SassyFlix | City of the Living Dead

City of the Living Dead

  • NR
  • 1980-08-11
  • 01:33:00
6/ 10
220 votes


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 girl vomits up her intestines and a local misfit has a drill bit ploughed into his cranium... These hallucionogenic often grotesque visions punctuate a skeletal story telling of a reporter and a psychic who must race against time to prevent hordes of rotting corpses spewing forth from the gates of hell...

In the small New England town of Dunwich, a priest commits suicide by hanging himself in the church cemetery which somehow opens the gates of hell allowing the dead to rise. Peter, a New York City reporter, teams up with a young psychic, named Mary, to travel to the town where they team up with another couple, psychiatrist Jerry and patient Sandra, to find a way to close the gates before All Saints Day or the dead all over the world will rise up and kill the living.

Also known as: Frayeurs, Paura nella città dei morti viventi, Miedo en la ciudad de los muertos vivientes, The Gates of Hell


First class gorefest from the notorious Lucio Fulci.

Like most of Fulci's horror movies and Italian horror in general, plot and logic take a back seat to gore and stunning visual set pieces. I don't think that 'City Of The Living Dead' quite reaches the heights of Fulci's best ('The Beyond') but apart from a few dull patches it comes closer than you would expect. The simplistic story, which tips it's hat to H.P. Lovecraft, is really just an excuse for another zombie move, and regardless of his shortcomings, Fulci certainly came up with some of the most repulsive and horrible zombies ever, so this is essential viewing to fans of the genre. The movie includes two unforgettable gore sequences ( the drill and vomit scenes), a chilling scene in a graveyard, and an odd, unexpected ending. Recommended to fans of Italian horror. Others might be puzzled if they haven't experienced the style/period before, it's quite a trip!

Gore galore!

"The Gates of Hell" is another masterpiece directed by one of the best horror directors Lucio Fulci.Fulci,who sadly died in 1996,was a real artist.Anyway this film concerns a priest committing suicide and opening the gateway to Hell,allowing the dead to rise from their graves and feed on the living.Christopher George("Pieces")tries to stop them.The gore effects made by Gino de Rossi are excellent(maggots,rotting flesh,lots of squished brains etc.)Giovanni Lombardo Radice gets an electric drill through his head,and there's also a notorious scene of woman(Daniela Doria)vomiting up all of her internal organs in a really nauseating torrent of blood and guts.The plot is weak,but the film is highly atmospheric and imaginative.Again brilliant director Lucio Fulci created a masterpiece of pure horror!

Vivid and ironic zombie movie.

This is a much cleverer film than its reputation , and the chortling audience, might suggest. Fulci's use of space is always impressive, the way he opens out a flat composition at the approach of menace. Alternately, the claustrophobic scenes in the catacombs (which really smell like death!), and the premature burial is horribly vivid. The Gothic decay of the content is contained by Fulci's form, his neo-classical use of symmetry, mirrorings, patterns, echoes, fooling his audience into a false sense of reassurance. Shame about his storytelling abilities.

Surreal gore-fest

This is what you get when you combine something along the lines of Dreyer's "Vampyr" with "Dawn of the Dead". Strangely, it works, but it's not without it's flaws. The film features scenes of dreamlike beauty and haunting poetry, among the best of Fulci's career, such as the opening scene with the psychic, played by lovely Catriona MacColl, has a vision of the Gates of Hell being opened once a priest hangs himself in a graveyard. Still, such moments doesn't seem to balance with the film's extreme violence. The characters' motivations are also not quite clear, and we don't know who the protagonist is until about the last 5 or so minutes. The cheesy dialog also helps making the film unintentionally campy. Still, the film remains dark and extremely atmospheric throughout, with some surprisingly well-made and demented gore sequences, as well as being genuinely frightening and nightmare-inducing at times. Overall, it's a fun film that even with it's flaws, will certainly please both fans of art-house cinema and zombie fans alike.