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The Gates of Hell (a.k.a. City of the Living Dead)

Directed by Lucio Fulci, 1980.

By Tom BakerPublished about a month ago Updated about a month ago 3 min read
"Hanging around": Father William Thomas (Fabrizio Jovine) in The Gates of Hell (1980)

The Gates of Hell is a 1980 Italian cheapo horror flick with zombies and gore. I'm not certain you'd call it "Giallo" but everyone and his little brother likes to throw around that term, so I'm going to do the same here. it was directed by Lucio "The Beyond" Fulci, a good Italian director from ages past but a rather bad child advocate who filmed a scene wherein he threw live chickens at Wil "Wesley Crusher" Wheaton's little sister during the single scene he filmed for David Keith's wretched H.P. Lovecraft "adaptation" The Curse (1987), about which Wil has written a horrific blog post alleging abuse and maltreatment of various shades by the Italian crew and the American actor and director, Keith (we say allegedly, as nothing can be definitively proved). We've written about that post in an article we never finished; oh, but we'll get to it, trust us.

Getting back to Hell, the movie is compulsively vile and wonderfully spooky and gruesome all in one stroke. A satanic (as in he's a bad dude) priest, Father William Thomas, (Fabrizio Jovine) kills himself by floating on demon power up to a noose hanging from a tree, in pleasant little "Dunwich" (shades of Lovecraft) which is built on the site of the original Salem (no, it isn't), and then we go to New York where a medium (Adelaide Aste) and her assistant (Catriona McColl) who channels a spirit unleash a thing that seemingly kills her. A blaxploitation detective (Nat Bush) from a cheap seventies flick shows up, but the real deuce in the deck is the creepy, obnoxious reporter played by Christopher George.

A huge ball of flame explodes from the floor and then goes back down and disappears into the carpet, which you think would be a cause for alarm. The medium is buried alive, and the reporter rescues her when he hears her screams. Meanwhile, a bar in Dunwich gets a crack Satanically in the wall, and a bunch of fat drunken yokels get frightened. So far, so good.

An implied sex offender named Bob (Giovanni Lombardo Radice) wanders around the rather eerie dream-like film, discovering a blow-up doll, and getting a serious shaft from the locals as if he were the village idiot. Which, I suppose, in some respect, he is.

A psychiatrist (Carlo De Mejo) and his neurotic blonde bombshell of a couch trip (Janet Agrin) cogitate on why the cat bites her and gets Satanized and thoroughly enmeshed in this movie. Medium Mary, who came back from the dead or was buried alive or something, informs us that the priest Father So-And-So is returning from the grave to open the Gates of Aitch so that the "dead will rise and walk the Earth!" You know, that old saw.

The "dead" here all look like they have an Alan Ormsby Movie Monsters oatmeal-and-green paint concoction all over their faces; not exactly Day of the Dead-level makeup effects. On the other hand, we get a back-of-the-head brain crusher with cranial goop pulled out and thrust to the floor (rats devour this), and a drill bit through the noggin. Also, pizza of writhing worms, rains of maggots (someone notifies Dario Argento or maybe Charles Fort), and the REAL star of the show: the woman who vomits out her entire intestinal tract. Loop after luscious loop. Anybody hungry?

Everytime this shit happens, the spooky priest-ghost appears. The Gates swing wide. The Dead? They rise, bubbelah. They "walk the Earth" again.

The whole thing ends with a dungeon crawl featuring mad zombie action; I mean living dead with cat-like skills, dig? But, alas, it's all no good. No good. No bueno, mi amigo.

I mean, well, actually, it is good. The film is very entertaining. And, jeez Louise, it has a memorable scene or two!

Get that damn gate open. Just don't throw any chickens at me unless they're smothered in hot sauce.

City of the Living Dead (a.k.a. "The Gates of Hell", 1980) ORIGINAL TRAILER [HD 1080p]

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About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.: http://tombakerbooks.weebly.com

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  • Ameer Bibiabout a month ago

    Amazing 🤩🤩 welldone keep it up

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