City of the Living Dead
The dead shall rise and walk the Earth.
Year of Release: 1980
Also Known As: Paura nella citta dei motri viventi, Nightmare City, The Gates of Hell
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 93 minutes (1:33)
Director: Lucio Fulci
Carlo De Mejo ... Gerry
Catriona MacColl ... Mary Woodhouse
Christopher George ... Peter Bell
Janet Agren ... Sandra
Antonella Interlenghi ... Emily Robbins
Giovanni Lombardo Radice ... Bob
Fabrizio Jovine ... Father William Thomas
Luca Venantini ... John-John Robbins
Daniela Doria ... Rosie Kelvin
Michele Soavi ... Tommy Fisher
Lucio Fulci ... Dr. Joe Thompson (uncredited)
The Seven Gates of Hell have been torn open, and in three days the dead shall rise and walk the earth. As a reporter and a psychic race to close the portals of the damned, they encounter a seething nightmare of unspeakable evil. The city is alive - with the horrors of the living dead!
City of the Living Dead, remindin' us that when there's no more room in Hell we can always sublet Massachusetts.
And speakin' of practical theological solutions for the 21st Century, you'll hafta excuse me if I'm a little smug tonight, but I've been such a good Christian this week that His Godness is gonna have no choice but to give me the parkin' spot of my choosin' in the Afterlife Drive-In now that I've single-handedly saved the marriage of the ladies Bonebreak.
'Least I hope that was the right thing to do. 'Course if the Florida State Legislature's actually doin' God's will I may've just condemned myself to the back left corner by the port-a-potties where my muffled cries for help'll be smothered by the person of Bambi Mastrude to whom I'll have been assigned a communal cloud. You don't think He'd do that, do ya? I mean, good intentions count for somethin', right? Hooboy.
Anyway, like I was sayin', Sadie's been crashin' at my place since the Chickawalka Talka published that picture of 'er sacrificin' 'er body to protect Chastity Dollarhide after a foreign object on the runway resulted in unexpected turbulence and premature airbag deployment, and a month or so later we were on the verge of developin' a borderline functional livin' arrangement. Then things got weird.
"Sadie, I'm home," I announced in the phoniest, sitcomiest manner possible as I knelt down to noogie Apollo.
"How's your day?" she replied just before a tremendous hiss of grease escaped the FryDaddy.
"The usual. Grover Umpleby's still tryin' to muster the guts to part the Adults Only curtain. Then I caught Buck McGurk drinkin' straight offa the Dr. Pepper tap again, and... are you cooking?!" I hollered, snappin' outta my 9-5 induced stupor.
"Yeah, why? You stuff yourself with stolen popcorn again? she asked, peekin' around the side of the fridge.
"We've been over this - it'd been three days and Edgar was gonna throw it out anyhow, so... are you wearing makeup?! I squinted in disbelief.
"Something wrong with it?" she asked, headin' for the nearest mirror.
"No, looks fine, nice even; particularly for havin' nothin' but my camo kit at your disposal," I admitted.
"Burgers're about done, I'll be right back," she called over 'er shoulder on the way to the grill.
"The heck is she up to, boy?" I asked Apollo between ear scratches. "Haven't seen Rod Serling hangin' around monologuing while I was out, have ya?" I prodded on my way to the fridge.
"Cripes almighty, woman, get a little thirsty today?" I griped.
"Extremely," Sadie purred, settin' the plate of hamburger patties on the table.
"Think ya packed away enough beer?" I grumbled absent-mindedly as I assessed the damage.
"Must have, 'cause you don't look half bad," she grinned.
Next thing I know she's backed me into the Barcalounger and conquered my Lapplands region like the Russian Empire, halting her offensive just long enough to cut off any potential escape routes.
"It's been real lonely these past few weeks," she sighed. "Maybe all this stuff happened for a reason, ya know?"
"Listen Sadie, I'd be the first to admit that Chastity's doin' the Lord's work, but I think that little chest bump you guys had was prolly just a coinci--" I tried explainin' till my words were buried beneath an avalanche on Mount Mammary.
Now, I'd just like to point out that a lesser, shadier, smarter man woulda thrown up his hands and claimed he did his best to stem the hormonal surge, but I'm made of sterner, stupider stuff.
"Thabie," I mumbled inaudibly into 'er cleavage before she leaned back to escape the confines of 'er tank top.
