THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY
THE HOUSE OUTSIDE THE CEMETERY
(Quella Villa Accanto al Cimitero)
Fulci always seemed like a hack version of Dario Argento, at least Argento around the period of his occult films like Suspiria (1976) and Inferno (1980), which were likewise based around wildly artistic novelty deaths with little plot to connect them together. (Fulci never seemed interested in the nominal psycho-thriller rationales that served in Argento's giallo films). You could say that The House By the Cemetery feels like a Dario Argento version of The Amityville Horror (1979).
A perfect example of the randomness of the film is how Fulci shoots meaning-laden closeups of peoples eyes. We get closeups of babysitter Ania Pieroni as she gives seductive looks at husband Paolo Malco, giving the strong impression that she is flirting with or tempting him, but then she is killed off and all the meaning-laden looks prove of zero relevance. It is never made clear what Dr Freudstein is up to in the cellar, other than collecting bodies to extend his life he just seems a zombie/mad scientist thrown into the mix without much explanation. Nor does the zombie/mad scientist easily gel with the ghosts that appear in the house elsewhere, not to mention the peculiar ending, not unlike The Shining (1980), where the ghost mother and daughter welcome young Giovanni Frezza to join them. The main problem with the film is that in between the gore set-pieces, there is almost nothing holding The House By the Cemetery together. There is an exceedingly slow pace and little happens beyond an extremely gory despatch every ten minutes or so.
Of course, there are all of Fulcis random gore effects in the opening scene, a teenage girl is stabbed in the back of the head and a knife comes out through her mouth; realtor Dagmer Lassender is repeatedly stabbed with a poker and then her throat slit; there is an extremely gory scene where the camera pans around the cellar showing all the hacked-off body parts littered there; babysitter Ania Pieronis throat is very gorily slit and then in a prize schlock moment her head rolls down the stairs as the kid comes searching for her. In a scene completely unrelated to anything, a mother and child are window-shopping outside a store and a mannequins head falls off and appears to be bloodily decapitated. There is also a scene that goes on for several minutes where Paolo Malco bloodily fights with and kills a bat that is unrelated to anything else. Fulci generates suspense in one scene in the cellar where the zombie scientists hand pushes young Giovanni Frezza's face up against the door, while on the other side the father tries to bash the door down with an axe and the blade comes through only inches away from the kid a scene that has clearly been modelled on the one in City of the Living Dead where Christopher George tries to smash into the coffin where Catriona MacColl is buried with a pickaxe.
Lucio Fulcis other films are: Perversion Story (1969), Lizard in a Womans Skin (1971), Dont Torture the Duckling (1972), Dracula in the Provinces (1975), The Psychic (1977), Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979), City of the Living Dead/Gates of Hell (1980), The Beyond/The Seven Doors to Death (1981), The Black Cat (1981), The New York Ripper (1981), Manhattan Baby/Eye of the Evil Dead/The Possessed (1982), Conquest (1983), Rome 2072 A.D. (1983), Murderock (1984), The Devils Honey/Dangerous Obsession (1986), Aenigma (1987), Touch of Death/When Alice Broke the Mirror (1988), Zombi 3 (1988), Demonia (1990), Nightmare Concert (1990), Voices from Beyond (1991) and Door to Silence (1992).
Full film available online here:-