City of the Living Dead

City of the Living Dead 
 
(Lucio Fulci, 1980)
 
☆☆☆☆
 
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster 
 
Summary: Lucio Fulci’s horror masterwork City of the Living Dead is back from an early grave and looking better than ever on a fully loaded definitive Arrow Blu-ray.
 
Lucio Fulci is one of those directors who can make your stomach churn and your jaw drop in equal measure. Inventive, explicit and and often ridiculous in his increasingly surreal mis-en-scene, Fulci made some truly unforgettable video nasties. Of course, there’s Zombie Flesh Eaters, The House by the Cemetery and The Beyond but right up there with them is City of the Living Dead - the first in the Italian auteur’s celebrated "Gates of Hell" trilogy. 
 
Shooting on location in the evocative locales of New York and Georgia with all their gothic undertones, Fulci crafts a delicious mystery for his bloodthirsty audiences to savour: A medium has a mysterious vision of a priest hanging himself... A seemingly dead woman awakes screaming in her coffin... And in the sleepy New England town of Dunwich, a local girl vomits up her intestines and a town misfit has a drill-bit ploughed into his cranium... 
 
 
These hallucinogenic, often grotesque visions punctuate a skeletal story telling of a reporter (Christopher George, The Exterminator, Pieces) and a psychic (Catriona MacColl, The House by the Cemetery, The Beyond) who must race against time to prevent hordes of rotting corpses spewing forth from the gates of hell...
 
Blood and brains will splatter but underneath the bevy of incredible make-up effects there’s also a genuinely intriguing smattering of suspense that leaves audiences a dizzying step behind the outlandish plot. You don’t go into a film like City of the Living Dead expecting realism or documentary-style approaches but you always hope for a decent level of quality and originality. City of the Living Dead is densely populated with these traits. 
 
 
Horror fans need to see this (if only for a cameo by the master himself, Lucio Fulci, as a doctor in the film) and this new Arrow Blu-ray is the perfect way to do that. Boosting the picture and sound quality from their already stellar double disc DVD, this new high-def upgrade is an essential purchase. The comprehensive extras include:  
 
LIMTED EDITION CONTENTS
 
  • Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original negative by Arrow Films
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original uncompressed 1.0 mono and optional 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Original English and Italian soundtracks
  • Newly translated, optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Audio commentary with star Catriona MacColl and journalist Jay Slater
  • Audio commentary with star Giovanni Lombardo Radice and writer Calum Waddell
  • We Are the Apocalypse, new interview with writer Dardano Sacchetti
  • Through Your Eyes, new interview with Catriona MacColl
  • Dust in the Wind, new interview with cameraman Roberto Forges Davanzati
  • The Art of Dreaming, new interview with production designer Massimo Antonello Geleng
  • Tales of Friendship, new interview with cinematographer Sergio Salvati
  • I Walked with a Zombie, new interview with actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice
  • They Call Him "Bombardone , new interview with special effects artist Gino De Rossi
  • The Horror Family, new interview with father and son actors Venantino and Luca Venantini
  • Previously unseen interview with composer Fabio Frizzi
  • Archival interview with actor Carlo De Mejo
  • Building Fulci s City, a new video interview with Stephen Thrower, author of the definitive tome, Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci
  • Reflections on Fulci, a new appraisal of Fulci s Gothic period by actor, writer and director Andy Nyman (Ghost Stories)
  • The Dead Are Alive!, a new video essay by Kat Ellinger on Lucio Fulci and the Italian zombie cycle
  • Behind the scenes 8mm footage with Roberto Forges Davanzati audio commentary
  • Alternative US Gates of Hell opening credits
  • Original trailers and radio spots
  • Extensive image gallery featuring over 150 stills, posters and other ephemera from the FAB Press and Mike Siegel archives
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Wes Benscoter
  • Double-sided fold-out poster
  • 6 Double-sided lobby card reproductions
  • Limited edition 60-page booklet

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