"Whoa! Hang on! There're three VERY good reasons why this's a terrible idea!" I insisted.
"Yeah? Well, here're two counter-arguments," she growled, spikin' 'er shirt onto the floor.
"One! Um... you're accustomed to innies and I got an outie! There're logistical nuances involved that're gonna require a complete tactical overhaul!" I said.
"Desperate times call for desperate measures, and I'm nothing if not adaptable," she explained before spinnin' around to untie 'er bootlaces.
"Two! Uh... we can't do this in front of Apollo - he'll be traumatized! Right Apol--" I managed just before the sound of plastic dinnerware and hamburger patties struck the kitchen floor.
"Sounds like he'll be occupied awhile," she smirked, kickin' 'er boot off and into the side of the ColorTrak.
"Three! And this's the important one..." I stalled, tryna extricate Sadie's wallet from 'er pants pocket.
"I know you haven't done this much, but you're a foot and a half south of my bra clasps," she giggled.
"Here!" I shouted as I pried the wallet loose and opened it up to reveal the wedding photo I'd hoped she hadn't yet removed. "Why the heck would you want ME when you've got THAT at home waitin' for ya?!" I posited in self-loathing triumph.
Sadie looked at the picture quite a while before finally peelin' 'erself up offa me and ploppin' down on the hide-a-bed.
"Look what she's done to me - makeup, cooking, throwin' myself at a man just to get off. And not even a good-lookin' man," she sulked.
"I'm startin' to get mixed signals over here," I joked.
"She's jealous, clingy, and God help ya if you want your steak rare... but she's not really that bad, is she?" Sadie asked earnestly.
"Worse. But that don't mean we can't get things patched up if you hate yourself that much," I assured 'er cheerfully.
"I spoze you have a plan," she sighed in exasperation.
"Interested?" I offered.
"Later. Right now I'm gonna need a hand with something more urgent," she groaned.
"What's that?" I asked.
"Come hold my hair while I ralph," she gurgled en route to the can.
Truth be told I *didn't* have a plan, and as it turns out it's a difficult business tryna plot with the sounds of digestive remorse reverberatin' around inside your skull, so after about 45 minutes I put a zip tie around 'er mane and went to work on a solution that'd get the Sadies' relationship back within acceptable nuptial tolerances. A few ideas came to mind, but in a situation like this where emotions can run high, I decided it best to approach the problem with sensitivity, and from a position of understanding. Ergo, it seemed that the only rational course of action was to trick Sadie's bummer half into believin' Sadie was gettin' 'er privates spit-shined at the Grime Time - thereby forcin' a confrontation that would clear Sadie's good name, and simultaneously castin' doubt on the rash judgment that got us into this mess in the first place. The condition that it occur in public might sound petty, but unless you've ever hadda drive 45 miles at 3:30 in the AM to find Maxi pads for a woman who'd kicked ya outta your own bed, I'd encourage you to inspect the field where I grow my fucks and take note of its startling infertility.
From there it was just a matter of gettin' out the word that I was takin' Sadie to the Grime Time Friday night, selectin' a suitably dark section of the lot, and riggin' up 13 cordless hairdryers throughout the Topaz to work up a good window fog. I thought for sure Mrs. Sadie'd be there waitin' to pounce, but after an hour of sweatin' to the moldy oldies Skunky'd scheduled for the screen we had nothin' to show for it but partial heat stroke and conclusive proof that if Gillette's the best a man can get this country is doomed.
Eventually I hadda get creative and pluck the bulbs outta the dome light so they wouldn't kick on when I opened the door, sneak up to the projection booth, and convince Billy Hilliard to come help me rock the car from side to side to simulate automotis aardvarkus until Mrs. Sadie finally took the bait.
"I KNEW IT!" she shrieked before she'd even gotten ahold of the Topaz's passenger side handle, only to yank it open and find Sadie alone with a basket of onion rings.
"Knew what?!" I hollered, poppin' into view from behind the front fender.
"She was... you were..." Mrs. Sadie stuttered.
"We WERE watchin' this god awful movie till you started makin' an ass of yourself. AGAIN," I clarified.
"I saw the car shaking!" she squealed, partially regaining her composure.
"Yeah? And? Ran over a rooster tail on the way in and hadda change the tire," I lied. "Buncha drunks don't seem to realize the fish're in the water!" I yelled in the direction of the catfish pond.
