City of the Living Dead (Special Edition) (Widescreen) product details page

City of the Living Dead (Special Edition) (Widescreen)

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This Italian horror film, also released on video as The Gates of Hell, is a dry run for the blend of graphic shocks and surrealism atmosphere that Lucio Fulci would perfect with The Beyond. Patience and a strong stomach are prerequisites for viewing City of the Living Dead because it suffers from the same shortcomings present in much of Fulci's other horror films. Its narrative is loose, the pacing often lags, and the film relies on stomach-churning gore effects in place of suspense. Despite these problems, City of the Living Dead benefits from Fulci's ability to create and sustain an intensely creepy atmosphere. The patient viewer will be rewarded with a handful of intense sequences guaranteed to stick in the memory; Mary's vision of the priest's graveyard suicide and the sequence where Peter struggles to free Mary from her premature grave are two of the most memorable highlights. The film's feel of skin-crawling dread is further aided by Sergio Salvati's lush photography and Fabio Frizzi's Goblin-ish prog rock musical score. City of the Living Dead also benefits from solid performances by the leads. Christopher George is likable as the gruff reporter and Fulci stalwart Catriona MacColl acquits herself well in a potentially campy role by playing it straight. Ultimately, City of the Living Dead is too uneven and unfocused to rate as a solid horror film, but its singular combination of deep-dish atmosphere and visceral shocks will appeal to horror fans who enjoyed The Beyond. Donald Guarisco, All Movie Guide