City Of The Living Dead (1980) - Horror Review - Hollywood Movie

A loose sequel to Zombie, this Italian horror film has developed a cult following, mainly for its extremely graphic scenes of gore and violence. The terror begins when a priest's suicide somehow triggers the resurrection of countless hungry zombies, who embark on the mandatory flesh-eating rampage.

Some films have articles, essays, even books dedicated to explaining how great they are. As a teenager it only took one simple sentence to put City of the Living Dead on my list of films I needed to see..."A woman pukes up her own intestines".

Sadly, at the time the UK censors didn't see the funny side of this, and the other delights contained in this film or it's companion The Beyond, so I didn't get to see them until much later. In some ways I can say COTLD does live up to it's reputation (it IS pretty disgusting) but in others, well, if The Beyond is pleasingly, nightmarishly surreal (and to me it is) COTLD is one of the most bafflingly illogical films I've ever seen.

The story involves a psychic and a journalist rushing to close a portal to hell that's been opened by the suicide of a priest (how? why? how should I know, I only watched the film and that didn't help! The priest comes back as an undead overlord, but was this his intention?). I say rushing but in fact their journey is rather leisurely. Apparently saving the world isn't as important as stopping off for lunch on the way, which is rather odd as they're against the clock on this one - the portal must be closed by All Saints day. You may think that's a small thing to notice in the film except - and I'm about to give away the ending - they get there TOO LATE to close the portal! Before entering a graveyard for the final showdown with the undead priest they note that it's already All Saints day, they've blown it, yet the film continues into it's climax and a good vs evil face off from which our "heroes" think they're emerging victorious?

You idiots! You already knew you blew it, what on earth is going on here?? Then there's the infamous final scene. Supposedly the films disjointed, inexplicable ending is the result of the last bit of footage being damaged and lost for ever, and what you do get is something you really have to see for yourself to (dis)believe. They certainly don't make 'em like that anymore.

If it's gore you want you certainly won't be let down by the drillings, gouged heads, zombie attacks and of course A WOMAN PUKING UP HER OWN INTESTINES, but overall this film is slow moving, and with that ending (for gods sake, that ENDING!) more than a little frustrating. .

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Famed Italian splatter director Lucio Fulci makes his debut on the show with "City Of The Living Dead" (1980).

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