"So... you didn't..." Mrs. Sadie stammered.
"Didn't what? Get it on with a straight woman in a room fulla witnesses and then follow it up by grindin' the gear shifter of a GUY she's been friends with since high school? Well hooooooooooly shit, Kojak, I think you've cracked the case!" I punctuated.
"Would you get the hell outta here?!" Sadie barked, pitchin' 'er unfinished rings at me.
I prolly woulda kept givin' 'er what-for, 'cept by that time Billy'd grabbed a handfulla my hair and explained that somebody wanted me at the concession stand.
"Who?!" I demanded, flailing against a 250lb weight disadvantage.
"Evwybolly in yeow caw," he said, before yankin' out a 2"x3" patch from above my right ear.
I dunno what they did in my back seat but I hadda turn the volume up on the flick three times to drown out the noise, and I don't think my Maglite's ever gonna be the same, but they musta got things sorted out 'cause Sadie didn't come home afterwards. I guess I'm glad they're back together, but part of me's gonna miss listenin' to 'er sing Motley Crue's "Girls, Girls, Girls" in the shower before work in the mornin' - even if she can't hit the notes any better than Vince.
The resta the night I thought about plantin' a sign in the yard advertisin' discount marriage counseling but decided against it on the basis that I've had enough lonely women throw themselves at me for one lifetime. Besides, there're plenty of unemployed college kids who can pick up that slack; my talents are needed elsewhere.
After I regained possession of the Topaz I gunned it on home and spread out on the hide-a-bed to celebrate Easter with a little theological realignment in the form of City of the Living Dead, 'cause I figured, heck, it's Italian, it's got resurrections - why not show a little support for the Vatican even though Francis won't lighten up? The important thing is *I* lightened up quite a bit watchin' this one and I think you will too 'cause it's basically a 93 minute special effects reel with Lucio Fulci in charge of the slime nozzle, and Fulci was the kinda guy who really understood art - he never let trivial stuff like plot get in the way of the pus-dripping, ambulatory carci. Trust me, you'll feel much better about the state of your spirituality after Rome's favorite son guides you down the path to true divinity, starting with these three fundamental tenets. First, if it only takes two guys to carry your casket with you in it, "dearly departed" is probably an exaggeration; more likely, you are the merely departed. Second, either learn to keep an open mind or risk zombie priests openin' it for you. And third, a good woman is worth her weight in gold, but in a pinch, an inflatable one'll only run ya $19.95 at Overkink.
The movie begins at a seance where the medium (Mary) witnesses a priest excommunicatin' 'imself with a noose in a cemetery even though you're only allowed to hang things on the memorials during business hours, and it's so upsetting that she works 'erself into a Cujoian froth and ends up dyin' on the kitchen floor like a goldfish that escaped its bowl to travel the world. Next thing, the cops show up and they're havin' a tough time believin' the "death by daydream" diagnosis scribbled on the coroner's report until Bowser starts indiscriminately spittin' fireballs through the floorboards of every Mario he can find in the Staten Island phone book. The whole situation stinks, so the chairman of the Ouija board decides to bury Mary before the landlord finds out what happened and adds a "no interdimensional couch surfers" clause to their lease. Meanwhile, Christopher George is hangin' out in the cemetery lookin' for a discrete location to plant the casting director for refusin' to hire his wife, only he hasta put that on the backburner when screams erupt from Mary's coffin and he very nearly picks 'er brain with a mattock tryna get 'er outta there before the estate of Edgar Allan Poe sees what's goin' on and issues a cease and desist order. They decide not to tell the Vatican about the resurrection 'cause Chris's Protestant, but more importantly, Mary's acquired this weird neclarvoyance sense that tells 'er the gates to Hell never got shut again after Satan opened 'em up to let Colonel Sanders in, and that they've gotta close 'em before midnight on All Saint's Day or else Anton LaVey'll be elected president and sign an executive order outlawin' all genres of music except Disco.
