City of the Living Dead (Arrow Video)

City of the Living Dead
Production year: 1980
Release date: 05/24/2010
Collection number: 688

City of the Living Dead is my favorite Fulci film.  I know some of you praise the Beyond in all it's violent glory, but I have always preferred The Gates of Hell to The Seven Doors of Death.

I can remember the first time I heard the name Lucio Fulci, I happened to stumble upon a review of Zombie on the House of Horrors website.  After seeing that I knew I had to have it, I bribed my mom into a trip to the local Suncoast and found a copy of it on VHS.  I probably spent 2 months of hard earned change on the thing but it was more than worth it.  By the time the credits were rolling across the screen my mind was made up, I had to own every movie this crazy bastard had made.

My next Foray into Fulci was the film we're discussing tonight City of the Living Dead.  The movie opens with a priest hanging himself.  Yeah, no joke.  This act is essentially the beginning of the end for the small town of Dunwich which just so happens to rest upon the gates of hell (which also happens to be one of the many alternative titles for the film!)  Many miles away we're introduced to a clairvoyant woman who envisions the suicide and dies instantly.  The poor woman, played by Fulci veteran  Catriona MacColl, eventually comes back to life only to find she has been buried alive.  Keep in mind I haven't spoiled the movie for you as all of this happens within the first 15 minutes of the movie!  She is saved by an eager reporter (Christopher George) and together they travel to Dunwich in hopes to close the gates of hell and stop the dead from rising!

The movie is non stop and has something for everyone, it's rich with atmosphere and has great performances from MacColl, George, Radice, and a handful of other actors you'll surely recognize if you're a fan of Italian cinema.  Fulci does a great job with the movie, effects from Gino De Rossi and a score from Fabio Frizzi tie everything together.

Zombie is usually a film I suggest to people who are looking to get into Italian horror, I feel it is the more accessible of Fulci's movies.  City of the Living Dead however is almost fanciful with it's atmosphere, loose plot, and disappearing zombies.  Was this done on purpose, or were the filmmakers just cutting corners?  The answer to that question depends on whom you speak with.

Like every Arrow release this set is loaded!
 - 4 sleeve art options
- Double-sided foldout poster
- ‘Fulci of the Living Dead’ collector’s booklet
- Set of 6 original poster art postcards
- Theatrical Cut in Stunning High Defenition
- 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound and Stereo Audio
- Original Theatrical trailer
- Dame of the Dead
- Live from the Glasgow Theatre
- The Many Lives And Deaths of Giovanni Lombardo Radice
- Penning Some Paura - Dardano Sacchetti Remembers COTLD
- The Audio Recollections of Giovanni Lombardo Radice
- Audio Commentary with Catriona Macoll and Jay Slater
- Profondo Luigi - A Colleague’s Memories of Lucio Fulgi
- Fulci’s Daughter - Memories of the Italian Gore Meastro
- Carlo of the Living Dead - Surviving Fulci Fear
- Fulci in the House: The Italian Master of Splatter
- Gallery of the Living Dead

Even with all of that, this release does have a few downfalls.  The first issue isn't really a fault of the company, but I feel I must point it out to anyone who is considering buying this set.  The extras are all encoded in PAL which means while the feature film might work fine on your player, the extras will not.  The other issue is with the transfer, while it is damn good Blue Underground's high def presentation is superior.  This will be a turn off to those who want the best looking representation of the film.  BU's release also has different extras.  There's an easy solution however, buy both.  I did, but then again, this is one of my favorite films we're talking about.

 In closing, City of the Living Dead is an experience like no other.  Few could helm a horror picture quite like Fulci.  That's not to say the man didn't release some stinkers, but when he was on top of his game few could beat him.  This film is a gut spewing maggot hurling classic.

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