Foreign horror: a final frontier among many horror fans today. If you’re like a good portion of the staff at Yell! Magazine, you’ve grown to appreciate the finer things in life… and horror cinema. Like Godfather of Gore Lucio Fulci, for example. Arguably, Lucio Fulci is best known for being confused with Dario Argento. No, no, he’s not the guy that did Suspiria; he’s the guy that did The Beyond! Yell! Magazine is here to celebrate Fulci’s greatest works in this top ten list that only covers a small fraction of Fulci’s lifetime of work. With the rise of torture porn and the re-emergence of westerns on the horizon, could Fulci’s works be on the way to remake city like so many other classic works? Only time will tell, but for now, read on and remember a time when the blood was a little more bright and the gore was just a little more over the top.
No.10 The New York Ripper
This 1982 film by Fulci gives the audience a taste of everything that a great giallo film contains. The plot is as follows: a jaded old New York police detective teams up with a collegiate psychoanalyst to track down a serial killer that has been menacing lovely young women at random. More bizarrely, the killer adopts a strange (and somewhat hilarious) duck voice over the phone as he kills women. The trailer has it all: loud shrieking, sexual violence, a hot chick masturbating, and the sentence, “He used a very sharp knife, rammed it into her vagina, and hauled up into it as hard as he could.” What more could you want? Don’t let the duck voice scare you off; the plentiful gore, red herrings, and contrived sleaze more than make up for the film’s shortcomings. The film was notably banned in many countries and released as an adults-only video after heavy editing. Most of Fulci’s work has been released uncut in the United Kingdom, but The New York Ripper remains censored even to this day.
No.9 Manhattan Baby
This film is a little out of the ordinary from Fulci’s other fare in that it’s not excessively gory or bloody. But sometimes you don’t have to make a decent horror flick with tons of gore for it to be a good horror film. Lucio Fulci creates a dreamlike, etherworld atmosphere in Manhattan Baby, the story of a girl possessed by an entity mistakenly freed by one of her parents, an Egyptologist. The violence is a little more subtle in this one and it seems to have been Fulci’s attempt at a true psychological horror picture, but when paired with the spellbinding cinematography and surreal atmosphere, it still makes for a good foray into the world of Lucio Fulci.
No.8 House by the Cemetery
House by the Cemetery is the third movie in the unofficial Gates of Hell trilogy. The film was considered a video nasty and with good reason; in the first few bits of the film, a young woman is lured to the titular house for some good ol’ premarital sex before she’s stabbed through the back of the head with a kitchen knife, the tip of which protrudes through her mouth. When a young family move into the house a few months later, they’re troubled by strange occurrences. The plot tends a little more toward the supernatural in this Fulci film, drawing influence from both The Shining and Frankenstein, but that doesn’t make it any less disturbing.
No.7 City of the Living Dead
This Fulci flick also has supernatural elements and is the first installment of the Gates of Hell trilogy. After a priest hangs himself in a cemetery, the gates of Hell are opened. Superpowered zombies go on a bloody killing spree in a remote town. This film not only features shots of ‘head drilling’ and a woman vomiting up all of her internal organs in a gruesome torrent of blood and guts, but also features among the unique brand of Fulci gore, someone getting his brains squeezed right out the back of his head with a zombie’s meaty fist. This movie ties in equal parts mysticism and zombies, along with a few well done references to H.P. Lovecraft’s work to make for a solid film.
Contraband is another departure from the horror films that made Lucio Fulci famous. Poliziotteschi films emerged in Italy sometime in the 1960s but reached their popularity in the 1970s, depicting both crime and action in a gritty way. When you throw Fulci into the mix, you get it ten times more gritty. And bloody. A crimelord cigarette and booze smuggler named Luca has his world shattered when his brother is killed by a sadistic French crime boss known as the Marsigliese, who sets off an epic gang war. Luca has to join forces with rival smugglers, mafiosos, and even the long arm of the law when the Marsigliese abducts his wife. This particular poliziotteschi film is notable for Lucio Fulci’s personal touches to the tune of high octane amounts of violence and gore, including a woman’s face being burnt off with a blow torch.
Find out which Lucio Fulci movie ranked No. 1 on the next jump.