The dramatic suicide of a priest swings the gates of hell wide open in the small town of Dunwich and the dead begin rising to take their revenge upon the living. A psychic medium and an investigative journalist must team up with a local psychiatrist in order to locate and destroy the undead corpse of the priest before All Saints Day to stop the spirits of the dead from roaming the Earth.
You’ve heard me say this a million times but I’m going to say it again anyhow, Fulci was a genius when it came to the art of the violent Italian horror set-piece. He crafted poorly written and illogical concepts into things of atmospheric, nightmarish beauty, on budgets that wouldn’t pay for bottled water for cast and crew these days. Nobody, not even George A. Romero himself, was better than Lucio Fulci when it came to bringing the quintessential flesh-eating zombie to the big screen in all of its shambling, decayed glory. He was truly a master of horror and one need only watch films like Zombie, The Beyond and House by the Cemetery to understand that he, unlike many before and after him, could indeed make silk purses from sow’s ears.
During the height of its popularity, the Italian horror industry’s creativity was like no other. The work of filmmakers like Ruggero Deodato, Mario Bava, Lamberto Bava, Dario Argento and Bruno Mattei (YEAH I SAID BRUNO MATTEI!) had a Grand Guignol-esque flavor that was unique only to them, a style distinctly Roman and gratuitously violent. Outrageously violent. Out of them all, Fulci’s work is my favorite, I love most of his available filmography (except Conquest), especially City of the Living Dead. The wild, grisly set-pieces in this film still feature some of the most memorably disturbing sequences, in my opinion, in horror cinema.
City of the Living Dead, thanks to Blue Underground, has never looked or sounded better; the colors are vivid, the print is exceptionally clean (especially for thirty-year-old 16mm) and Fabio Frizzi’s amazing score shines through with more clarity than ever. Without a doubt, based solely on the improvements to audio and video, Blue Underground’s special edition is the edition to own. Obviously, those folks that own the previous Anchor Bay and Blue Underground editions may be skeptical about another purchase, and that’s understandable, but this BU disc is just flawless and the inclusion of the new featurette, “The Making Of City of the Living Dead” makes this a worthwhile addition to your collection. I found the interviews in the “Making Of…” to be wonderfully informative and I really appreciated the fact that it tackled each of the infamous sequences that made this film so entertaining one by one.
The only thing that was noticeably missing from the “Making Of…” was mention of the nebulous and frustrating finale. I was hoping to get a more “official” take on it than the usual sketchy online gossip and print heresay but not a word was to be spoken about it.
Believe it or not, I do have one major problem regarding this release despite it being damn near perfect and that is my perception that DVD users are being penalized for not upgrading to Blu-ray and purchasing the BRD, which contains MORE extras. Yeah, they’ve got three more extras on the BRD than the DVD. The exclusives monster rears its ugly head once again. Now I know there are all sorts of reasonable explanations for why the BRD gets more extras but in the end it still all boils down to DVD users receiving less. I suppose BU offering more on their Blu-ray Disc release will give me more of an incentive to purchase it again once I upgrade but I just can’t help feeling like exclusives are nothing more than an underhanded way of “forcing” consumers to double-dip. What can you do?
I highly recommend people grab this special edition as soon as possible! It’s just that good and you know damn well that you’re looking to retire those previous editions you own! I may be a whiner when it comes to the BRD exclusives but ultimately this DVD S.E. kicks all sorts of ass and the film never ceases to entertain. Instead of wasting your hard-earned dollars on another of GAR’s horrid zombie films, grab this instead.