---------SPOILER----------) where the idiot can't figure out that a head shot will stop the zombies, and continues to shoot them in the guts, and wastes his bullets - that annoys everyone I know who has seen it.

In an interview in Fangoria (I think it was around issue 58), David Warbeck said Fulci wanted him to shoot him in the head, but he refused because the zombie actor would get hurt or killed from the blanks in the gun. Fulci finally decided to go with the shot to the shoulder, and the zombie actor was hurt (and then Fulci wanted a reshoot)...

09-08-2001, 01:08 AM
is the worst Fulci film I have ever seen, but on the plus side it does feature a great score by Fabio Frizzi and you do get to see Janet Agren.

09-08-2001, 01:46 AM
I have watched it about 3 times and i have to say i like the tone and the atmosphere of the movie...the soundtrack too, but overall this fulci flick didnt do much for me, not as good as the Beyond in my eyes...but it has its moments!