Then the dead priest shows up outside the Jeep of some rubberless neckers and stares at the girl till she gets astigmatatism and starts shootin' blood out of 'er eyeballs like a horny toad and regurgitatin' all 'er internal organs in reverse anatomical order while the priest opens up the guy's head and pulls out the part of his brain that knows how to work the door handle. Everybody in town suspects the local weirdo who's been livin' in sin with an unattached inflatable woman in an abandoned house and looks like he's been snortin' three packs of Ramen noodle powder every day for the last nine years, so they do the democratic thing and run a power drill with a half-inch bit through the guy's temples to see if that fixes the problem but it's no use 'cause by that time there're old ladies sittin' up in their caskets chewin' the sticky fingers offa shifty morticians and organizin' zombingo leagues. While all this's goin' on, Chris and Mary're drivin' around in a Chevy Kingswood the size of a baseball dugout tryna figure out where the priest was interred till they run into another couple (Gerry and Sandra) searchin' for answers after one of their friends (Emily) got melted into papal-mache by the rogue priest.
The four of 'em head over to Gerry's place to compare notes, only about that time the bay window flies open and they all get blasted with a barrage of mealworms until Emily's little brother (John-John) calls to ask if he can sleep over 'cause Emily just came home and made parent pot pie outta his folks and he's too short to use the stove. Gerry orders Sandra to take John-John someplace safe and to put on a turtle neck so he won't hafta suffer from chinvy every time he looks at 'er jawline, but the zombies're one shuffle ahead, and the moment they step outta the car Emily pops in and installs a moonroof in Sandra's skull. Fortunately, mere moments after he sends Sandra to take care of the kid, Gerry realizes the folly of puttin' Sandra in charge of anything more complicated than a TV dinner and shows up in time to rescue John-John and dump 'im on the cops so he can get some much-needed therapy in the drunk tank. Then Gerry meets up with Chris and Mary in the graveyard to look for the priest's tomb before he can kick off the apostalypse and everything goes alright until they get down into the crypt where Sandra uses Satan's Helleportation network to beam in and open up Chris's mind to the advantages of lobotomization. Gerry rams a piece of rebar through Sandra's maggot mound to finish 'er off, but by now it's past midnight and an entire contingent of sewer chewers've exhumed themselves and the oddsmakers're leanin' heavily toward the likelihood of slime time, so I prolly better shut my trap before I ruin the ending.
Alrighty, well, ya knew sooner or later some enterprising Italian director was finally gonna make a movie set in America that was actually filmed in it, and lucky for us, it was Fulci. If I'm bein' honest I kinda prefer when they film in Italy and try to pass the flick off as American by stickin' a jug of Tide in the laundry room, but I suppose everyone has their own take on the issue of geographic shysterism. City of the Living Dead was released one year after Zombi 2 made enough money to rebuild the Roman Coliseum and marks the point in Fulci's career where he realized the future was in gore, prompting him to move on from the giallo film. City is considered to be the first of his "Gates of Hell Trilogy" by the fanbase (followed by The Beyond, and House by the Cemetery), but there's no canonical connection between them. It's basically the same deal as Argento's "Three Mothers Trilogy" that includes three unrelated titles that share a thematic link but no official continuity. Compared to its two step-siblings, City plays like a 90-minute cocaine binge and refuses to slow down long enough to explain what's goin' on; it's like watchin' somebody try to deliver newspapers in a Formula 1 car. You don't know who any of these people are, what the common denominator of Salem witch trial ancestry (I think) has to do with what's happenin' now, and if you're expecting justification for, or rational segues between, any of the events of the film, you've come to the wrong party. It's one of the best examples of a "stuff happens" movie (where the screenwriter throws as much crap as he possibly can atcha hopin' you'll be too entertained to notice the narrative's come apart like a skydiving leper) ever put to film, which is kind of a bummer because if you've seen Zombi 2 or The Beyond you know Fulci was a talented director who didn't need to abandon structure in favor of thrill-a-minute sensationalism. Maybe he'd become embittered by the success of Zombi 2 (a movie made to cash in on another man's intellectual property) relative to the box office performance of his own plot-driven Giallo titles and decided that a film's story is inconsequential - who knows. Long story short, he flushed all semblance of pacing down the crapper and went all-in on the special effects, and what we end up with is a deeply entertaining mess right up to the final frame.
