Archive for February 4, 2014

Things I read off the screen in City of the Living Dead

Posted in FILM, literature, Mythology with tags , , , , , , on February 4, 2014 by dcairns


If you’re in America and you want to make a convenient purchase, why not visit a Package Shop? You can buy anything you like there, as long as it comes in a package.

The film is Lucio Fulci’s CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, which includes a few scenes in new York but is mainly set in the small town of Dunwich, which we eventually learn was built on the remains of Salem and is subject to a zombie plague as predicted in the book of Enoch. The whole film is similarly nonsensical. Dunwich, outside of HP Lovecraft, was a real burrough borough  in England, but by the time of the Restoration it had mostly fallen into the sea (which didn’t stop it from returning two members of parliament). Whereas Salem is still intact and therefore does not have “remains” to build on.


For a while, handsomely shot and with Fulci’s typically restless camerawork, this was looking pretty fine, with a bizarre plot that keeps shifting gear and throwing in rogue elements. Once it settles down, it’s unfortunately a simple zombie attack flick — the illusion of a weirdly convoluted narrative was created by the miracle of sloppy storytelling.


Wait, an intermission? In a 98 minute films? These Italian horror fans are such lightweights.

Lots of gore, of course — as in a Peter Jackson film, all the characters “come part easy” — lots of shots of people being grabbed by the scalp until their brains come out. Yuck, and also huh?

Catriona MacColl is very attractive, Christopher George really, really isn’t, and Fulci himself turns up playing a doctor, as was his wont (and as was his real-life training, it seems. I’m not sure I’d want Dr. Fulci as my GP). And there’s future gialli director Michele Soavi* as the village idiot/paedophile/all-purpose pervert, who has a self-inflating blow-up which I at first took to be a supernatural manifestation. Did the filmmakers really think blow-up dolls inflate themselves, like dinghies? What a waste of heavy breathing that would be.


Moriarity (sic) and Sons Funeral Home.

*Not true. See comments below.