Fair warning before we get into the technical analysis - if you're prone to motion sickness you may wanna go ahead and regurgitate your innards now on your own terms, 'cause this's gonna be a bumpy ride. The plot moves at break-neck speed and holds up to scrutiny like a Bigfoot photospread. I keep tryin' to start a sentence with the words "the biggest problem" and then deleting it because I honestly don't know which problem truly is the biggest, but I think the thing that bugs me the most is the 9 degrees of Carlo De Mejo that continuously expands like a creeper vine on steroids. Gerry and Sandy ultimately become the closest thing the movie has to protagonists, but branching off from those two characters we've got Gerry's girlfriend, Emily, who, in the process of going to visit her misunderstood friend Bob gets corpsed up by the supernatural everywhere-at-once priest who seems to be orchestratin' the zombie-rama. Bob survives to skeeve another day, but only long enough to be power drilled by the father of a girl who believes he molested 'er 'cause it's easier than acknowledging his daughter's actually into the weirdo. That'd probably be alright, but the C-plot has its own subplot involvin' the vengeful father and his nameless friends who spend all their time at a bar where structural damage occurs in order to further the idea that these guys're bein' specifically targetted by a blood curse, only the whole thread completely peters out when they're munched by last-call zombies without actually providing any exposition. Why do we need all these people? I mean, other than for purposes of undead chompage near the climax of the movie. Is there a rule somewhere that says ya gotta introduce the audience to everyone *before* they become ghoul gruel? Maybe it makes perfect sense and I just missed that day in screenwritin' class, but it's really tedious. Now, you might ask, is that more ridiculous than the priestly apparition and zombie flunkies who appear and disappear at will, or the dead medium comin' back to life unscathed after she shoulda been embalmed for burial, or the fact that a priest's decision to commit suicide opened up a gateway to Hell? I dunno. I guess we can agree to disagree on which plot canyon is the most egregious.
The acting is decent and the lip movements of the American actors match the audio closely enough that I suspect they may actually have been recording sound while filming - which is as unusual as it is refreshing. It's a little strange seeing Christopher George without Lynda, 'cause back in the '70s and early '80s they generally came as a package deal, but Chris understands the assignment and gets the most memorable line in the flick when, in the process of searching for the priest's tomb, he quips, "at least he wasn't buried in Arlington." Fulci alumnus Catriona MacColl does a nice job as the cursed seer forcin' Chris to stop for greasy diner food when the world's got t-minus 12 hours to calamity, and Giovanni Lombardo Radice is satisfactorily disgusting as the doomed Bob, but Janet Agren is totally hollow as Sandra and Carlo De Mejo is wooden and totally devoid of charisma in the role of Gerry. Never a good sign when ya can't tell who the leads are but that's on the writer, and as a whole, the acting is fair.
Here's who matters and why ('cept for Lucio Fulci, who generally cameos in his flicks): Christopher George (Day of the Animals, Graduation Day, Pieces, Mortuary, Grizzly, Whiskey Mountain), Catriona MacColl (The House by the Cemetery, The Beyond, Horsehead, Chimeres, The Theatre Bizarre, House of Voices, Afraid of the Dark, Hawk the Slayer), Carlo De Mejo (Guardian of Hell, The House by the Cemetery, Contamination, The Dead Are Alive), Antonella Interlenghi (Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century), Giovanni Lombardo Radice (Baphomet, Crucified, Dogman's Rabies, Lycanimator, Moderation, Violent Shit: The Movie, 3 Sisters, The Inflicted, The Reverend, House of Flesh Mannequins, The Hideout, The Omen 2006, Body Puzzle, The Sect, The Church, Phantom of Death, StageFright 1987, Cannibal Ferox, House on the Edge of the Park, Cannibals in the Streets), Daniela Doria (The New York Ripper, The House by the Cemetery, The Black Cat 1981), Fabrizio Jovine (The Psychic), Luca Venantini (The Exterminators of the Year 3000, Cannibals in the Streets), Michele Soavi (Cemetery Man, The Church, Demons, Demons 5 & 6, Opera, StageFright: Aquarius, Phenomena, The Raiders of Atlantis, Endgame - Bronx lotta finale, A Blade in the Dark, Tenebre, The New York Ripper, Absurd, Alien 2: On Earth).
Plus: Venantino Venantini (House of Ravens, Phantasmagoria, Hyde's Secret Nightmare, Bloody Sin, The Hideout, The Eighteenth Angel, The Exterminators of the Year 3000, Warriors of the Wasteland, Cannibal Ferox, Cannibals in the Streets, Beast in Space, The Humanoid, The War of the Robots, Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye), Luciano Rossi (Death Smiles on a Murderer, The Red Nights of the Gestapo), Robert Sampson (Re-Animator, The Dark Side of the Moon, Robot Jox, Take Out the Beast, Netherworld, The Arrival 1991, Fear no Evil 1969), Janet Agren (Red Sonya, Eaten Alive! 1980, Rat Man, Hands of Steel), Nat Bush (Escape from the Bronx, 1990: The Bronx Warriors, The New York Ripper, Absurd, Contamination, Papaya: Love Goddess of the Cannibals, War of the Planets), Omero Capanna (Battle of the Stars, Fatal Frames - Fotogrammi mortali, Urban Animals, The Barbarians, Hands of Steel, She 1984, The New Gladiators, Women's Prison Massacre, Zombi 2, Ironmaster, Gunan King of the Barbarians, 2019: After the Fall of New York, The Pumaman, Starcrash, Holocaust 2000, Deep Red, Web of the Spider), Perry Pirkanen (Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox), James Sampson (Robot Jox, StageFright, Shocking Dark, After Death, Escape from the Bronx, Monster Hunter, Zombi 2, City of the Living Dead), Martin Sorrentino (Escape from the Bronx, Manhattan Baby, The New York Ripper, Absurd, Contamination, Zombi 2, War of the Planets).
Mainstream credits are as follows: Christopher George (Sgt. Sam Troy on Rat Patrol), Luciano Rossi (Geronimo in Crime Busters, Biondo cieco in The Conformist).
The special effects are solid but strangely repetitive. It's unclear whether the production was running low on money by the time the effects were being put together, but you could reasonably make that assumption after seeing three different characters suffer death in the same, unusual manner - gettin' the backs of their skulls torn off. It's not unusual for, say, a slasher flick with a high body count to utilize the same technique (such as a stabbing), but the trapdoor brain hatch gag is pretty unique, and consequently, it's bizarre that three different characters should fall victim to it. On the positive side, the organ regurgitation scene is incredibly disgusting and impressive when you understand that it was largely achieved by the actress swallowing the material beforehand and then regurgitating it for the camera. Obviously, when the material becomes too big to be done safely they bring in a less-than-convincing dummy head, but Daniela Doria's sleight-of-gullet scene is the main event of the movie - even better than the excellent drill through the brain sequence. Prolly goes without sayin' that they couldn't afford an entire city's worth of zombies, but the half dozen or so that they do have feature inexplicably advanced cases of disintegratin' face syndrome, so there's a lot to like here.
The shooting locations were split between Fort Lee, New Jersey; New York City; and Savannah, Georgia (with a few of the effects shots filmed on a soundstage in Rome), but because it's mostly just the cemetery sequences filmed in Georgia you probably won't notice anything strange unless you're a botanist. The cinematography is fantastic, and although I wouldn't say Fulci managed to capture the Lovecraftian atmosphere he had intended, the film is still visually stunning thanks to the cinematography of Sergio Salvati (who regularly worked with Empire Pictures) and the production design of Massimo Antonello. Last, and perhaps most importantly, is the crypt interior which, with the exception of a few flimsy skeletons, truly reaches a level of nastiness befitting a film destined for the aforementioned list of notorious filth. I'd say that it's one of Fulci's best-looking pictures, but then Fulci's movies always look great. Really good stuff.
The soundtrack was composed by Fulci's go-to guy, Fabio Frizzi, and although it lacks a catchy single, I think the score as a whole is better than both The Beyond and House by the Cemetery. There're only about a half dozen tracks, but they draw inspiration from Goblin's Dawn of the Dead soundtrack, and Frizzi's own score from Zombi 2, and would itself later influence the music for Pieces. The tracks are unusually varied and range from late '70s funk, to heavy synth, to acoustic guitar-based rock, and they all work perfectly in conjunction with the superb visuals. It probably goes without saying, but whatever else might be missing from a Fulci flick, you can usually count on an excellent atmosphere to swoop in and save the movie from whatever deficiency it may be suffering from. It's just a shame that the screenplay started the movie off in such a deep hole.
Overall, I feel the film's positives, by the thinnest of margins, manage to pull its ass outta the fire. That said, if you're on the fence about this one and value storytelling above all else, you're gonna wanna steer clear because in that respect it's an unmitigated disaster. If, however, you're willing to overlook a movie's faults for the promise of solid entertainment, City of the Living Dead is among Fulci's better pictures and keeps the pedal to the floor throughout its 93 minute runtime. Better than House by the Cemetery, but below the standards of The Beyond, and Zombi 2; impressionable young screenwriters would do well to avert their eyes, however.